By John Arenas | May 27, 2014

Escape to Powder Mountain for Digital Innovation

Outdoor, untethered, off-the-grid retreats are becoming highly valued for their ability to break the digital routine and open the gates of inspiration and creativity.

Sometimes, every knowledge worker needs to unplug. At least, that’s the unique proposition that started Summit Powder Mountain. In 2008, four twentysomethings started planning ski trips and other outings with entrepreneurs across the country. Over five years, these annual get-togethers have turned into invitation-only Summit Series conferences held on mountaintops, cruise ships and other scenic locations.

Last April, Summit cofounders Elliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal and Jeremy Schwartz took their efforts up a notch and purchased 10,000 acres of land on the southern side of the renowned Powder Mountain. This breathtaking terrain is found in Eden, Utah and has become the permanent home of Summit.

While Summit is still organizing life-changing annual conferences that gather entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, artists, scientists, athletes and other change makers, the organization’s focus has progressed to building a community of innovators and game changers.

In an NPR interview with Elise Hu, Summit founders explained how the community will include 500 home sites and a retail village. As Jeff Rosenthal put it, “Return on community is our number one intention, followed by a return on investment for the people that back this project.” Investors include PayPal cofounder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, Olympic snowboarder Danny Davis, and record producer Dr. Luke to name a few.

At the core of their mission at Summit lies the urge to continue creating. In another interview with Forbes’ Steven Bertoni, Thayer Walker—Summit’s chief reconnaissance officer stated:

“What we’re looking to create is a place that houses all the ideals Summit embodies: entrepreneurship, altruism, art, science, culture, exploration of the physical, intellectual and spiritual components. We’re gathering the changemakers and thought leaders of our time in a spectacular, surreal setting that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”

As our society continues to speed ahead and forge a dependence on digital connectedness, innovators like these are reminding us of our roots in nature. To learn more about the benefits of unplugging your devices and creating meaningful human connections check out this story. And for more on Summit and Powder Mountain, check out David Sable’s Summit experience, “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”

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