the swanky private club where Bill
Gates, Eric Schmidt, and
Justin Timberlake go to ski
Yellowstone Club, a private ski resort and residential community near Big Sky, Montana, was a pioneer in the members-only space. The first private club with its own mountain, its uber-rich members include Bill and Melinda Gates, Google's Eric Schmidt, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, former Vice President Dan Quayle, and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, as well as many Wall Streeters.
Its 2,200 acres of powder offer world-class skiing from the bunny slopes to its 2,700-vertical-foot drops, but to gain access to the club's exclusive mountain, you must own property within the community limits. Real estate prices can range greatly, from $2 million all the way up to $25 million. Members must also pay an initial fee of $300,000 and an annual fee of $37,500.
Founded in 2001 by Tim Blixseth and his then-wife Edra, the club has endured its fair share of turmoil. It was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2008, and, ending this July, Blixseth spent 15 months in prison for civil contempt of court.
However, in June 2009 CrossHarbor Capital Partners' cofounder, Sam Byrne, paid $115 million for Yellowstone Club, ushering in a new era and helping to turn the club around financially. The more recently redesigned Rainbow Lodge, with its spa, fitness center and pool, is the newest evidence that Yellowstone Club is working to stay up-to-date with the modern skier.
Ahead, 15 photos that show the joys of private skiing: no lift lines, and plenty of breathing room out on the slopes.