Donner Ski Ranch sells for $10 million |

Donner Ski Ranch sells for $10 million

A Las Vegas development company has entered into a contract to purchase Donner Ski Ranch for nearly $10 million, and may develop the area into an alpine-style village.

The board of directors for both Donner Ski Ranch, Inc. and Donner Summit Tramways, Inc., the two corporate entities which own and operate Donner Ski Ranch, voted to accept the offer last Thursday made by Arizona Acreage LLC, a development company with subdivisions in southern Nevada and Arizona.

A spokesman for the company said if they decide to develop the area, they will present the town with plans in the next two weeks. The plans may include a central village consisting of various shops with surrounding homesites.

The spokesman, who asked to be unnamed, said the company is not opposed to clustered communities, and likes the design of recent residential developments in Martis Valley such as Lahontan, Edgewood and Northstar.

The broker with Chase International who sold the ranch, Doug Daggs, said he has known the development company for the last 20 years.

“(Donner Ski Ranch owner) Norm (Sayler) was investigating some other things, he didn’t want to sell it,” Daggs said. “I introduced the buyer about four months ago … They moved forward when Norm finally put it up for sale.”

Officially listed Oct. 23, the ranch wasn’t on the market for long.

“It didn’t happen overnight like it looks,” Daggs said. “The buyer had been in the wings for many months.”

The deal won’t close escrow for approximately a year, Daggs estimated.

When land use proposals change, such as the possibility for additional developments, a general plan change is required. Currently, the area is zoned as “forest recreational.”

“Most resorts have lifts on forest service land. This is a situation where the corporation owns most of it,” Daggs said.

Arizona Acreage plans to work with Sayler on development plans because of his knowledge of the land.

Sayler does not know if the lifts will remain if new developments take place, but he plans to operate the ski area for the rest of the season.

Donner Ski Ranch was first utilized for skiing in 1937. The area’s first rope tow was located at the base of the current lodge and ran west of the current midway unloading ramp on Chairlift 1.

In 1955, a group of Sacramento businessmen purchased the ski resort and formed Donner Summit Tramways, Inc., as a way to finance one of the first chairlifts built in California.

Norman and Karen Sayler were hired as managers in 1958. In 1965, the lodge was enlarged and remodeled to add a dining room and individual overnight facilities.

The property was listed by Chase International out of Tahoe City as a “developer’s dream” in the real estate advertisement, with approximately 460 acres up for sale. The sale also included six chair lifts, a small lake, a meadow and a 40,000-square-foot lodge, restaurant and lounge facility on site.

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