I’ve heard of big ticket purchases, but this one takes the cake. A group of young entrepreneurs named Summit have convinced approximately 50 investors to help them purchase a mountain (yes, a mountain!). The transformation of Powder Mountain in Eden, UT into Summit Eden is now underway.
Who are these entrepreneurs? According toForbes magazine, they are a gang of mostly twenty-something nomads who have run entrepreneur conferences called The Summit Series for the past five years. Saying “conference” might be a little misleading. These events include adventures too, like tagging tiger sharks with scientists or going off 20-foot waterfalls in kayaks. You may even catch Bill Clinton there.
Their goal with Powder Mountain, the largest ski mountain in the United States, is to create a center of culture and innovation: a small community with a big impact. They want to continue to unite thought leaders of today and tomorrow—but this time, the unions will be made on a gorgeously fun mountain that they call home.
Allow them to introduce themselves:
It’s difficult not to notice how every piece of this project is shaped like a Millennial ideal. From concept to design to execution, we can look at Summit Eden as almost a complete embodiment of Generation Y’s principles and values. Here’s how:
Let’s start with one defining positive characteristic of the Millennial generation—the belief that there are no limits. On the Summit Eden website it says, “our capacity to learn and grow is limitless,” and “Summit Eden is a place where a horizon line isn’t a boundary, it’s a beginning.” This is Gen Y’s message and by believing it, they were able to purchase a 10,000-acre mountain!
Which leads us to another Millennial characteristic—confidence. Coming up with a plan like this and approaching investors about it certainly takes confidence. One might even guess that if the idea to “buy an entire mountain in Utah” came up in a meeting, it would be dismissed with a “yeah, you wish.” Summit Group was confident enough to present their vision, large as it was, and ask for the support they needed to make it happen.
How else is Summit Eden so perfectly Millennial? How about the importance of work/life balance, the desire to contribute to something bigger and heightened environmental and social consciousness? In their own words, “It’s a place to learn, explore, and relax. A place to grow friendships and family and community.“ They’ve also raised 70K for local nonprofits in their new county. It doesn’t take explaining to see this project meets all of those objectives, and then some.
Another key millennial characteristic, particularly apparent in business, is the desire to collaborate. Their homepage says, “It’s a new kind of neighborhood, where friends, family, and the leaders of today and tomorrow gather in an environment created to catalyze personal and collective growth.” They’ve definitely taken collaboration to the next level by creating a collaborative community.
Generation Y has been said to be less materialistic than others. They don’t trust big brands and they are conscious of the social impact their purchasing decisions hold. Senator Mike Lee is quoted as saying, “Summit shares Utah’s business vision – it is not just about making a dollar, it is about making a difference for communities and the people who live there.”
It turns out the previous owners of Powder Mountain had plans for thousands of housing units and hotels. So vast were their plans that the housing would have covered two counties. These owners no doubt saw dollar signs, and a lot of them. Summit Group is more interested in preserving the natural beauty of the mountain, improving the surrounding communities and doing things the right way. With 500 home sites planned, a village core of comparable scale, and boutique lodging and amenities, they are not capping out their capital gain potential. It’s not as important to them as the community they intend to build and the world changing ideas that will spawn from that community.
Elise Hu of NPR says, “Spending time with Summit can feel like being at summer camp for grown-ups — the highly produced convenings mix serious talks with ideas and adventure. It’s like Davos for Millennials.”
What do you think– would you go to this Davos for Millenials? Have you heard of other projects like this? Let me know! Leave me a comment below or send me an email.