Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Where to buy a ski condo in colorado

While the word vacation evokes palm trees and white sandy beaches in some minds, others flock to the vast mountains of Colorado for snow chasing and thrill-seeking.

Purchasing a ski condo in Colorado is not only glamorous and exciting, but also a massive milestone that provides a long-term investment strategy. Even if you’re not paying for your Colorado condo in all cash, loan restrictions since the housing market crash of 2008 are tighter than ever, so acquiring credit under today’s standards says a lot about one’s financial profile.

Whether you’re buying your vacation home with a mortgage or can afford to put down all-cash, determining a location that best fits your budget and lifestyle first is key. Colorado offers endless winter sporting opportunities across the state, but consider the following top cities, which vary in price, to purchase your real estate retreat.

Steamboat Springs

Buying a vacation condo in Steamboat Springs isn’t necessarily inexpensive, but won’t cost buyers millions, as compared to other opulent ski towns in Colorado. The average list price on homes for sale in Steamboat Springs was $790,008 for the first week of December. About two hours south sits the town of Breckenridge, where the average list price is slightly higher than Steamboat Springs at $903,204. Searching for condos in Breckenridge might be better suited for individuals with larger budgets and a desire for seclusion. The population in Breckenridge is just 4,648, compared to Steamboat Springs which has 12,100 residents as of 2013, according to the U.S. Census. Keep in mind, popular ski towns feel crowded during peak vacation and holiday seasons, and an abundance of visitors shifts the vibe severely.

Vail

Vail is one of the most popular destinations for skiing in the United States, and it’s lodging and mountain pass prices reflect its unparalleled popularity. According to Vail Daily, roughly 400,000 people purchased some sort of Vail Resorts’ pass in 2014 alone, totaling $200 million in revenue for the company. With so many vacationers flocking to Vail, the local real estate market is hot. List prices on homes for sale in Vail in early December were at an average of $2,867,488, pricing most house hunters out of the Vail market. If you’re looking for another upscale mountain town but can’t quite afford Vail, consider searching for condos in Avon, where the average list price is currently $1,566,184.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte is located in Gunnison County, a former coal mining town with a population of just 1,487. Crested Butte is only a 12-mile hike from Aspen via the famous West Maroon Pass, or alternatively, a 100-mile drive over the Elk Mountains. Although it’s located so close to Aspen, Crested Butte is much more affordable in terms of real estate. The average list price for homes in Aspen is $5,167,856, making it highly unaffordable for the typical buyer. On the other hand, the average listing price on homes and condos in Crested Butte is much lower at $534,386 – a more practical figure for the average American.

Dillon

Crave the Boulder lifestyle but can’t afford the price tag? Dillon is only an hour and a half drive southwest of Boulder, and is a great market for those searching for condos on a tighter budget. Plus, with Lake Dillon providing 26 miles of shoreline, the town offers boating and sailing in the summertime. The average listing price on Dillon homes for sale is currently $796,960, whereas the average list price on homes in Boulder is $1,115,019. Dillon is in close proximity to Copper Mountain, Keystone and Breckenridge to satisfy your snow sport needs in the wintertime, giving you the best of both worlds.

 

Once you’ve settled on a setting and closed on your condo, it’s time to deck out the interior of your new abode. Including warm accessories such as fur throws, knit pillows and nature-inspired décor mimics the atmosphere of a mountainside resort without compromising the aesthetic of the home. In fact, organic schemes mixed with clean, minimalist lines helps keep condos cozy but modern, so you achieve two looks simultaneously.

If you’re considering a remodel, or purchasing a contemporary home, incorporating rustic, lodge-like décor helps balance out rooms so interiors don’t feel overly cold or uninviting to guests and residents alike. And, since eclectic schemes mix many different styles, you’ll target a wide range of buyers in the future when it comes time to sell. You won’t have to worry about home staging or rearranging your current living situation to appeal to those interested in purchasing a ski condo in one of the aforementioned Colorado hot spots.

Hug a Snowmaker

Give a snowmaker a hug.  They’ve earned it!  Most people don’t realize what goes into getting our ski season underway.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always bring us the snow as early as we want it. Luckily, the snowmaking crews are there to save the day.  Not only do they get the mountains to open up early, but they also let the resorts stay open even later.  Think about it: assuming the resorts had enough natural snow to open by January, with as much traffic as the base areas see every year, we’d be walking around in the mud by March.  Instead, snowmakers make our season much longer than it would be naturally, enabling the resident ski bums to proudly say, “Yeah, I get over 100 days a season.”  The question is, though; how do the snowmakers make it all happen?

Honestly, it sounds super easy; just shoot water up into the air and then wait for the snow to fall, right?  However, as with most things that seem very simple, there is a certain degree of difficulty involved.  First off, everything revolves around the wet bulb.  I know it sounds like a made up thing, but it’s not; the wet bulb is the relationship between the ambient temperature and humidity.  Imagine being sprayed with water while standing outside in the winter; the wet bulb would be the temperature that your bare skin feels when exposed to the air.  This number, derived by some sort of mathematical trickery, lets the snowmaking crews know when to start making snow, but it also affects how they make the snow throughout the day and night.  Depending on what the wet-bulb temperature is, the crews adjust the air and water pressure accordingly.

Photo: Dustin Schaefer

Photo: Dustin Schaefer

You know when I asked you to imagine getting sprayed with water and standing outside in the cold?  Well, that is exactly what the snowmaking crews have to do in order to check the quality of snow.  The ratio of air and water has to be constantly adjusted, so one of the snowmakers has to stand under the plume of snow and make sure that it isn’t too wet or too dry.  If it’s too dry, the snow will blow away, and if it’s too wet, the snow will just melt off.  The snowmakers check the quality in a few ways, including analyzing how much snow builds up vs bounces off of their uniform, making snowballs and squeezing, and other various tricks.  So, if you’ve ever been on the lift and seen a snowmaker standing under the plume or vigorously squeezing snowballs, they’re not crazy.  They’re just trying to provide us all with a solid base layer of quality snow.

Most resorts have two 12-hour shifts running during peak snowmaking season in order to capitalize on the coldest temperatures.   When everything lines up just right, they are able to make snow 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   Think about that.  While you rest up before an early season ski day, snowmakers are out there in the middle of the night trying to lay down more giant piles of snow, all in an attempt to open more skiable terrain.

The amount of effort and science that goes into snowmaking is amazing, and considering what their hard work means for all of us, I’d say that we owe them…a lot!  So, rather than wasting time with tired old sayings like, ‘blown snow blows’ or complaints about the ‘ribbon of death’ and ‘landing strip’ we should all be grateful to these hardworking folks because the resorts are opening and the lifts are turning because of them.  Enjoy those early season turns for what they are, and make sure that your legs are ready for that first powder day.