Until recently, owning your own condo near a ski mountain was the epitome of luxury. Now, members-only clubs with their own ski mountains are the ultimate extravagance.
Take the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky Montana, for example. A 13,600-acre private residential community with its own ski mountain and golf course, it's attracted such celebrities as Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake.
For those living on the east coast, there is The Hermitage Club (THC), nestled on 1,400 acres in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It's the sole members-only club in the northeast with its own private ski mountain and 18-hole championship golf course. It's the sort of place, however, that's hard to appreciate without visiting. So, when a recent invitation arrived to spend a weekend at the resort, I gratefully accepted.
THC lies only 2 1/2 hours away from Boston by car and 4 hours from New York. Avon, Connecticut resident, Jim Barnes, founded THC, a project initially estimated at approximately $75 million. Prior to founding THC, Burke served as the Chairman of FM Facility Maintenance and founded OAKLEAF Waste Management. He acquired The Hermitage Inn in 2007 and in 2011 bought what was originally The Haystack Mountain Ski Area. Together, the inn and ski area, along with a nearby golf course, became the nexus of The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain. Barnes even bought the nearby Deerfield Valley Airport to accommodate THC members wanting to fly to the resort.
To become a member, single persons pay a one-time, $80,000 initiation fee with $4,250 in annual dues. Families, regardless of how many offspring they have, pay a one-time $85,000 initiation fee and $8,500 in annual dues. With this membership comes myriad privileges, including unlimited use of the ski mountain, along with ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing and evening snowmobiling on various ski trails. And that's just for winter. Memberships also include full year-round use of the fitness center, sauna, steam rooms, and hot tubs, and fly fishing, golf, and water sports in summer. If a member wishes to invite a guest for a visit, THC offers an annual allotment of 75 ski passes and 20 golf passes. Accommodations, food, drinks, golf cart fees, equipment rentals, shuttle, valet and other service are extra.
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