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Summit Powder Mountain: The Master Plan

When Summit’s community of entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and artists rallied to save Powder Mountain from the scourge of massive overdevelopment in 2013 they countered with a simple vision: keep Powder Mountain’s magical experience intact by harnessing its natural beauty, and making it a year-round place for their purpose-driven community to gather, play, plan, learn, create and innovate.

Surrounded by calls to adventure, inspiring settings, and a diverse, collaborative community Powder Mountain could be much more than just a secret playground for skiers and adventurers. It would become an idea hub where solutions to problems big and small emerge on a chairlift rides to the top, hikes overlooking the Ogden Valley, or long-table outdoor dining with neighbors.

Of course, Powder Mountain’s stunning beauty had to be paired with a smart physical design for this vision to become a reality, so Summit’s leaders searched the world for inspiration. They were introduced to several prestigious architects and planners during their due diligence, who counseled them on every aspect of ecological design.

Ultimately, that task of deciding where the Village core would be was handed to Dr. Phil Taub, a professor at Texas A&M who’s a leader in New Urbanism and considered by planning-world peers to be a ’sacred geometrist.’ He and his graduate students walked for three days around Powder’s 10,000 acres to find the perfect location. On the backside of the resort, just underneath the ridge, they found a spot where three separate bowls intersect and feeling its feminine energy, they knew they’d found their spot. It offers horizontal access to the entire resort, and panoramic views of the surrounding Wasatch Mountains, nearby alpine meadows, and both the Ogden Valley and Salt Lake Basin below.

Phil’s vision was then merged with Summit’s assembly of planning experts, resulting in a walkable core that would preserve open space, surrounded by clustered neighborhoods. By scale, it would take the shape of a small mining town, like Telluride, with just 1500 feet separating the core from the outer ring. And to avoid the familiar fate of ski resorts marred by huge mansions and shopping malls they committed to a clustered local grid, strict aesthetic guidelines, and stringent size restrictions.

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