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A Lifetime at Northstar

By May 1, 2013No Comments

We have taken our readers through the History of Northstar with our Blog Series. Now, let’s get a first-person perspective from someone who grew up with Northstar being a fixture in their life. Jeff Brown, VP of Sales & Marketing for Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate tells up about his “Lifetime at Northstar”…

I was born the same week as Northstar in 1972 and had the great fortune of my parents and grandparents investing in real estate at a fledgling ski resort in the early 1970’s. Their homesite was sold to them by David Brown, a good friend and a person whose stamp is deeply imprinted on this community – using the tagline “Everything in the middle of nowhere.”

I was raised on the Northstar Ski Team following such legends in the ski industry as Dirk Haas, Chaz Kruck, Bobby Reader and of course, my dear friend Zeke Straw; perhaps the ultimate Northstar Icon featured in endless resort marketing over the years. Upon graduating from UC Davis, Zeke, the Ski School Director at the time, convinced me that a finance career in the Bay Area could wait and that one winter teaching skiing would be a great way to spread my wings before getting serious.

In addition to working diligently to grow the sport of skiing and enhance the stature of Northstar, there were many great times mixed in with those who would become lifelong friends. It is no mystery that one winter would turn into 20 years and a career that evolved from teaching skiing to resort management into real estate sales and development.

I won’t share with you all of the personal milestones I’ve experienced at Northstar but I do get nostalgic seeing photos of the old Village as I met my wife in the clocktower building shown in the photo below.

Growing up at Northstar, we were always very proud of our quaint little resort that always seemed to offer a little better service and friendlier feel than other mountains in the area. But we were also always aware of a Master Plan for the community and that it held the potential to be something really extraordinary.

Each resort operator from Fiberboard to Booth Creek Ski Holdings made incredible steps in keeping the resort progressing through various socio-economic trends that ultimately delivered us to the place we stand today – a resort worthy of a billion dollars in investment with top-tier brands including Ritz Carlton – and the world’s finest resort operator in Vail Resorts. I, for one, could not ask for a better partner to ultimately realize the vision for Northstar.

Clearly the world has arrived at the same conclusion as just within the past few months we’ve had the opportunity to welcome major institutional investors to the region including Kennedy Wilson, Northlight Capital, LDK capital among others including our friends and partners from JMA Ventures here with us today.

Additionally, much of the good fortune we’ve experienced in creating this resort has been invested back into the community through funds raised from Transfer Fees that have ultimately led to remarkable achievements in conservation including Waddle Ranch and Royal Gorge – acquired by the Truckee Donner Land Trust in an amazing feet of fundraising.

Around the millennium, I was working in Sales and Marketing for Northstar and was introduced to Harry Frampton. That winter I took it upon myself to visit Beaver Creek and get a better understanding of that resort as a template for what Northstar could become. Fast forward a decade and to stand here as a part of everything that has been built but knowing what is yet to come, it is hard not to be excited.

As East West Partners unfolds the final chapter for Northstar in the form of Mountainside, I feel a particular sense of pride in having participated in so much of what is now widely respected as a world-class resort community. I will never forget where we’ve come from and will strive to maintain much of the family-resort charm that made Northstar what it is today.