White Pine Sold To Billionaire Joe Ricketts

After four years on the market, the sale of White Pine Ski and Summer Resort to billionaire businessman Joe Ricketts has been completed. The sale marks a new chapter for the 363-acre resort nestled in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Pinedale.

Longtime owners Alan and Robyn Blackburn expressed mixed emotions about the sale. "Selling White Pine is bittersweet for us," said Alan Blackburn in a press release. "But we feel tremendous peace with transferring ownership to Joe because we know he shares our ultimate goal of keeping the resort as a strong and dependable part of the community."

Ricketts, a resident of Nebraska and founder of online broker Ameritrade, is known for his business acumen and philanthropic endeavors. While details of his vision for White Pine remain undisclosed, a focus on revitalization and community engagement is anticipated.

"We are pursuing investments in and improving the Sublette County ski resort following the tragic 2019 fire that destroyed the main lodge," stated a press release from the resort. The 2019 fire dealt a significant blow to White Pine, and Ricketts' investment is expected to address these shortcomings.

The sale has sparked excitement within the Pinedale community. Many residents view it as an opportunity for White Pine to regain its former glory. Once known as a haven for beginner and family-friendly skiing, the resort has faced challenges in recent years.

“Owning White Pine has been an honor for my wife and me,” Alan Blackburn said in a statement. “This mountain offers outstanding recreational opportunities for our community. Faced with the prospect of shutting down the resort, we looked for a buyer who is capable and committed to restoring the lodge, enhancing the mountain’s amenities to their full potential and investing in the vibrant communities of Sublette County. We are confident that Joe is deeply dedicated to this cause.”

“My hope is to add improvements that will ensure White Pine remains a cherished destination for all of Sublette to enjoy for years to come,” Ricketts said in a statement.

A press release issued by the resort on Feb. 22 states that “Ricketts has committed to investing in and improving the Sublette County Ski Resort following the tragic 2019 fire that destroyed the main lodge. Ricketts is in the process of working with the Forest Service to explore opportunities to extend future ski seasons through snowmaking.”

Ricketts has assembled a Board of Advisors “to strategically guide the business, ensuring its success in both the short-term and long-term.”

Ricketts said, “I feel good about keeping White Pine in our community and look forward to the recreational expertise the Board of Advisors and Officers will contribute. Their guidance will be instrumental in managing the mountain effectively in both the immediate future and over the long term. My hope is to add improvements that will ensure White Pine remains a cherished destination for all of Sublette to enjoy for years to come.

White Pine Ski Area is one of Wyoming’s oldest ski areas, located in the beautiful Wind River Mountains just 10 miles outside of historic Pinedale, Wyoming. White Pine (originally named Surveyor Park Ski Area) opened to skiers in February 1940. One of Wyoming’s first cable tows had been installed the previous Fall consisting of a 1/2-inch cable run around 2 drums powered by a gas-fired Chevy motor. In 1961, the USFS issued a 20-year lease covering 76 acres on Fortification Mountain. Stocks were sold to cover the purchase of a lift which was purchased and shipped from France. The White Pine lift was the longest in Wyoming at the time, starting at 8,500 feet elevation and taking skiers an additional 1,000 feet to the top of Fortification Mountain.

Currently, White Pine Ski Area has 29 runs for downhill skiing and snowboarding and is adjacent to 35K of looping Nordic ski trails for all skill levels. Two lifts service groomed downhill runs and the terrain park offers jumps & slides. A third lift services a small fun tubing hill. Fortification Mountain rises to an elevation of 9,600 feet and offers spectacular views of the Continental Divide, Wind River Mountains, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Fremont Lake, as well as the nearby Wyoming Mountain Range.

Year-round recreation (in addition to skiing & tubing) includes horseback riding, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and fishing. Additionally, White Pine hosts weddings, parties, reunions, concerts, and more. White Pine has an assortment of facilities for rent including cabin accommodations, and a campground with wall tents, tipis, RV spaces with water and electric hookups, and hot showers and flushing toilets.

With the sale finalized, all eyes are now on Joe Ricketts. His plans for White Pine will shape the future of this beloved Wyoming ski destination. Whether Ricketts can revitalize the resort while maintaining its cherished character remains to be seen. The coming months will be crucial as Ricketts unveils his vision for White Pine, a vision that will determine if White Pine continues to be a winter wonderland for generations to come.

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