SUBLETTE COUNTY, Wyo. — Owners of a small and endeared ski resort outside of Pinedale have decided to put the property up for sale.
Alan and Robyn Blackburn, majority owners of Citizens to Save White Pine LLC (which owns the assets of White Pine Ski Area and Resort) announced today they are listing the resort after operating it since 2014. The decision was made, in part, due to the devastating fire on July 12, 2019 that destroyed the main lodge.
“We were thrilled going into the summer wedding season in 2019, and looked forward to continuing successes” said Alan Blackburn, hopeful about what he said was a 19% increase in revenue for FY2019. “But then came July 12th and the devastating fire that destroyed the White Pine Lodge.”
The Blackburns scrambled to salvage the 2019 summer wedding season, canceling just two of the scheduled events that season. But wedding coordinator Robyn Blackburn admitted it was an “emotional drain.” Robyn is currently spending the winter season with family in New Zealand where she is also planning her own niece’s wedding in March.
Alan, 72, has health issues that contributed to the couple’s decision to sell the resort.
The resort has been open for skiing this winter season even without the lodge.
Like most smaller ski resorts, White Pine has struggled financially in the past. The resort opened in 1939 as Surveyor Park Ski Area before changing to “White Pine” in the 1960s. The resort closed in 1988 until a private investment group, Wind River Resort Inc., revived operations in 1999.
A decade later, that group, too, said it was pulling the plug and the 2010-11 winter season was saved only because a group of five local businesses calling itself Citizens to Save White Pine stepped in and pulled the resort out of potential bankruptcy. By the following winter season, however, that group also announced the resort would shutter for the 2011-12 season, and placed the property on MLS for $1.4M.
The Blackburns, along with Roy and Kari DeWitt, finalized the purchase of the resort in June 2014. Since then the resort has been managed by Katie Lane (General Manager) and Bryan Lane (Maintenance and Equipment Manager). The Blackburns were quick to commend the Lanes and the staff that has helped keep the resort running.
Since assuming control of the White Pine, the Blackburns have managed to keep daily operations in the black and the resort garners consistently positive reviews from patrons.
“Any investor or purchaser of White Pine has a turn-key operation with experienced managers and employees willing and wanting to continue. We hope that this will happen,” the Blackburns stated. Interested parties should contact Alan Blackburn directly.
The Blackburns stressed how important the resort is and what a valuable community asset it has become over the years. They both expressed optimism that interested buyers will come forward quickly so that the transition is seamless and White Pine Resort can continue to operate into its 81st season next year.
The resort operates on federal land and any final decision regarding a change of ownership would have to be approved by the Bridger-Teton NF. The current business operates under a USFS permit which is not transferable. BTNF would work closely with the new owners to assist with issuing a new permit for the owners of continued operation of the ski resort.