Choice Financial donated $100,000 to Pembina Gorge Foundation’s Frost Fire purchase

Choice Financial donated $100,000 in support of the Pembina Gorge Foundation’s purchase of Frost Fire.

Posted on 10/19/17

By Lisa Nowatzki

The Foundation purchased Frost Fire ski area in June of 2017 from Judith and the late Richard Johnson who had owned and operated it for over 40 years.

“The vision of the Pembina Gorge Foundation is to preserve the natural beauty of the Gorge and enhance recreation opportunities in the region. This aligns very well with Choice Financials core value to better the places in which we live. “The work of the Foundation will create jobs, generate revenue for our surrounding communities and provide a year-round recreation destination,” says Pat Chaput, Choice Financial President, Walhalla.

The Foundation will work to preserve the Johnsons’ legacy and fulfill a dream of keeping Frost Fire at the center of the Gorge’s recreation activities and remain an integral part of the Rendezvous Region.


The Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area Campaign had an initial fundraising goal of $3.1 million.  Over $1.2 million was raised for the purchase and initial working capital.  The fundraising goal has increased to include the anticipated costs of the chair lift, repair or replacing of the groomer, snowmaking machines, lodge and facility needs, and a $1 million endowment.


The Pembina Gorge Foundation incorporated with the State of North Dakota in January 2017.  The mission of the Pembina Gorge Foundation is to preserve and enhance the experience of the Pembina Gorge while connecting people to positive, life changing experiences.  The Foundation develops and supports historical, cultural, education, natural, interpretive and recreational opportunities in the Gorge. 

The Foundation’s current focus is to support the ND Parks and Recreation Department in the implementation of the Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area Masterplan, 2014.  Its envisioned the Frost Fire property will become the visitor’s and heritage center or “hub” of the recreation area, as well continue to serve as the ski lodge, amphitheater and future mountain bike terrain park (Summer 2018).  

Foundation Board of Directors 

Sen. Tom Campbell, Pat Chaput, Sandy Crary, Rachel Gornowicz, Pat Hardy, Mike Jacobs, Commissioner Elsie Magnus, Sen. Janne Myrdal, Jeff Mostad, Frank White and Dustin Gorder

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