Jack Kurlander - Jack Kurlander, New Jersey ski resort builder


Jack Kurlander, 76

New Jersey’s resort pioneer

Jack Kurlander, 76, founder of the Great Gorge and Hidden Valley resorts in New Jersey, suffered a fatal heart attack on April 24, 2006.

Kurlander, a successful real estate developer, also launched several golf courses and the Crystal Springs Spa.

His wife Peg Kurlander told the New Jersey Herald, "He would see a piece of property and he would know exactly what to do with it.”

John Kurlander was born in Providence, R.I. and grew up in Nutley, N.J., where he became the high school state tennis champ. With his partner John Fitzgerald, he manufactured the first nylon tennis nets, then invented a ski-waxing machine, which he built and sold out of Bennington, Vt.

Back in New Jersey, Kurlander worked as a lumber salesman while looking for a site to build ski lifts. He opened Great Gorge in 1965, and merged with neighboring Vernon Vally in 1974. The resort is now owned by Intrawest Corp. and has been renamed Mountain Creek.
In 1975, Kurlander and his partners opened the Hidden Valley resort. He suffered his first heart attack in 1977 and retired briefly. He opened the Crystal Springs Swim and Tennis Club in 1982, and expanded it to include a golf course and residential community. Later he built Black Bear Golf Course, the Spa at Great Gorge, Ballyowen Golf Course and Wild Turkey Golf Course, all in Sussex County, N.J.