After more than 50 years, actor-director-skier Robert Redford has sold Sundance Mountain Resort to a pair of real estate investment firms.
Right off, the new owners announced that they would put in the Utah mountain's first high-speed lift, add ski runs and build a true day lodge at the base. Following those, the owners say a 50-75 room inn is in the plans for the village area.
"Change is inevitable," Redford said in a press release, "and for several years, my family and I have been thinking about a transition to new ownership for the resorts. We knew that at the right time, and with the right people, we could make the transition."
The "right people" are Broadreach Capital Partners, of Palo Alto, Calif., and Cedar Capital Partners, based primarily in London. Collectively, they own commercial properties overseas and in the United States, with high rises in Colorado and California and luxury hotels including Inn at Anasazi in Santa Fe.
The sale covers 2,600 acres in the tight canyon below 11,500-foot Mt. Timpanogos, with more than 1,800 acres already protected from development and where the 450-acre ski and snowboard mountain has been since 1969. Apart from the deal, the Redford family put 300 acres into a trust with Utah Open and under permanent preservation, including streams and wetlands in the meadows just north of the mountain.
For Provo locals, Utahns, and visitors in the know, Sundance has always been a hideaway mountain and an anomaly in the grow-grow world of Western resorts. Small parking lots, understated base area, inexpensive lift tickets, basic eats, and fixed-grip lifts give it an old-school feel that has been hard to find in the West.
The lower half of Sundance is full of wide greens and easy blues around two lifts. From there, the trails steepen as a trio of ridges split up the upper half of the mountain. Steeper blue runs course down the high ground with dozens of short black-diamond pitches that bail off of either side.
A collection of some 95 luxury cottages and 10 mountain homes for rent scatter on the open ground above the main base area, where several studios and meeting spaces hide among the trees. Despite its low profile, Sundance does have a spectacular zipline complex, including one nearly 4,000 feet long with 2,100 vertical foot drop -- the most in the U.S.