Inside the swanky private club where Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and Justin Timberlake go to ski

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The Rainbow Lodge at the Yellowstone Club.
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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

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.


Yellowstone Club is nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Founder Tim Blixseth was set on creating a resort that focused on families with slopes and activities that catered to all ages.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

To be a member of the Yellowstone Club, you must own property. With an aim to remain exclusive, membership is capped to 864 households.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

There’s a huge range of real estate options, from condominiums to ranch homes on 360 acres of land.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Of course, prices also vary, from $2.5 million for a condominium to as much as $25 million for a mansion. And while traditional ski homes are common, there are also some modern, glassy mansions under construction.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Source: New York Times


The homes are just as gorgeous inside as they are on the outside — and they’re just as luxe as you’d expect. According to The New York Times, most homes include “ski rooms with individual lockers, heated driveways, bunk rooms and $5,000 boot dryers.”

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Source: New York Times


Joining the Yellowstone Club costs an initial $300,000, and annual fees are $37,500.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

One of the club’s most recent projects is the Rainbow Lodge, which now includes a restaurant, spa, fitness center, and a copper pool. With the renovation, the lodge has more than doubled in square footage.

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Inside the Rainbow Lodge
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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Source: Curbed


Members also love the privacy and safety that the club offers. The grounds are reportedly protected by a security team that is led by a former Secret Service officer. It’s a major perk for those who don’t want bodyguards surrounding them while they ski.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Source: New York Times


The resort has 15 ski lifts and more than 60 trails.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

The club prides itself on its variety of runs, which include groomed beginner runs, steep chutes, and trails lined with trees for experienced glade skiers.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

On average, the Yellowstone Club’s Pioneer Mountain receives approximately 300 inches of snowfall each year — plenty of powder for great skiing and snowboarding.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

But if that’s not enough, club members also have access to the 5,800 acres of public ski area at neighboring Big Sky Resort.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Other activities like tubing are available for children. The Li’l Rippers ski program teaches kids how to ski or snowboard.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Adults can get ski or snowboarding lessons, too.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Members can also go snowshoeing or snowmobiling in the winter months. In the summer, adventurers might go mountain biking, bushwhacking, or mountain climbing, while those wanting a slower pace can try out the 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. According to The New York Times, members now spend 60 days a year here on average.

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Photo courtesy of The Yellowstone Club

Source: New York Times