Buy a $19.5 Million Ranch at a Private Ski Club for the Mega Rich
The Yellowstone Club, a private, 13,600-acre Montana resort whose residents have reportedly included Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake, is made up of just 864 residential properties. Burt Sugarman, the TV producer who created The Midnight Special, has owned a total of 27 of those properties since he first started vacationing there in 1998. “We’ve owned everything—five-acre properties, 12-acre properties, and put homes and cabins on some of them,” said Sugarman, who is married to the TV personality Mary Hart. “I enjoy things more that way, when I can put a little bit of business in it.”
Sugarman has held onto three properties at the club, which he says has a buy-in of $350,000 and annual membership dues of $40,000. Now he’s selling his largest remaining plot, a 160-acre ranch with horse facilities, a caretaker’s house, and a 6,500-square-foot main house with an attached, renovated barn, for $19.5 million.
Sugarman said the house was built around 2006. Its six bedrooms “all look out with huge views,” he said. “You can see the golf course and the ski runs from every room in the house.” The house features a grand, double-height living room with fireplaces, a dining area, and an office. The living room opens up onto a large porch, below which is a hot tub. Recently, Sugarman said, "a bear came by, tore the top off, and got in the tub,” he said. The hot tub was on, but, Sugarman said, "I don’t know how long she stayed in it. That’s Montana for you.” Sugarman has since replaced the ripped cover with a bearproof one but still has the damaged one in his garage. “I’ve kept it, because I just want to keep looking at it,” he explained.
The property has facilities for domesticated wildlife, too. A barn has stables for eight horses who are able to roam the ranch thanks to some strategically placed fences.
While the house and grounds are lovely, the biggest draw of the ranch might be its affiliation with the Yellowstone Club. The club, which has had some well-publicized ups and downs (its founder borrowed $375 million from Credit Suisse against the property, then managed to lose most of it, though a bankruptcy trustee continues to seek the recovery of funds), still retains its allure as a low-key vacation destination for some of the world’s richest people.
To keep those people coming back, the club maintains its own private ski mountain with 15 lifts and more than 60 trails, its own 18-hole golf course, its own riding facilities, a giant clubhouse, and even a staff that will shop for you, stocking your house with fresh food when your private jet touches down at the Bozeman, Mont., airport. (Insider tip from Sugarman: “There’s a place called the Coffee Pot that makes the greatest pies in the world,” he said. “We stop there and pick up four of five of them on the way.”)
Even though Sugarman is selling his main ranch, he can't bring himself to leave the club entirely. “We still have a another house there, and another condo,” he said. “We’re not leaving."