February 3rd 2012
Inside the world’s most exclusive ski resort.
Skiing is considered an exclusive pastime, but at the Yellowstone Club they’ve taken the concept to an entirely new level. Unlike Aspen or Vail, members can expect the ultimate in low-key luxury, a place where the world’s super-wealthy can escape prying eyes. Bill Gates, who counts among Yellowstone’s A-list fellowship, is said to revel in the fact that he and his family can ski without the need for bodyguards. Other members include Peter Chernin, the media mogul, and Barry Sternlicht, the hotelier.
Membership (by invitation only) to the private ski resort in Big Sky, Montana costs around $250,000, plus annual dues of about $20,000, and you also need to buy real estate, which ranges from $5 to $35 million. The 13,600-acre playground, 20 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, is a real mountain wilderness, topping out at just over 3,000m, with a vertical drop of 823m, served by 15 lifts. The 60 trails range from relaxed groomed runs to glade skiing in deep powder. It doesn’t stop there. Members can ski, via a connector chairlift, to the massive linked ski area of Big Sky (pictured left) and Moonlight Basin.
There is also an extensive outdoor programme, including horseback riding, whitewater rafting, excursions into Yellowstone National Park, sledding and kids camps. In summer the focus turns to golf, with an 18-hole course providing breath-taking vistas of the surrounding peaks.