Real Estate 101

Snowmass Village

A world apart with a strong local feel

By Carolyn Sackariason June 4, 2018 Published in the Summer 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner

A free concert on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village

Eight miles southwest of Aspen, Snowmass Village is a completely different world. Despite having the largest and most diverse of the area’s four ski mountains—which celebrated its 50th anniversary last winter—the town has a decidedly more relaxed pace than its glamorous neighbor. After springing up on former ranchland after the ski area was established in 1967, the village itself incorporated in 1977.

Most of the commercial venues, concentrated on the slopeside Snowmass Mall and Base Village, serve visitors and, accordingly, close down during spring and fall off-seasons. But a supermarket, restaurants, and a handful of other shops at the Snowmass Center serve locals all year. The Snowmass Recreation Center, with two year-round outdoor saline pools, a climbing wall, tennis courts, and fitness facilities, also serves as a community hub.

Neighborhoods are a mixed bag: a robust inventory of town-subsidized employee housing for locals; thousands of townhomes and condos, many slopeside; and posh estates in areas like the Divide, the Pines, and Two Creeks that primarily draw part-time residents. But largely, the village has a strong local feel. Single-family homes priced under $1.5 million have attracted a surge of young families in the past few years.

“While it is still bustling during season, I find Snowmass a perfect escape from the crowds,” says Maggi Whitmer Thompson, who lives in the Melton Ranch neighborhood with her husband, their 17-month-old daughter, and a golden retriever. “The beauty is indescribable. Quite possibly the best part of my day is driving home on Owl Creek Road with Mount Daly in the backdrop. The view never gets old.”

Greg Rulon, a broker for Douglas Elliman who specializes in Snowmass Village, says that with real estate prices at least 30 percent lower than in Aspen, the value can’t be beat. It’s the main driver for people between the ages of 35 and 50 buying here, including locals who move from elsewhere in the valley. Horse Ranch, Sinclair Meadows, Melton Ranch, Wildridge, and Wild Oak are the primary neighborhoods for entry-level, single-family price points, as well as higher-priced “big view” homes that continue to hold steady. Then there’s Brush Creek Village, a hillside enclave at the highway turnoff to Snowmass Village. It’s largely a neighborhood of established locals who got into the market long ago.

Summer activity in Snowmass Village is on an uptick, thanks to an ever-expanding on-mountain bike park; the brand-new Lost Forest, which includes a canopy tour, mountain coaster, ropes course, and climbing wall; and a growing slate of weekend festivals and events. Add in 34.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, a free bus system, and the popular Thursday evening free summer concert series, and it’s no wonder people are flocking here.

Longtime resident Kathy McGowan has lived in Snowmass Village since the 1980s. For the past 15 years, she’s owned a duplex off Faraway Road. “I can get more for my money here,” she says. “And everything is out your back door, literally.”

The real estate market here has taken longer to rebound since the recession, and Base Village construction, stalled for eight years, didn’t boost confidence. But now that development has restarted under new leadership, brokers are seeing renewed interest. A new Limelight Hotel, including 11 residences and the private Snowmass Mountain Club, and high-end units at the Lumin should be completed this fall, while luxury condos at the new One Snowmass will debut in fall 2019. “Snowmass is bouncing back, and people are feeling good out here,” Rulon notes.


(second set of numbers is for Brush Creek Village)

Number of active listings at press time: 276/6

Active average home price:
$2.8 million/
$1.1 million

Number of homes sold in 2017: 141/5

Average price of homes sold in 2017:
$1.6 million/$1.75 million

Average number of days on the market: 370/146

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