Real Estate 101

East of Aspen

Quiet serenity is a hallmark of the neighborhood on the Independence Pass side of town.

By Carolyn Sackariason June 1, 2018 Published in the Summer 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Where the Roaring Fork Valley starts to narrow and climb toward Independence Pass, you’ll find a collage of distinctive neighborhoods that give residents a sense of seclusion within minutes of downtown. Thanks in part to the 245-acre North Star Nature Preserve and adjacent open space, the corridor along two-lane Highway 82 offers a stillness and peacefulness that’s difficult to find elsewhere. From late October or early November through the Thursday before Memorial Day, when the unplowed road up the pass is closed, the area also serves as the valley’s cul-de-sac.

Whether in sprawling manses that rise up from the valley floor near the nature preserve or those in the Mountain Valley and Knollwood subdivisions, accessed via steep, winding roads, residents feel like they’ve found their secret Shangri-La.

The real estate market here has been a solid performer as buyers push out from downtown, according to Andrew Ernemann, a broker for Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty.

Last year’s 20 single-family home sales ranged from $2 million to $10 million. At least a third of those involved brand-new homes, while half were for older properties, providing more value compared to the West End or downtown.

Darcy Weissenborn bought her home on Riverside Drive, about a mile from town, 20 years ago. “It just checked all the boxes,” she says. “It’s quiet, it’s still close to City Market, there’s no traffic. And it’s heavily wooded—I live in an aspen grove.”

The semi-rural area is not without amenities, either. A free, on-demand shuttle service to and from downtown serves the populated areas, and the 3.1-mile East of Aspen Trail routes cyclists and pedestrians along a scenic flat grade bordering the Roaring Fork River. Stand-up paddleboarders and tubers float the Stillwater section of the river in summer (accompanied by increased city oversight of parking and access points); in winter, Nordic skiers glide through the nature preserve. And when the Aspen Club eventually reopens after a stalled redevelopment project, state-of-the-art fitness and spa facilities will be close at hand.


Number of active listings at press time: 32

Active average home price:
$6.8 million

Number of homes sold in 2017: 24

Average price of homes sold in 2017:
$4.35 million

Average number of days on the market: 282


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