|By Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake
TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 14, 2008 - Edgar B. Stern Jr., the New Orleans businessman who helped put Utah skiing on the world map by creating Deer Valley Resort and earlier owning Park City Mountain Resort, died Sunday in Seattle. He was 86.
Stern made a fortune opening the first commercial television station in Louisiana in 1948, developing hotels in New Orleans and San Francisco as well as the Gulf Coast region's first air-conditioned shopping center. He then moved in 1968 to Aspen, advancing its transformation into a jet-setters' haven through luxury real-estate development and support for community cultural programs.
He took his first look at Park City that year, admitting later "I was a little shocked at how everything was terribly run down." Stern changed all of that.
Recognizing quickly that newly constructed Interstate 80 would make Park City a quick commute from Salt Lake City International Airport, he bought Treasure Mountains Resort from United Park City Mines and turned it into Park City Resort. Stern came with a $100 million development plan, aggressively building lifts and base facilities. He also brought along Norwegian Olympic champion and ski legend Stein Eriksen to set up the skiing program and give the resort broader recognition.
In 1975, Stern sold Park City Resort to Nick Badami, former chairman of underwear company BVD and owner of Alpine Meadows ski area in California. Badami, who died in June, had come to ski Park City with his son, Craig, and met Stern while staying at the C'est Bon Hotel, built by Stern's business group.
Stern's Royal Street Land Co. acquired the rights to 1,700 acres of private land. That is now Deer Valley, a venue for 2002 Olympic events and Ski magazine's designee as North America's top resort for two years running. Stern retired as chairman of Royal Street Corp., parent of the land company, in 2007.
Since 1986, Stern has lived on San Juan Island, Wash. He was president of the board of the San Juan Community Theatre while also serving on the visitors committee of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the boards of the University of Chicago and Tulane University.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Polly; one daughter and three sons, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The family is having a private memorial service but intend to have a public celebration of his life later in Park City.
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