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Bruce Willis Donates Ski Resort in Idaho to Local Nonprofit Group

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 23, 2012 02:15 PM EST

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Bruce Willis may be a big celebrity, but he uses his fame for good.He recently donated his ski resort to a nonprofit organization. 

The "Die Hard" actor has owned the Soldier Mountain Ski Area in Fairfield, Idaho since the 1990's, but he was happy to hand it over to a nonprofit group that was formed by a group of people from Fairfield, Idaho. 

"I couldn't be more pleased with the organization that will be responsible for the management of Soldier Mountain Ski Area," Willis said in a press release. "It was exciting to see that the very people who ski at Soldier care so much about its future. I wish them the very best."

Plans to donate the ski resort started back in April. The nonprofit group then quickly got together and made it happen."It went from idea to execution in a matter of weeks," Will Varin, president of the nonprofit that now operates the mountain, told the Idaho Statesman. 

Varin is an attorney and a Fairfield local who learned to ski at Soldier Mountain when he was younger. He wanted to keep the ski resort under local ownership.

Soldier Mountain vice president Jamon Frostenson of Fairfield and treasurer Russell Schiermeier of Bruneau also learned how to ski on the mountain when they were kids.

"We all grew up there and have family ties with the mountain," Varin said."We've got that legacy, and there's a passing of the torch, and now it's our turn."

The nonprofit group spent the summer working on the resort by repainting buildings and ensuring that the ski lifts worked properly. The also had snowcats groom the trails. They will also revamp other services when the U.S. Forest Service renews the permits.

Varin is looking forward to having local skiers and boarders come to the resort this winter season. 

"It's an honor and a privilege to do it," Varin said, of taking over the mountain. "At the end of the day, we don't own the mountain. It's a community mountain."

Soldier Mountain offers one of the largest ski hills in Idaho. It has three lifts that access about 1,150 acres of skiing area. They also offer daylong and shorter snowcat skiing trips, in which skiers are brought to a location by snowcat, rather than a lift.

They are waiting for enough snow to cover the mountain before they open for the 2012-13 season. When it opens, it will operate from Thursday through Sunday.

Season passes and tickets can be purchased on the Soldier Mountain Ski Area website. 

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