The powerhouse outdoor gear retailer Patagonia confirmed Wednesday that it will no longer supply its products to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The move comes after one of the owners of the resort, Jay Kemmerer, co-hosted a fundraiser that welcomed controversial far-right politicians including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to Jackson earlier this month.
To learn more, KHOL News Director Kyle Mackie spoke to WyoFile reporter Angus Thuermer, who broke the story this week with his article, “Patagonia dumps Jackson Hole ski resort after far-right fundraiser.”
The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
KYLE MACKIE: Angus Thuermer, thank you so much for joining us today on KHOL.
ANGUS THUERMER: Well, Kyle, thank you for your interest in WyoFile.
MACKIE: Absolutely. Well, we all read your article with great interest this week. Can you tell me about your reporting and what you learned about Patagonia and JHMR?
THUERMER: Certainly. Patagonia, after one of the owners of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort hosted a fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund, which is a very conservative—it funds a very conservative group of House [of Representatives] lawmakers in D.C.—after Patagonia found out about that through local reporting in the local paper, the company Patagonia decided it would no longer sell its products to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, because Patagonia is an activist company and it likes to put its money where its mouth is. And it does not agree with all many, most of the principles of the House Freedom Caucus.
MACKIE: So, you mentioned Patagonia being an activist company and it donates a proportion of its profits, I believe, to environmental conservation and issues like that. But how significant of a move is this for the company?
THUERMER: It’s a significant move because Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is its largest single customer in Teton County. And so, Patagonia took this action with a bit of thought and deliberation. And because it’s the largest customer in Teton County, Patagonia—it looks at this move as being a significant statement.
MACKIE: You spoke to a representative from Patagonia. What did she tell you?
THUERMER: She told me some of those things. And she also acknowledged a long and strong relationship with the workers and the management team at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, if not with one of the owners, Jay Kemmerer. And she said, ‘It’s fair to say that Jackson Hole is an important community for us.’ And they have ambassadors who live here, sports ambassadors, and they have former employees who work for the mountain resort. And of course, Patagonia is known for clothing, active outdoor athletes, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is known for a place where those athletes can come and ski and climb and go into the backcountry and do all that sort of stuff.
MACKIE: What does this mean for the resort from your reporting and what has the reaction been?
THUERMER: Well, the management is a little bit miffed because it has quite an extensive program of recycling, things like that. It buys its power for lifts and some other stuff from wind generation. And it really has tried to put forward a profile that is sensitive to the environment, according to some of the directors who wrote an opinion piece in, again, the local Jackson Hole News&Guide newspaper. So, the management says, ‘Hey, we didn’t do anything wrong,’ but the one owner is being held to account for his support for that particular group of politicians and the views that they espouse.
MACKIE: You may not want to speculate on this as a reporter, but do you anticipate seeing any other companies following suit, any other, you know, further kind of retaliation against the resort for the actions of one of the co-owners in hosting that fundraiser for the House Freedom Caucus?
THUERMER: I’m not sure anybody else could make as big of a statement as Patagonia. You put the name Patagonia and you put the name Jackson Hole ski area up there side by side and that’s going to draw a lot of attention. It’s hard to really imagine another company that could have that impact. But I have not heard of other businesses following suit. There is some talk among skiers and individuals, ‘Well, I’m not going to ski there this year.’ We’ll see if that happens when the snow falls and it’s a big powder day. But no, I haven’t heard of any other companies following suit.
MACKIE: Well, Angus Thuermer, thank you so much for your reporting on this and for joining us today at KHOL.
THUERMER: You bet, Kyle, and thanks for your interest in WyoFile.