Sam Byrne Goes Big

Byrne_ThumbSam Byrne and Billy Collins had Pioneer Mountain at the Yellowstone Club to themselves, as usual. They were belting down the freshly groomed corduroy, carving fast, giant-slalom turns last year when–bam!–they collided, hard. The impact cracked both their helmets. Byrne, whose buyout firm, CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC, owns the private Montana resort, broke a ski. Collins, the club’s head of sales, flew into the trees. For Byrne, it was just another brush with death.

Credit Suisse’s Cash-Out Mortgages

Tamarack_ThumbTo Jean-Pierre Boespflug, French- born developer of a ski resort in the Idaho outback, the $250 million loan from Credit Suisse Group AG was too good to pass up. He wasn’t alone.

Andre’s Private Idaho

Andre_ThumbWhen Andre Agassi played professional tennis, he didn’t dare do anything that might get him injured. “I wasn’t allowed to go off a diving board,” he says.  Lately, he’s taken a deep dive into real estate.

Tim Blixseth’s Mountain of Trouble

YC_Summer_ThumbTim Blixseth, a rags-to-riches timber baron, likes the good things in life, and he likes having them to himself. He lives on a private 18-hole golf course near Palm Springs, California. He also controls a ski resort in Montana called the Yellowstone Club that he shares with a hand-picked group including Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates.

Fortress’s Abyss

Fortress_ThumbOne of the things Wesley Edens did soon after his company bought Canadian ski-resort conglomerate Intrawest Corp. in October 2006 was to finance construction of a $43 million gondola at Whistler, British Columbia. The new lift is the longest unsupported span for any gondola, stretching 2.73 miles. It’s also the highest, dangling 1,427 feet over Fitzsimmons Creek between Whistler mountain and its sister peak, Blackcomb. Visitors to the 2010 ride it just for thrills: Some of the 28 cars have glass bottoms. Two years after commissioning the ski lift, Edens, 47, finds himself staring into an abyss of a different sort.