Business Insider / January 2019

A Colorado ski resort is open to just 13 members who pay upwards of $2.8 million for private access to 1,750 acres of untouched powder

by Katie Warren

  • A new private club in Colorado may be one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world.
  • Cimarron Mountain Club is only open to 13 members who pay at least $2.65 million plus annual fees of $62,000 for private access to the 1,750-acre wilderness area.
  • Members also get a 35-acre piece of land on which they can build a chalet — but no "mega-mansions" are allowed.
  • The membership will also include access to a lodge with dining areas, a bar, an outdoor spa, a fire pit, and a warming hut.

At one of the world's most exclusive ski resorts, a lucky 13 members pay an initial fee of at least $2.65 million for private access to the 1,750-acre wilderness area — plus a spot to build a personal chalet.

Cimarron Mountain Club in Colorado was founded by Jim Aronstein, a retired natural resources lawyer, and his wife, Patsy, with the goal of creating "a sanctuary for 13 families who want to ski untracked powder and preserve a beautiful wilderness setting for future generations to enjoy," a representative for the Club told Business Insider.

"I was simply tired of the ski resort experience and dreamed for decades about creating the world's only, intimate and private wilderness club with skiable terrain to rival the best," Aronstein told Business Insider. "My wife and I identified more than a dozen potential sites, located in six Rocky Mountain states and provinces, and visited every one. In the end, just one met all the criteria."

The Aronsteins bought the property in 2004 and the Club officially launched in July 2018, with six member families already signed up and seven remaining spots.

"What has and continues to make CMC so special is our commitment to preserving the powder, protecting the wilderness, and sharing it all with just 13 member families and their friends," Aronstein added.

Here's a look at the super-exclusive resort.

Cimarron Mountain Club sits in the San Juan Mountains, a rugged mountain range in southwestern Colorado that makes up part of the Rocky Mountains. It's about a 4.5-hour drive from the winter resort town of Aspen.

So far, six families have paid $2.65 million for their memberships and cabin sites, leaving seven memberships up for grabs at $2.8 million each. The annual fees are between $62,000 and $67,000 and include 115 days of skiing per member family, Club labor, operations, and other fixed expenses.

The current members are all "powder hounds," according to a resort representative. "Highly successful entrepreneurs or titans of industry. They all have kids and they all want CMC to be a place to impart lasting memories and values. Skiing has been a part of their families' lives for some time."

Included in each membership is a 35-acre parcel of land, where members can build a chalet — but definitely no gaudy mansions. "Members aren’t interested in building 'mega-mansions,' as those are strictly prohibited," a representative for the resort said.

Members aren't required to build their own cabins, however. The property already has a three-bedroom cabin at its entrance, and two two-bedroom "glamping yurts" are under construction for the 2018-2019 ski season.

The ski area has more than 60 runs. Heli-skiing, which is off-trail skiing reached by helicopter instead of ski lift, is also available.

The resort is also currently planning a four-bedroom lodge with shared access that will include a lounge, dining areas, a bar, an outdoor spa, fire pit, and a warming hut.

Cimarron isn't just open to members for skiing; they can spend time there year-round.

In the summertime, they can enjoy hiking, fishing at 15 stocked ponds, hunting, canoeing, and mountain biking.

Cimarron's pricey membership fee is comparable to other exclusive wilderness clubs. The Yellowstone Club in Montana, where known members have included Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, was the first private ski club with its own mountain.

While the initial membership fee is $300,000 at Yellowstone as compared to Cimarron's $2.8 million, you must own property within the grounds to be a member at the Yellowstone Club, and the real estate offerings range from $2 million to $25 million. Yellowstone's annual fee is $37,500.

But unlike Cimarron, the Yellowstone Club opens its doors to many more than just 13 families. In 2009, it had about 250 members, according to the New York Times, making it decidedly less exclusive than Cimarron.