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Netflix co-founder buys ownership stake in Powder Mountain

Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, purchased a majority of the Summit Mountain Holding Group’s shares in Powder Mountain

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Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings smiles during an interview in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 28, 2017. Powder Mountain on Monday announced that Hastings purchased a majority stake in Powder Mountain for an undisclosed amount.

Manu Fernandez, Associated Press

The co-founder of the biggest streaming service in the U.S. just bought an ownership stake in the biggest ski area in the U.S.

Powder Mountain on Monday announced that Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, purchased a majority of the Summit Mountain Holding Group's shares in Powder Mountain for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition makes Hastings a minority owner of the resort, which the Summit Group bought in 2012 with ambitions of creating a $1 billion development consisting of a ski village, 500 homes and a home base for the group of entrepreneurs.

Plans included the group using the 10,000 acres in Ogden Valley as a place for all future conferences and meetings "designed to help business leaders create pathways to achieve their personal, professional and altruistic goals," Summit officials said then.

"It's a place where a horizon line isn't a boundary, it's a beginning," the group said, describing "Summit Eden" on its website. "On the southern side of Powder Mountain, Summit will establish a sustainably designed residential community, called Summit Eden, which will become home base for the organization, the community, and its distinctive leadership and cultural events."

Hastings' acquisition of the Summit Group's shares signifies a move away from the billion-dollar dreams of the group.

"The Summit Group's vision was really ambitious, but it is not a blueprint that we're looking to follow moving forward," Hastings told KSL.

Greg Mauro will remain the co-owner and majority shareholder of the mountain while Hastings will sit on one of Powder Mountain's five board seats and will share oversight of management, operations and the mountain's future.

Powder Mountain — spanning 8,464 skiable acres — boasts that it has the most skiable acreage in North America.

It's also is unique in the sense that it caps day passes and season pass sales, limiting the number of skiers on the mountain.

Hastings said that he and the leadership team will be working to determine a "shared vision" and specific plan for the mountain that generates smart growth, noting priorities include upgrading lifts, enhanced parking and better food options.

Still, he isn't looking to reinvent what attracted him to Powder Mountain in the first place.

"I'm a snowboarder and the on-snow experience is as good as you'll find. There's incredible terrain, excellent and reliable snow quality and you don't have to share it with anyone. It checks every box," Hastings said.

A skier is pictured at Powder Mountain. Powder Mountain announced Monday that Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, purchased a majority stake in the resort for an undisclosed amount.

A skier is pictured at Powder Mountain. Powder Mountain announced Monday that Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, purchased a majority stake in the resort for an undisclosed amount.

Powder Mountain

Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, live in California but have been long-time enjoyers of the mountain. According to a news release, the couple bought property and built a home on Powder Mountain eight years ago.

"Patty and I love this mountain community and want to see it flourish. We're looking forward to being a part of Powder Mountain's future and to help safeguard what makes this place special," Hastings said in a statement.

He said that he understands there may be concerns about a billionaire businessman buying ownership stake in a mountain known for small crowds, but hopes people will judge him by his actions.

"Maintaining that feel is a major priority for us, we wanted to get involved with Powder Mountain because of what this mountain is, not for some far-off vision of what it could become," Hastings said.

The addition of Hastings to the Powder Mountain ownership group and board comes months after the resort brought in Kevin Mitchell to serve as general manager.

"With Kevin's background and Reed joining the ownership, we can move forward together with a shared purpose led by a seasoned and talented team," said Mauro.

Hastings said that his vision for Powder Mountain's future doesn't look too different from the present.

"Anyone who's spent time at Powder will tell you there's some basic infrastructure improvement needed to really make the experience everything that it can be, that will be our immediate focus," Hastings said. "Big picture, I'll be working with the rest of the leadership team to develop and communicate that vision, more to come there soon."