Centuries ago, the Ute Indians retreated to the canyon to escape the summer heat and hunt the abundant game. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Stewarts, a family of Scottish immigrants, had settled the canyon. While the first generations were mostly surveyors and sheepherders, the next generation saw excitement and opportunity in the snow-laden slopes beneath Mount Timpanogos. In the fifties, the Stewarts opened Timphaven, a local ski resort which boasted a chair lift, a rope tow, and a burger joint named Ki-Te-Kai.
In 1969, Robert Redford bought Timphaven and much of the surrounding land from the Stewart family, and Sundance was born. Rejecting advice from New York investors to fill the canyon with an explosion of lucrative hotels and condominiums, Redford saw his newly acquired land as an ideal locale for environmental conservation and artistic experimentation.
This place in the mountains, amid nature's casualness toward death and birth, is the perfect host for the inspiration of ideas: harsh at times, life threatening in its winters of destruction, but tender in attention to the details of every petal of every wildflower resurrected in the spring. Nature and creativity obey the same laws, to the same end: life.
As with most experiments, there were a few early setbacks. A dinner/movie night was abandoned when waiters repeatedly collided in the darkness. A mountain man rendezvous never saw past the first year because the deafening roar of the musket and cannon competition sent both wild and domestic animals scrambling for the Wyoming border.
Years of experimentation and refinement have ultimately resulted in what is now call Sundance. The Sundance Institute, spectacular skiing, stunning natural scenery, and tasteful excellence of the accommodations combine to make Sundance dynamically unique. People come from all walks of life, but one belief is shared: the community should represent who the people are and what they believe in. Sundance is an arts community, a recreational community, and a community of people who appreciate the beauty of nature and feel the responsibility to preserve it. As guests will see, Sundance has many shapes, moods, and possibilities.