Last season, after a 15-year hiatus, White Pine Ski Area in Pinedale, Wyoming, became the first U.S. ski area to reopen since Colorado's Berthoud Pass did so in 1998. With 370 skiable acres and about 1,100 feet of vertical, White Pine has no visions of competing with Jackson Hole, which is about an hour away. But it does have an impressive pedigree of sorts: White Pine President Stuart Thompson and ski-school director Max Lundberg were long-time Alta personnel.
"We've copied much of what Alta did in the early years," says Lundberg. "We're focused on being a ski area for the community and on creating skiers." Lundberg says that the areas's 8,500-foot base elevation and cold temperatures will provide "skiing before and after Jackson opens and closes." The $22 lift ticket helps, too.
Lundberg describes White Pine's terrain as "nice, intermediate stuff-similar to Germania at Alta." There are currently two double chairs and a rope tow, with an eventual goal of six triples. A day lodge is nearing completion. There are no plans for detachable lifts, big condo complexes, or Polo stores. And no hype. Says Lundberg: "White Pine drew me to Pinedale. It's the kind of place where guys like me used to sneak off and just go ski." From the mouth of an Alta vet, that's saying a lot.