Nobody ever said you have to have ski resort operations experience to own a ski area. The latest example of that is Shay Butler, is acquiring Pebble Creek Ski Area in Idaho. Butler is the man behind the popular YouTube channel called “Shaytards,” which has nearly five million subscribers.
The new owner doesn’t seem to be in it for the money: “This is not my mountain, this is the community’s mountain,” Butler said. “We’re just trying to provide access so the local community can enjoy this beautiful landscape.”
According to reports, the investment group that owned the ski area for 30 years had it on the market for some time, but potential investors were scared away due to a lack of ROI, despite a balanced cash flow.
However, Butler grew up in the area and learned to ski at Pebble Creek in elementary school. He and his family recently moved back to the area after living in Los Angeles for several years, and in February started the process of purchasing his hometown ski hill. Since the area operates on National Forest land, it took several months to finalize the transaction while requirements were being met.
Now, the USFS has approved a new 40-year land use lease for the ski area, and officials at Pebble Creek must submit a 10-year master plan for the resort.
Butler said he wants it to remain the same, accessible area that he knew growing up, but he already has some plans in mind, especially for summer business. “We want to keep the local, family-like vibe, but there’s a lot of potential for summertime activities,” he said. “Anything you could think of, we’ve talked about.” Mountain biking trails, outdoor movies on a big screen, summer concerts, and even summer tubing are among the options.
Pebble Creek isn’t your normal little community ski area. It sits on the northwestern side of Mount Bonneville, which has a summit elevation of 9,271 feet. Its 53 trails cover an impressive 1,100 skiable acres with 2,200 feet of vertical served by three triple chairs.