Hermitage Club Ski Stats at a Glance
Summit Elevation: 3,200′
Vertical Drop: 1,400′
Skiable Acres: 194
Glades: 28 acres
Number of Trails: 45
Number of Lifts: 5
Snowmaking: 90% coverage
Members-only skiing & riding
Birth 2012, Receivership 2018, Auction 2020
How does a private ski resort in the beautiful Vermont mountains sound? Picture yourself skiing satiny powder with friends, enjoying fireside lunch and après ski in a grand Clubhouse. The valet stores your skis and fetches your car, the concierge confirms your Spa. Membership has its privileges, and private powder on 55 ski trails at this 1,400-acre playground in southern Vermont. Hermitage was a luxury ski club, with a casual, comfy – a close community of the well-off of the East Coast ski scene.
Hermitage – we have a problem! In March 2018, The Vermont Tax Department closed Hermitage for failure to pay taxes, the Club is now up for Auction March 2020, $4 mill minimum, or $8 mill if you want the high-speed six-pax bubble chairlift. The owner – Jim Barnes was under financial scrutiny for $16 million in funds to the club.
The Hermitage Club was The Yellowstone Club of the East, offering private powder and cushy lifts to its fortunate closed community. It was pay to play, initial membership is $65,000, $5,000 annual dues, and the play here is engaging and exclusive – from the sizeable 195-acre ski area, to private rock concerts at the magnificent $30 mill Clubhouse complete with a Spa, and a movie theatre, bowling alley, and game room for the kids. Interestingly, Yellowstone Club went through bankruptcy 2008 (but has since emerged with new ownership) …so goes Hermitage Club perhaps…
If you think Hermitage Club sounds like ski snobbery, you might be surprised. The member are more active than arrogant, they’re carving up corduroy or floating on fluffy untracked powder first thing in the morning. You arrive and yours skis, slopes, meals and lodging are prepped to perfection – the satiny snow awaits.
Ride up the un-crowded mountain on a brand new six-passenger heated-seat bubble-covered chairlift, a $7 million high-speed lift like Okemo’s – perhaps overkill for the private membership of skiers. You can keep your ski boots on for the grand buffet lunch served by the massive stone fireplace in the Clubhouse – the largest timber frame lodge east of the Mississippi.
Hermitage has a heli-pad, an airport, even a jet share program for members from the City.
Afternoons at Hermitage bring snowshoeing, tubing, ice-skating, Clubhouse Spa treatments and après ski at the slope view bar. Kids have their own fun zone downstairs. Casually elegant dinners follow with entertainment. Far from stodgy, members here are social and stoked for adventure, and the Club caters with snowmobiling on Haystack after the lifts close, taking the snow cat “Catillac” up to the summit Cabin for cocktails at 3,200’, or skinning up the mountain for a moonlight ski down.
Hermitage Club founder, Jim Barnes, of Waste management wealth, brings in top 70’s and 80’s bands to perform live concerts in the Clubhouse (Cheap Trick, Hall & Oates, Kenny Logins, America) and offers cat skiing and snowmobiling to members on midweek days when the lifts aren’t running. Already 500 members have joined the Hermitage Club since its opening, and The Club could reach its 1,500 member goal soon according to Rees Pinney, VP Membership Development.
The 1964 Haystack ski area, next door to Mount Snow, struggled for years but now thrives as a playground for wealthy ski families looking to escape from lift lines and crowded base lodges, preferring to ski and socialize with a select community that share an outdoor passion that’s just more polished. The Vermont scenery is gorgeous at the private club on Haystack Mountain, the mood is fun and family oriented, from the familiar instructors that know the kids, to the endless activities – ice skating, snow tubing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, yoga and exercise classes.
The Hermitage Hotel will offer luxury ownership units for members to purchase, next to the grand Clubhouse. The business model of the Hermitage Club is brilliant, and the benefits for active families that can afford it is everything you love about skiing, with none of the hassle.
Jim Barnes fell in love with the place and his wife of 19 years during their first “plutonic” snowmobiling date when they had lunch at the Hermitage Inn, the country inn where guests, members and non-members alike, can stay and dine at the base of the now private resort club. Ironically, there’s been a rather public affair since – and an ensuing club scandal… not unlike the Blixseth’s divorce at Yellowstone Club – the private ski and golf club in Montana, which caused a foreclosure (2008) but is secure again with CrossHarbor Capital.
“We are not a resort, we are a Club. We don’t’ want you to have a great day here, we want you to have a great life,” said VP of Membership Pinney. If you have the opportunity to visit the Hermitage Club, you may fall in love with the powder skiing privileges, the picture perfect setting, the service and the sense of belonging. Stay tuned on the health and wealth of Hermitage.