RECREATION & INVESTMENT PROPERTIES
Why should your family’s memories be formed in front of a TV when they can live the outdoor dream in Montana?
Ryan Tilleman’s cherished childhood memories weren’t spent in front of a TV.
The same goes for his wife, Susie. Both grew up in families that stayed active, enjoying the outdoors.
Now that the Tillemans have children of their own, the family of five is on the verge of building a new set of memories — many of which will come at a Montana development called Wilderness Club.
The gated cabin community is tucked away in northwestern Montana about a five-minute drive from the small town of Eureka — and a 45-minute drive from Whitefish.
The Tillemans recently purchased property at the retreat. Ryan was so impressed that he has taken his interest in the project one step further, getting involved as an investor.
There might be times when we take kids out and teach them how to fly-fish, or where we teach them about animals, or little fun things about the environment.
BARRY EHLERT, WINDMILL GOLF GROUP
“The area has a lot to offer as far as outdoor recreational activities are concerned,” says Ryan.
These include hiking, cycling, dirt biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, along with snowmobiling and ice skating.
But the avid golfer admits that the golf course also contributed to his interest in the community.
“I thoroughly enjoy the golf experience,” says Ryan. “It’s something special.”
Others agree. The Nick Faldo championship course has earned accolades from some of the sport’s notable magazines, including Golfweek’s naming it the No. 1 golf course in the state.
But for outdoor fun as a family, the development’s bodies of water cinched the Tillemans’ interest.
While Wilderness Club offers its own Wilderness Lake, it is also right on Lake Koocanusa.
Wilderness Lake is a 12-hectare, spring-fed body of water, while Lake Koocanusa is a 30-kilometre reservoir.
“My wife grew up water-skiing,” says Ryan. “That’s something that I can see us doing as our daughters grow up.”
On top of that, the lakes are a destination for canoeing, kayaking, boating, wake boarding and fly-fishing.
That Wilderness Club is growing into a community that caters to a wide range of buyers, especially families, is something that Barry Ehlert sees as a priority.
He is a managing partner with the Calgary-based Windmill Golf Group, which bought in as majority owners at Wilderness Club about one year ago.
“We’re focusing on families and encouraging that lifestyle,” says Ehlert.
With that in mind, he says the resort’s Wilderness Water Club is in the works, featuring a 200-foot water slide, swimming pools, hot tubs, multi-tiered sun decks and terraces.
In addition to amenities for outdoor fun, Wilderness Club places an emphasis on educa- tional and engaging programming, says Ehlert.
“There might be times when we take kids out and teach them how to fly-fish, or where we teach them about animals, or little fun things about the environment,” he says.
The same can be said about evenings planned for adults, including events such as cocktail receptions.
“We have fun elements for people to do so they stay engaged and not want to leave,” says Ehlert.
Programs and events also help develop a close-knit community, which Ehlert says is important.
While many of the owners at Wilderness Club are golfers, those who don’t play the sport still often travel the community in a golf cart, adding to the familiarity between residents, says Ehlert.
“It’s easier to wave to somebody in a golf cart than someone in a car with the windows up,” he says. “At the heart of it comes a community that is friendly and inviting.”
This mindset extends to the residences. Rather than homes arranged in rows, they come in village-like clusters.
Residences start in the $300,000s US, including lot, and range from 1,100 to 5,000 square feet.
Wilderness Club has been approved to build 320 residences. In terms of the design, Ehlert calls them “new Montana rustic.”
They have a “traditional flair of what you would expect at Montana, but with maybe a little bit of a newer twist,” he says.
The developers are in the process of building two show homes that are expected to be completed by June.
When owners are not using their residence, the units are self-sufficient — with services such as shovelling the walk taken care of by staff.
“The goal is that they pull up, they unlock the door, flip on the lights, and everything is taken care of and ready to go,” says Ehlert.