Unorthodox California company thinking of buying Powder Mountain

Story by Scott Schwebke
Standard-Examiner staff
February 28, 2012
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EDEN — A California company is exploring the possible purchase of Powder Mountain Resort, according to a resort official.

Patrick Lundin, marketing manager for Powder Mountain, identified the company as Summit Series, based in Malibu.

“They are looking at the mountain and doing their due diligence,” Lundin said Tuesday. “There will be an official press release once the deal is done.”

When asked by the Standard-Examiner if Powder Mountain is available for purchase, Lundin remarked that “everything is for sale.”

Thayer Walker, chief reconnaissance officer for Summit in charge of environmental and adventure initiatives, declined in a brief phone conversation Tuesday to comment on the company’s interest in Powder Mountain.

Summit was founded by Elliott Bisnow in 2009. He is also co-founder, with his father, Mark Bisnow, of Bisnow Media, which publishes business newsletters via email in 18 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles and New York.

Summit says on one of its websites that it hosts “invitation-only events that connect and inspire a new generation of leaders to succeed in business and in life.”

Summit sponsored the Jan. 27-30 Summit Basecamp in Squaw Valley, Calif., that the company claims attracted 650 leaders in business, philanthropy, science, technology and the arts.

“There are no lectures, only two-way conversations. There are no spectators, only active participants. There are no limits, only opportunities,” says a website for the event at www.basecamp.summitseries.com.

Past Summit Series events have drawn numerous celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Charles and Kai Haung, creator of the Guitar Hero video game; and Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

Business Insider has reported on its website at www.businessinsider.com that, based on multiple sources, Summit has sent out an email sales pitch asking investors to help finance its purchase of Powder Mountain.

“I wanted to reach out to let you know about our next exciting project,” the pitch published by Business Insider says. “We would love to get you in the game. It is completely private information at this point (so please keep the contents of this email and all attachments private), but Summit Series is in the process of acquiring some permanent space; we are buying Powder Mountain, UT. The goal is to re-create a culture year-round for innovation, entrepreneurship and kindness. We’re in the process of bringing in our founding members, offering very aggressive financial incentive for those coming in that early and it would be great to have you out to the mountain to check it out.”

More than a dozen Summit officials are renting multiple homes in the Eden area, said a resident who asked not to be identified and who has had contact with the group. “They said their goal is to purchase Powder Mountain and change it as little as possible.”

The presence of some Summit officials in the Powder Mountain area seems to be confirmed by blog posts by Josh Zabar, who is listed as Summit’s chief samurai. He posted a Feb. 9 photo of himself ice fishing at Pineview Reservoir.

Huntsville Mayor Jim Truett said he wouldn’t object to Summit building some homes at Powder Mountain as long as skiers can continue to use the resort.

“If they keep the rest open to the public,” he said, “it would be a good deal.”

Scott Schwebke

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