Actor Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort has a few things in common with the Dutton ranch on “Yellowstone.” Like its fictional counterpart, Sundance is a site of natural splendor that is threatened by encroaching developments. And like John Dutton (Kevin Costner), Redford has had to figure out what legacy he wants to leave behind. Like Dutton, he’s asked himself what he can do now to preserve his land in the future.
Sundance is located in Provo Canyon, at the foot of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos. Unlike the Dutton ranch, it has made conservation the center of its existence, with a resort-wide recycling program and other green initiatives.
Watch Redford narrate a tour of the resort here:
Robert Redford Is Selling Sundance
In December, Redford announced that he is selling the 2,600-acre resort. The buyers are Broadreach Capital Partners, a Palo Alto-based real estate investment firm, and Cedar Capital Partners, a London-based hospitality sector investment firm.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the resort has served as Redford’s Utah home for more than 50 years. But Sundance had become an albatross for the filmmaker.
“[It] created a lot of weight for me to be carrying around,” Redford told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I had been searching for years for the right people to take it to the next level, so that I could take that weight off my shoulders and enjoy my life.”
A conservation easement and protective covenants cover roughly 1,845 of the 2,600 total acres there, according to Forbes. And now, in tandem with the deal to sell Sundance, Redford is partnering with Utah Open Lands to put 300 additional acres of wildlife habitat and wetlands under permanent protection.
The two investment firms have reportedly pledged to spend half as much as they paid Redford for the property to upgrade the resort. They have also agreed to do so following Redford’s guidelines of sustainable and locally sourced building materials.
Broadreach Managing Director Philip “Flip” Maritz said Redford was interested in more than just the money when selling Sundance.
“He was more concerned about legacy, stewardship, fit, philosophy,” Maritz told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The History of Sundance
Robert Redford discovered the site that would become Sundance while riding his motorcycle through Utah during his college days. He bought two acres there in 1961 after marrying a girl from Provo. Then he built a cabin, where he lived with his family in between making movies.
During the late 1960s, developers discovered Utah, including the Provo area. Redford bought another 3,000 acres to stop a huge development of houses from going up there. But to be sustainable, the property had to make money. So Redford built the Sundance Mountain Resort and turned it into a ski and vacation destination.
The sale will include all the resort buildings, ski lifts, dining establishments and event spaces of Sundance.
“As stewards of this unique place, it’s always been my vision that the Sundance Mountain Resort would be a place where art, nature and recreation come together,” Redford said in a statement. “Cedar and Broadreach share our values and interest in maintaining the resort’s unique character, while honoring its history, community and natural beauty. They will ensure that future generations continue to find solace and inspiration here.”