The Kemmerer Era

Copyright Eric Seymour

Copyright Eric Seymour

The development of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort over the years.

By Brigid Mander

Jackson Hole, despite its fame and increasing global cache, has always been a family owned mountain. The founders and original owners of the ski resort, Paul McCollister and Alex Morley, ran the resort until its sale to the Kemmerer family, of Wyoming, in the mid-1990s. As the next generation of owners, the Kemmerers have since worked to invest in and update the mountain without leaving the culture and history of this special place behind.

Under the guidance of siblings Connie and Jay Kemmerer, the last couple of decades have seen Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) develop one of the most modern and upgraded lift systems in the Rocky Mountains. Athletic summer offerings complement the winter sports, with an ever-growing mountain bike park, and the latest endeavor being a via ferrata in Casper Bowl. Overall, the generous rate of reinvestment in the resort has outpaced the industry average (per skier visit baseline) by four times the amount of other areas, according to data collected over the last seven years, said Anna Cole, JHMR spokeswoman.

The vision of the Kemmerers has been to keep great skiers coming for the tough terrain, but also to make sure there is something for everyone. Many of their improvements have been aimed at making JHMR a place where diverse levels of skiers can come, get outside in the beauty of nature in winter, challenge themselves and enjoy a world-class family vacation.

Key employees in the resort administration, such as JHMR President Jerry Blann, have also played an important role in helping the ski resort grow smoothly. Tasks such as getting lift infrastructure and upgrades approved and advocating for the resort with Teton Village (the community at the base of the mountain) have been integral to the success of resort improvement and community relations overall.

In addition to the resort’s efforts on the ski mountain, in Teton Village itself developers and investors have been working around the base area to upgrade and improve lodging offerings, dining and entertainment. Redevelopment of existing buildings and commercial space has enormous potential, and what has been done so far has resulted in a new look at the base area in an ambitious, ongoing and collaborative process.
In the realm of undeveloped potential for real estate at the base area, options abound. Currently, there is more than 600,000 square feet of developable space that has not been tapped at all, on existing vacant lots near the base.

Commercial lots in Teton Village have develop-ment caps, and new development must adhere to the maximum carrying capacity for each lot. The building allowance for lots ranges from an enclosed building area that equals the lot’s surface square footage, to lots that are allowed to have a building of two and half times the surface square footage. All buildings must adhere to a height restriction of 62.5 feet, but current vacant lots have the potential for 515 new hotel rooms or 257 multiroom condominiums.

This, combined with the Kemmerers’ vision and ongoing improvements on the mountain, makes real estate investment in Teton Village an exciting opportunity that is full of potential as well.