After three decades of ownership, the Kemmerer family has decided to sell Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to Teton County residents and JHMR board members Eric Macy, Mike Corbat, their families, and a select group of other investors.
Keeping the resort in the family was an important consideration, Jay Kemmerer said in a press release.
“It is of utmost importance to me that the next ownership maintains the integrity and character of the mountain that we have worked so hard to build over the past three decades,” he said. “There is no better fit for this ownership transition than Eric and Mike and their families, who share the same vision for the future of JHMR and its importance to our great community. I’m excited and proud to pass along this iconic, family-run ski resort to these two strong Jackson Hole families.”
The sale is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
No details of the private transaction are being disclosed.
Building Up JHMR
The Kemmerer family invested more than $300 million in capital improvements at JHMR over the three decades they’ve owned the resort, taking it to the next level.
Prior to their tenure, the resort had been a tough sell for tourists. It was beloved by hardcore skiers as a wild Wyoming experience, but to attract enough visitors to be economically feasible, the region needed better resources.
Among the Kemmerer’s first improvements was an upgraded Thunder Chair, taking it from a double to a quad. They also soon upgraded the Teewinot beginner lift and the Aprés Vous chairlift to high-speed quads, which increased the mountain’s capacity to 2,000 skiers per hour.
These were crucial early investments that helped the resort to begin growing and achieve the numbers critical to putting it on a growth trajectory.
New intermediate trails opened in the winter of 1997-98, along with the Bridger Gondola and Bridger Center.
That same winter, Teton County approved the Teton Village Master Plan, and by 1999, a new, backcountry gate system would open up thousands of acres of backcountry.
New hotels and motels came along in the wake of JHMR’s growth, including Snake River Lodge & Spa, the Four Seasons, Teton Mountain Lodge, and others.
The upward spiral continued in 2006 with a bigger, faster aerial tram, as well as the Rendezvous Restaurant at the top of the Bridger Gondola.
A new-and-improved tram was built in 2008 in the midst of a recession. It could carry 100 passengers, rising 4,139 vertical feet in a mere 9 minutes. That made it not only fast, but the longest continuous vertical elevation of any lift in the nation at the time.
It was a lifesaver for the troubled resort, attracting upward of 480,000 skiers, amidst 600 inches of snowfall. The family continued adding lifts after that, including the Casper, Marmot, Teton and Sweetwater Gondola.
Who Are Macy And Corbat?
Macy has been a board member for JHMR for nine years, while Corbat has served on the board for two years.
Both have a strong background in the financial sector.
Corbat was CEO of Citigroup from 2012 to 2021, while Macy has more than 35 years of experience in the financing and restructuring of private and public companies that cross a wide range of sectors. He has held various positions at New York investment banks, such as Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Jeffries & Co.
Corbat and Macy said they don’t anticipate any dramatic changes in the operations of JHMR, and Jay Kemmerer said he will be part of the new ownership group as both a board and executive committee member.
“We will work hard to preserve the cherished aspects of the ski mountain and continue building on the mountain’s storied tradition,” Corbat said in a media release. “We are excited to partner with the mountain’s exceptional team to continue developing JHMR’s best-in-class guest experience and unique brand.”
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-WY, said she was "instantly relieved" when she found out who was buying the resort and what their plan was.
"This sale is good for the mountain itself, the Teton County community that surrounds it and Wyoming as a whole. I am confident the vision for the mountain will stay the same, and I am hopeful there will be a seamless transition for the town of Jackson and western Wyoming,” Lummis said in a release.
Renée Jean can be reached at Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com.