By Allen Best
High-end real estate recovering
CANMORE, Alberta – Real estate sales seem to be picking up in ski towns.
In Canada, developers of the resort called Three Sisters Living report stronger buyer interest, according to the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
“We probably had more traffic than in the last three years. Things are picking up in the industry,” said Mike Butt, general manager of the Swan Group, one of the four building groups helping build the 200 housing units now planned.
In Colorado, the Vail area had a very strong January — with the most sales since January 2008. As before, the high end is propping up the average sale price of $1.2 million. Trevor Theelke, of Land Title Guarantee, reported several top-of-shelf sales prices: one house in Vail that sold for $13 million, and another at Beaver Creek that sold for $11 million. But sales activity has also been vigorous in the down-valley communities, home of the carpenters and electricians that built the mansions.
Vail Resorts, the ski and real estate company, also reported improving markets for luxury real estate at both Vail and Breckenridge.
“The feel is pretty good in both markets,” said Jeff Jones, the co-president of Vail Resorts, in a quarterly earning conference call covered by the Vail Daily. “That speaks well to the luxury component coming back.”
Still, the company is in no hurry to begin pouring footers for its next big project, a $1 billion affair in Vail in gestation for the last decade. It’s called Ever Vail, and because of the recession, it may be forever before it’s ready for market. It is still seeking entitlements from town authorities but with no sense of urgency.
Grand Traverse aims to grow
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The Grand Traverse, a 40-mile race that starts just before midnight in Crested Butte and finishes 8 to 16 hours later in Aspen, surely is one of the epic adventures of the West. And now, organizers hope to expand it — just a bit.
It was first held in 1998, based on the routes used by mail carriers to link Crested Butte and Aspen during the 1880s, before they were linked by railroads.
Typically, 200 racers compete, skiing to more than 12,000 feet in elevation before descending through the Aspen Ski Area. The two-person teams usually take 8 to 16 hours. Total elevation gain is 7,800 feet.
“This was an unbelievable event 10 or 15 years ago, but now there are more events around the U.S. that are like it. There are more athletes interested in this kind of race, and there’s an opportunity to get onto the stage,” co-director Julene Szuba told the Crested Butte News.
So far, there have been no major accidents, although a team one year got off course and had to spend the night in a cabin.
This year, organizers have reached out, hoping to draw more people to Crested Butte. The event will begin at 11 p.m. on March 30. There are 150 two-person teams.
Telluride to add festival?
TELLURIDE, Colo. – Telluride’s summer festival calendar is getting filled out. In mid-August, it will be a stop on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which this year starts in Durango and ends in Denver. Two weeks later it will have, as it always does, half of the nation’s film critics in town for the annual Telluride Film Festival.
Between the two now comes the potential for another music festival at the town park. The venue can accommodate a maximum of 9,000 people, as it did two summers ago when Phish played Telluride for a two-night stand. Event organizers promise to set aside 2,000 tickets for local residents, reports the Telluride Daily Planet.
Short-term rentals a problem
TELLURIDE, Colo. – At least in some eyes, the practice of short-term rentals in single-family homes is getting to be a problem in unincorporated areas around Telluride.
The planning department of San Miguel County has recommended an amendment to the land-use code to prohibit short-term rentals. Mike Rozycki, the county planning director, said that if the commissioners adopt the amendment, county officials won’t be tracking websites to see who’s trying to rent out their house. “We’ll enforce only when we get a complaint on a rental that changes the character of the neighborhood,” he told the Daily Planet.