Two members of the Big Mountain Club have resigned following an altercation on the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort, and the ski resort is out to set the record straight about the incident that has garnered national attention.
According to a statement from Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish residents Richard Spencer and Randy Scheunemann have submitted their resignations and neither will be a member of the Big Mountain Club for the upcoming ski season and beyond.
The Big Mountain Club is owned by Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Spencer is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist “think tank” and publishing firm he has directed from his home in Whitefish since 2011.
Scheunemann is a former advisor to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and was Sen. John McCain’s foreign policy aide.
A reported dispute on the slopes between Spencer and Scheunemann was first detailed in an Oct. 18 article in The Daily Beast online news magazine. According to the story, during a shared chairlift ride in the winter of 2013, Spencer “berated” Scheunemann for his political beliefs.
In a recent Pilot op-ed, Spencer doesn’t deny there was an altercation, saying he “treated Scheunemann with derision,” and that he regrets the incident. “A wiser man would have remained silent,” Spencer said.
According to The Daily Beast story, Scheunemann reported Spencer to club management and eventually gave the club an ultimatum — either Spencer is kicked out or Scheunemann cancels his membership.
Whitefish Mountain Resort says that’s simply not true. “The Big Mountain Club representatives have no recollection or evidence of receiving an ultimatum from Randy Scheunemann,” the resort noted in a statement.
“In January 2013, Randy Scheunemann spoke to the manager of the Big Mountain Club and told him that he just had a verbal confrontation on the chairlift with Richard Spencer. Scheunemann told the manager, ‘I’m not telling you so you can do something about it, I’m telling you because if I pop him in the nose you’ll know why.’”
“No action was taken after the incident on the chairlift because there were no witnesses and because Randy Scheunemann asked the club manager not to take any action. The management of the Big Mountain Club and Whitefish Mountain Resort felt this incident was an argument between two individuals.”
“A second incident took place on Dec. 31, 2013 at the club room at the resort where Randy Scheunemann and Richard Spencer got into an argument and had to be separated by staff and other members.”
“On Jan. 1, 2014 the club manager sent both men an email explaining their behavior and language were inappropriate and the personal issues between them will not be tolerated within the Club or any of its facilities.”
The resort says the Big Mountain Club is not a political organization and will remain that way. “Any suggestion that the Big Mountain Club has sided with a white supremacist in this matter is false, defamatory and contrary to what the Big Mountain Club and Whitefish Mountain Resort stand for,” the resort noted.