Last dance

The Sundance Kid is riding off into the sunset. Last month, Robert Redford announced he is selling his Sundance resort, north of Provo, Utah. The resort, which Redford founded more than 50 years ago, is being bought by real estate investment firms Broadreach Capital Partners and Cedar Capital Partners.

Despite the generic sounding names, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Broadreach’s senior advisor is no stranger to the ski industry. It is headed up by none other than Bill Jensen, a 47-year ski area veteran. Starting as a liftie at Mammoth Mountain in the ’70s, Jensen went on to careers at Sun Valley, Sunday River and Northstar at Tahoe. In the ’90s, he transitioned to working as president and CEO in at Breckenridge, Vail, Intrawest and mostly recently Telluride, which he left last summer.

According to Redford, the agreement is the result of a long-term plan to preserve and build upon the resort’s legacy of responsible development and land preservation. The 2,600-acre resort includes 1,845 acres of land preserved through a conservation easement and covenants.

"As stewards of this unique place, it has always been my vision that Sundance would be a place where art, nature and recreation come together," the 84-year-old film star said. “Change is inevitable, and for several years, my family and I have been thinking about a transition to new ownership.” Redford said Broadreach and Cedar share the family’s interest in maintaining the resort's character, while honoring its history and beauty. 

According to Forbes, Redford discovered the area when he was riding his motorcycle from California to college at CU Boulder in the 1950s. He later met and married a girl from Provo, and came back and bought 2 acres for $500 in 1961 from a sheepherding family who ran a mom-and-pop ski hill called Timphaven. He built a cabin and lived with his young family between his early films. Years later, alarmed at the increase in development, be bought another 3,000 acres. In order to make money off the fledgling resort, he built 95 cottages in the late 1980s and eventually permitted more than 200 private homes, most nestled in the trees. The Foundry Grill and Tree Room, with a massive pine tree growing through the middle of the restaurant, were also opened. 

In addition to the sale, Redford also announced protection of the 300-acre “Redford Family Elk Meadows Preserve,” includes the meadow below the iconic Stewart Falls, along with trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

For their part, Broadreach and Cedar said they plan to enhance the ski experience, expand on-mountain amenities and explore the possibility of a 50- to 75-room lodge at the base.  

"In 1969, Robert Redford had a courageous vision to create a haven for discovery and new ideas, immersed in a rich cultural history," Philip “Flip” Maritz, managing director of Broadreach, said in a statement. "We are deeply honored to assume stewardship of this magical resort and are committed to maintaining the balance between responsible development and land preservation." 

The transaction includes all assets of Sundance Mountain Resort, including buildings, ski lifts, dining venues and event spaces. It does not affect the Sundance Institute, Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Catalog, Sundance TV or the Redford Center. The resort will continue to host workshops and events organized by the Sundance Institute, including the annual Sundance Film Festival. 

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