This week some of the nation’s best skiers headed to their stomping grounds in Summit County real estate to celebrate the opening day of Arapahoe Basin ski slopes. Situated near Breckenridge homes, Keystone, and Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, or A-Basin for short, kicked off its 2012-13 ski season at 9 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Black Mountain Express lift opened for the occasion. After 12 days of snowmaking, the High Noon trail featured in 18-inch snow base. Designated as an intermediate trail, High Noon is a thousand feet long.

Approximately 2000 jubilant skaters celebrated the occasion. The first ski resort to open on any given year gets a lot of attention, especially since the dawn of social media. Skiers and snowboarders anticipate the first day and come out in large numbers. Monica Mendoza in the Colorado Springs Business Journal on October 17 spoke of the competitive race between resorts to claim opening-day. She quoted Melanie Mills, president and CEO of the Colorado Ski Country USA.

“There has been an infectious optimism about the ski season ahead.” There were strong sales of season passes over Labor Day weekend and lots of excitement about snow falling in the mountains.

On October 8, 2011, after a big snowstorm dropped 44 inches, Wolf Creek ski area was the first to open. In 2009 Loveland opened on October 7. The Colorado resorts are making snow and will be opening over the next several weeks, according to the Colorado Ski Country USA.

Not only is Arapahoe Basin the first Colorado ski resort to open but it is the first to open throughout the entire United States. Many of the resorts are able to use snowmaking equipment to get a head start on the season. Nonetheless, they require the cooperation of Mother Nature. Low temperatures and cool nights allowed Arapahoe Basin to keep the snow on the slopes this year.

Located at the base of the Continental Divide on Loveland Pass, Arapahoe Basin has long captured the hearts of the Front Range community. The website tells why: “The Legend isn’t any ordinary ski mountain; we earned our reputation from decades of pioneering and experience.” The ski area features 106 runs, above-timberline bowls, a summit elevation of 13,050 feet, and deep powder stashes formed from the annual 350 inches of snowfall. Skiers and riders from Colorado and all over the world have been fascinated since 1946 when 1200 skiers rode a tow-rope and a military transport truck.

Directions: Take I-70 west to Silverthorne (exit 205) and travel 12 miles east on U.S. Highway 6 or take I-70 west to Loveland Pass (exit 216) and go west on U.S. Highway 6 for 8 miles.

For information about buying ski homes or fractional real estate in Breckenridge or Summit County, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Hunting season began Saturday. Some hunters relocate to homes in Breckenridge, Silverthorne, or elsewhere in Summit County to be surrounded by the astounding autumn foliage, ready for another Colorado hunting season. Tens of thousands of hunters make their way to Colorado lodges and Summit County real estate in time for the annual hunting rituals.

One resident of a home in Summit County, Shannon Schwab brought our attention to hunting season in her special to the Summit Daily News on October 13, 2012. Also a wildlife officer and hunter, Schwab explained that nearly 250,000 hunters take part in the yearly tradition in Colorado.

“Another clear sign of the change of seasons is the site of excited men and women wearing camo clothing and blaze-orange hats and vests towing all-terrain vehicles behind 4 x 4 trucks – all signs that the major hunting seasons begin today.”

Hunting visitors to Summit County boost the economy during the period before skiers arrive. During October and November, they frequent our restaurants, hotels, and other stores. They load up on camping equipment and licenses. Hunters and anglers added $1.5 billion to the Colorado economy in 2007.

Many hire outfitters. Imagine a three-day or a five-day hunt fully equipped with a cook/Wrangler to care for the horses and cooking while you find the catch of a lifetime. For example, Gore Range Outfitters offers hunting trips in Summit County with private and public access to a half-million acres of the remote White River National Forest. The company offers deer, elk, mountain goat, and bighorn sheep hunting.

Other hunting grounds in the Arapahoe National Forest are habitat for elk, mule deer, moose, and other big-game. Stop Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Area in the Williams Fork Mountain Range is another world unto itself. It also features great trout fishing.

Shannon Schwab mentioned the benefit hunters have on wildlife habitat – the financial benefit. The hunting license fees fund activities of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The funds put fish in the Dillon Reservoir, trap and relocate bears, put radio collars on bighorn sheep, rescue injured raptors, and monitor lynx. The funds are also used to operate offices and to count diminishing wildlife species.

For information about buying fractional real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge property values continue to offer real estate investors and homebuyers a solid investment. After Vail Resorts purchased Breckenridge and Keystone ski resorts in 1996, the company expanded terrain and added ski lifts, and promoted the world-class resorts. Out of necessity, the company turned its ski resorts into year-round recreational havens.

Vail Resorts also invested in Breckenridge real estate developing luxurious ski-in/ski-out Breckenridge condominiums in One Ski Hill Place and the Ritz-Carlton in Vail. During 2012, the company sold seven units in One Ski Hill Place and 13 units in Ritz-Carlton Residence. In fiscal 2012, the company produced $47.92 million of real estate net revenue.

The ski business is dependent on snowfall and other economic factors. Last ski season set historical records for low snowfall. Colorado ski industries struggled during the 2011-12 ski season with a 12.1 percent drop in skier visitation. However, mountain revenues for Vail Resorts rose by 1.9 percent. The good news is due to the success of the creative business model.

The company has sold approximately 178,000 Epic Ski Passes after the third week of September 2012. This reflects an increase of 21 percent in sales dollars. The Epic Pass allows purchasers to ski in a variety of resorts including a half a dozen in Colorado, three in the Lake Tahoe area and three days of skiing in Switzerland. The company usually sells approximately 60 percent of the season passes by this time of the year.

On September 26, 2012, the Vail Daily News released exciting news about Vail Resorts earnings. “CEO Rob Katz says he was ‘pleased’ with the company’s overall performance both in the fourth quarter and in the fiscal year as a whole.” In fact, after the fourth quarter earnings release, stocks soared. The Vail Resorts stock posted a 52-week high of $59.46 last Tuesday. It closed up 8.23 percent at $57.07.

Before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, the company reported $205.3 million of earnings for fiscal 2012. Although it is down from the record-breaking year before, the earnings are encouraging considering the challenging weather.

For information about buying real estate, including fractional options, in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

One Ski Hill Place condos for sale

September’s Summit County Parade of Homes is always a great way to percolate ideas for building a mountain home on Breckenridge, Blue River, or Silverthorne Colorado real estate.  Sponsored by the Summit County Builders Association, the event showcases workmanship, design, and architecture.  Sixteen fabulous homes in Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dylan, Keystone, Frisco, and Copper Mountain are part of this year’s Parade of Homes.

The popular event began September 22, 23rd, and 29, 2012.  The final open houses for the self-directed tour are open tomorrow, September 30 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Tickets are $10 and include a subscription to Mountain Living Magazine.  Proceeds go to charities.

What are the trends for mountain home designs in 2012?  DCD Home says smaller, more casual homes in Colorado’s high country.  Smaller homes benefit from open floor plans which eliminate hallways and result in a spacious feeling.  That’s what architect Mark Hogan of BHH in Summit County told DCD Home in a blog dated August 20, 2012.

Homebuyers in Breckenridge, Blue River, Silverthorne and throughout Summit County can find simpler homes if necessary to build somewhere special in the Breckenridge real estate market.  Typically multi-level to sit on hillside lots, styles range from craftsman and traditional to modern, chalet to barn, and even berm houses.

Important design elements included in the new mountain homes today follow:

  • Gathering Spaces with oversized great rooms/kitchen/dining areas
  • Flex Space, possibly a guestroom doubling as an office
  • Home Positioning for maximum sunshine and best use
  • Mud rooms organized to store equipment and gear
  • High-end Kitchens suitable as the most popular room in the house and outdoor cooking areas for entertaining

To achieve the small footprint, some builders are combining the early 1900s arts and crafts styling with traditional mountain design.  The result complements the natural setting.  Inviting, functional home designs constructed in the beautiful settings of Summit County provide comfort and relaxation to enhance the well-being of residents and guests.

Hurry out to see the Parade Homes tomorrow and pocket some marvelous ideas for your very own place in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Summit County CO homes for sale

Dream of owning Breckenridge real estate? Do you yearn to return after staying in a beautiful Breckenridge condominium or rented a Breckenridge home during ski season? With the economy chugging along like a narrow-gauge train, some would-be Summit County homebuyers refuse to ditch their long-term goals of bringing families and friends together in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

One of the best ways to gather family members from around the nation in one place for vacation is to pick a central recreational playground in Colorado. Another effective way to encourage those family gatherings is to return year after year, season after season to a home in Breckenridge, Keystone, or the surrounding area. Establish a tradition.

You may say, “Things are tighter today.” We say, “How about a few ideas to help you move forward to make it happen?” Ask yourself how many amenities you would like to have available. Do you want to be steps from the ski lifts, on the golf course, or on an equestrian-zone ranch?

Investing in the Breckenridge fractional at Grand Lodge on Peak 7 is one of the most cost-effective ways to vacation in a sophisticated Breckenridge condominium village on the ski slopes. Grand Lodge on Peak 7 features fractional ownership whereby you purchase a deeded share of the property for only the time you intend to use it. The Summit County real estate can be acquired at a fraction of the cost of the entire property. Operating costs are lower and you need not deal with rental tenants. In addition, this fractional ownership allows the flexibility to stay in other top-quality resorts.

These fabulous homes in Grand Lodge on Peak 7 offer modern mountain comfort, luxury from top to bottom and inside out with resort-style amenities. They are conveniently located along the BreckConnect gondola to Main Street and steps from the Independence SuperChair at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 7.

Another way to cut costs for real estate in Colorado is to build your own home. Savvy buyers today are connecting with builders and discovering the beauty of paring down a Colorado dream home to fit into either a second-home or retirement budget. Purchasing property a few miles from the heart of the resorts, buyers can reduce the cost immensely. Design a cabin in the woods or a chalet on the hillside – even a home that can be built in phases.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge CO homes for sale

The Summit County and Breckenridge real estate markets often reflect the economies along the Front Range cities—Fort Collins to Denver, Colorado Springs to Pueblo. Overall, these Front Range areas have been struggling to keep prices from declining as foreclosures have entered the market.

True to its character, the Colorado housing market is riding the rapids of the economic rivers. As national prices go up and down, Colorado sits on the other end of the seesaw. At times prices have gone down in Denver when other parts of the country experienced the opposite.

Where there is a will, there is a way. According to an article on September 28, 2012 entitled “Building Trends: Start with a budget, and with a smile,” the credit squeeze has clients looking for financially feasible solutions. The article says that clients are reversing the home building process. Instead of starting with a realtor to purchase land, they are starting with a builder, creating a budget and then finding land and an architect. In essence, find a way to enjoy the ride.

Hopefully, Denver real estate sales will lead other Colorado cities into a recovery. Denver sales have been going up for lower-priced properties – a step in the right direction. Another segment of the Denver market experiencing recovery are homes priced over $1 million. These buyers are also interested in Breckenridge homes, and Silverthorne or Keystone real estate for vacation properties. As businesses improve, employers hire. Then more buyers are confident getting into the Denver market or vacation homes in Summit County real estate.

Referring to Summit County land sales, Chuck Leathers reported in the Summit Daily News (09/28/12), “Prices are up by about $100,000 over last year to date. There have been just as many sales for over $1 million to date as last year.” The highest priced parcel in 2012 was development land at the Shores in Breckenridge. It sold for $2.55 million.

Buyers/investors take note: Experts at are forecasting improvements in Colorado home prices during 2013, including Denver-Aurora-Bloomfield area at 1.6 percent, Boulder at 5.3 percent, Colorado Springs at 9.6 percent, Fort Collins at 7.3 percent, and Pueblo at 5.9 percent. Following the Front Range, the high country market anticipates steady improvements in the real estate market.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Summit County land for sale

Investing in fractional Breckenridge Colorado real estate makes a lot of sense for vacation homebuyers. The benefits are so compelling that an increasing number of those inquiring about Breckenridge homes are asking about the options for fractional properties.

Grand Lodge at Peak 7 is one example of successful Breckenridge CO real estate that is sold turnkey in a fractional arrangement. The developer set up the legal structure, outfitted the property and manages the usage. Fractional real estate allows a buyer to purchase a share in a vacation home – in this instance,a unit in the Grand Lodge at Peak 7 – for only the time that they will use. The arrangement offers high quality, excellent maintenance and organization, and a much lower acquisition cost and the purchase of a whole property.

Fractional real estate in Breckenridge Colorado is also an excellent option for buyers who desire to vacation in several areas. This investor could purchase a property in say Florida, Arizona, or California as well as Summit County real estate. These various real estate markets allow for some diversification in the portfolio.

Instead of being responsible for the entire year of property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance, the multiple owners of each unit share ongoing operating costs. They share the cost of maintaining and replacing furnishings and household goods. The contract for fractional property generally includes regular contributions for future maintenance. This is better than private ownership in that the funding is built ahead of any emergency maintenance necessities.

The fractional arrangement eliminates the costly property management services required by vacation homeowners who desire to rent out their properties during the times of the year that they will not be in the home. Likewise, fractional ownership eliminates the need to produce income from renters. Fractional owner does not need to market the property check-in tenants, etc.

So let’s get down to brass tacks. How can a buyer assess what’s more cost effective? Is a fractional arrangement was expensive for vacation properties or will the whole house turnout cheaper in the long run?

It is probably simplistic but easier to calculate the cost per night per square foot. If usage is allocated as a number of weeks or days, calculate by determining the annual cost of ownership and divided by the annual allotment of nights. Then divide the cost per night with the square footage of the property. Other factors to keep in mind are the amenities included in the purchase price, the amenities desired by the investor, and the cost of additional amenities.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

A Breckenridge Colorado new home search today unveils a variety of new developments including single-family homes and Breckenridge duplexes and condominiums for sale.  Buyers searching through the Breckenridge MLS new Summit County properties will find a couple dozen options in a variety of locations. also features new Breckenridge fractional real estate in the Grand Lodge at Peak 7.

Prices range from just under $400,000 for a single-family new Breckenridge home in the charming Wellington subdivision to a fabulous ski-in/ski-out, five-bedroom spread on an acre adjacent to the Cucumber Creek Wetlands at Shock Hill.  The asking price for this distinguished Breckenridge home for sale is $5,435,000.

The flexible Breckenridge real estate market is blossoming with a broad range of other options.  In the price range under $1 million,just south of Breckenridge are two Blue River Colorado homes with private fishing.  There area lso two new duplex residences on the shores of the Blue River surrounded by open space and close to golf.  The new Columbia Lode Townhouse is within walking distance to the gondolas and restaurants on Main Street.

In addition, new real estate in Breckenridge includes two small condominiums ski-in/ski-out at One Ski Hill Place for $595,000 and $650,000.  Another exceptional property is located in Vics Landing.  It is a fine three-bedroom duplex- style condominium with a garage and workshop.

Several exclusive single-family homes on half-acre or full-acre lots near the ski lifts and Nordic trails nestle into the forests.  Prices range from $1 million to $3.5 million for these gems.A 4300 square-foot home surrounded by private open space is only three minutes from the Shock Hill mid-station.  Another extraordinary home adjoins Carter Park and there is still time to personalize a 4700 square foot home on over an acre in Gold Flake Subdivision.  In Gold King Placer, a 4750 square-foot home features over 10 acres with views of the national forest and ski areas.  The MLS lists a Smart House with exquisite finishes going in at the Cottages at Shock Hill.

A custom home on 10 acres in Western Sky Ranch is available turnkey.  Golfers may seek one of several new single-family homes at Breckenridge Golf Course.  There are also some new 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units in One Ski Hill Place and single-family homes in Corkscrew Flats and Crescent Subdivision.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Homes in Breckenridge Colorado are increasingly sought for year-round vacations – not just ski real estate. September 2012 pastimes in the great outdoors of real estate in Summit County include pumping up and soaring down the mountainside on a bicycle, catching big, fat fish, and enjoying the sunshine at Peak 8 Fun Park.

Consider Breckenridge CO real estate or a Breckenridge fractional at Grand Lodge on Peak 7 to help your family played together in the Colorado Rocky Mountains anytime of the year. The quaint mountain village features exclusive ski in ski out homes, Breckenridge condominiums within walking distance to Main Street, Breckenridge homes on golf courses, and Blue River CO horse properties.

Breckenridge CO Real EstateBreckenridge mountain bikers choose from a dozen trails on the resort or head out to hiking trails and mountain roads. Most resort trails are rated Blue or Black. A sampling of the trails include Swinger, a 3.4 mile trail on Peak 8 with both singletrack and mountain roads. Klinko Falls trail connects between Peak 7 and Peak 8. Edge Trail is a 0.4 mile singletrack on steep terrain with great views of the valley. Lehman Trail extends 3.2 miles of rolling cross country leading to the village at the base of Peak 9. Sawmill Creek follows the valley between Peak 8 and peak 9. It is 1.7 miles. For a steep singletrack, take Prospector Trail to the base of Peak 9.

Black trails include Game Trail with seven different bridges on singletrack, Dwight’s with banked corners and berms, Frosty’s Challenge with steep terrain leading to the Lehman Trail, and Wagon Trail, a 9-mile trail over steep and rocky terrain.

Breck Fun Park on Peak 8 is open one more weekend, September 14-16 and prices are slashed. Enjoy an all-day ticket with lots of fun activities for kids. There is the Gold Runner Coaster, Super Slide, Super Putt, Colorado Super Chair, Mineshaft Maze, Super Bungee Trampoline, Mountain By Park, Rockpile Climbing Wall, Pony Rides, and up Bounce House, and much more.

Let’s talk catching rainbow trout on the Blue River. During the fall, the cooler temperatures reduce the number of insects available as food sources for fish. Anglers wade into cooler waters with fewer crowds and more hungry fish. When the temperatures are high, fish are more lethargic and/or they hide themselves from the fishers.

During the fall, fish are eating familiar bugs so anglers simply need to make their insects behave like a real one to get a bite. Fishing is better earlier in the day, before the water temperatures get to the high 60s. Patience is still required, but it feels mighty good to be out fishing in the pristine natural habitat. Trout have grown longer and wider by now.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Residents of Summit County Colorado homes meet at Main Street Frisco for the File Fast tomorrow, September 8, 2012. The inaugural Fun Fast is a fun filled day for residents of homes in Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon and Breckenridge real estate. The free event begins at 8:30 AM and ends at 6:00 PM Saturday.

The annual Autumn Spectacular celebration in Downtown Frisco begins tomorrow and extends through September 23.Leaf-peeping season begins as “the first Aspen changing into their fall medley of pale greens, yellows, oranges and reds,” according to Erica Marciniec today in the Summit Daily News. There will be leaf-peeping hikes and other activities ending with a fireworks and music on September 22.

On Saturday, the day begins with the Mount Royal Hill Climb. At the 10,500-foot summit of Mount Royal, the winners of the five-kilometer race will be declared King or Queen of the mountain. This event gets people up into the mountains to experience the changing leaves, vibrant colors, and sounds of nature. It also challenges runners to improve skills necessary to compete in higher elevations.

Lumber sports or another exciting and unique event of the day. Frisco welcomes Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills: “Chics with Axes.” There will be three shows tomorrow, 11:15 AM, 1:15 PM, and 4:30 PM. A series of challenges will be presented to the competing lumber Jill’s. There will be logrolling, cross-cut sawing, and axe throwing, and underhand chopping events. Competitions stemmed from the Lumberjack World Championships which now feature a women’s division. However, the show is lots of fun and quite comical.

Mountain Majesty Chorus will be strolling Main Street singing a cappella.The bluegrass music begins at 2:30 PM as Mountain Standard Time takes the stage. Leading with guitar and mandolin, the band fuses bluegrass into a full-band sound with keyboards, electric bass, drums, and electronic effects, according to the article In the Summit Daily News today.

Amateur and professional firefighter teams will compete in the Fireman Games. Participants dress in actual firefighting gear, unroll a fire hose, connected to the engine, turn on the water, and fire at a target. Each participant will receive the help of an actual firefighter. Register at

The following events offer residents a fun way to get together, experience historic Frisco, and enjoy our beautiful Rocky Mountain environment.

For information about buying real estate in our mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

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