Skip to main content

History of Northstar Part VI – From Fibreboard to Booth Creek to CNL to Vail Resorts

We ended last week’s timeline off with 1992 when John Roach was appointed CEO of Fibreboard and he started to turn the foundering company around. Now on to the next major milestone in Northstar’s history…

1996 – In 1985, George N. Gillett Jr., an avid skier, became President of Colorado’s Vail Associates and purchased the resort operations outright in 1988. By 1992, Gillette sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reportedly because of junk bond investments. Gillett lost Vail in the reorganization but came away with enough resources to form Booth Creek Ski Holdings and begin anew. Booth Creek acquired several resorts across the country. Gillett’s focus was less on ski area operations and more on real estate development and additional amenities in an effort to create multi-seasonal resorts. Toward that end, Booth Creek Ski Holdings acquired through Fibreboard Corporation the resorts of Bear Mountain, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe in 1996 for $127 million. During this period, Booth Creek Ski Holdings developed the Big Springs area at Northstar.

2000 – Booth Creek Ski Holdings entered into a joint venture agreement with East West Partners (based in Beaver Creek, Colorado) to advance the completion of Northstar-at-Tahoe’s real estate and mountain development plan. EWP was known in Colorado for the development of master planned communities and mountain villages. The first phase of the Northstar Village opened in 2004-2005. The journey of East West Partners at Northstar will be covered in more detail in future blog(s).

2007 – CNL Lifestyle Properties, a real estate investment trust (REIT) purchased Northstar-at-Tahoe from Booth Creek Ski Holdings in 2007, but then hired Booth Creek to continue to manage the operations.

2010 – Three years later, Vail Resorts, Inc., purchased the operating lease of Northstar-at-Tahoe, operations that are conducted on land owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties.

Northstar is now truly living up to its original motto of “Everything in the middle of nowhere”. With the addition of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, Northstar Lodge Hyatt, The Village at Northstar and the on-going expansion of mountain facilities, the little ski area with five chairlifts has become a world-class destination resort.

The Martis and Washo Indians, the early settlers, the miners, loggers and Basque sheepherders would still recognize Martis Valley! For while there have been many changes over the years, the heart of the valley – it’s creeks, wildlife, trees and beauty have been preserved. The sky is still blue over Northstar-at-Tahoe!!!

Now that we are up to date with the history of Northstar Ski Resort and its operators, next week we will start taking a closer look at East West Partners and its residential development in Northstar. We will look at the relationship between EWP and Booth Creek, and then Vail Resorts, and what lies ahead in Northstar’s bright future.