Winter Recreation

Oregon couple buys Idaho’s Soldier Mountain Ski Area

Ski patrolmen Ryan Bentley, front, and Rick Choate bring gear down off Soldier Mountain during the last snow day in March 2013 near Fairfield.
Ski patrolmen Ryan Bentley, front, and Rick Choate bring gear down off Soldier Mountain during the last snow day in March 2013 near Fairfield. Times-News file

Less than a month after being listed for sale, Soldier Mountain Ski Area has new owners.

Jim Johnston, president of the nonprofit that owned the ski area, made the announcement on the ski area’s Facebook page Wednesday. Matt and Diane McFerran of Bend, Ore., were chosen from thousands of entries received within the first 72 hours of the sale notice.

“We look forward to them joining the community and to a smooth transition and many years of skiing, boarding, and biking at Soldier!” Johnston wrote. “Stay tuned for further reports from Matt and Diane.”

The nonprofit posted on social media Oct. 15 that Soldier Mountain was for sale for $149,000 — the amount of the nonprofit’s debt. It got more than 800 inquiries in the first 24 hours and more than 2,000 inquiries within 72 hours. The nonprofit eventually stopped accepting inquiries from potential buyers because of the overwhelming response.

The family-friendly ski area started in 1948. It was owned by Hollywood actor Bruce Willis in the late 1990s. In October 2012, Willis donated it to the nonprofit.

The organization was in negotiations with Gary Miller, who owns Magic Mountain near Hansen. But the deal fell through in August.

Soldier Mountain spokesman Don Shiermeier told the Times-News that several consecutive low-snow years contributed to the nonprofit’s lack of money to open the mountain this season.

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