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Netflix Cofounder Reed Hastings Wants to Turn Half of a Utah Mountain Into a Members-Only Ski Club

Reed Hastings changed the entertainment landscape when he cofounded Netflix in the late ’90s. Now he’s hoping he’ll have the same sort of luck in the world of winter sports.

Last year, the billionaire bought a controlling stake in Utah’s Powder Mountain, which he’s planning to turn into a public-private venture, The New York Times reported on Friday. Those who own homes atop the mountain and pay an annual membership fee somewhere from $30,000 to $100,000 will have access to closed-off slopes and amenities. Their dollars will in turn help pay for the costs of operating the public offerings.

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“All of the independent ski areas are looking for ways to survive,” Hastings told the Times. “Going boutique, higher end, private, is probably where they need to go.”

So, what will Hastings’s Powder Mountain look like? Lots on the mountain will start at $2 million, he said. Those who buy will be able to ski and snowboard on 2,000 preexisting acres, and on Friday he announced another 2,400 acres next to the ski boundary had been purchased for members-only use. Beyond the desirable slopes, the private offerings will include two day lodges with restaurants, retail stores, and a 40,000-square-foot lodge for afternoon and evening use with an in-house spa.

The public, meanwhile, will have access to the rest of the preexisting ski area, and Hastings is adding another 1,000 acres on top of that. But prices are being raised: A season pass will go from $1,259 to $1,399, and while seniors 75 and older used to be able to acquire a season pass for free, they’ll now have to pay $1,049. Still, fan favorites like the Powder Keg bar will remain, along with traditions like taking a bus back to some of the lifts.

“We’re building a luxury experience on the private side of the mountain,” Hastings told The New York Times. “But many of the homeowners will still ski the public side and want to experience the parts of Powder Mountain that you won’t be able to get in the village.”

The changes being implemented by Hastings have infuriated many locals, the newspaper noted. They’re concerned about the higher prices and the possibility of overcrowding on the mountain. Some think Hastings is just in it to make money, giving him the nickname “Greed” Hastings.

But the Netflix chairman has had success disrupting one industry before. And he might just be at it again with Powder Mountain. As Rick Kahl, the editor of a skiing trade publication, put it to the Times, “I wouldn’t bet against the guy who started Netflix.”

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