U.S. News and World Report named Breckenridge the 15th best small town to visit in the county. The Best Vacation Destinations rankings were released Tuesday.
Breckenridge joined Colorado towns Telluride (No. 1) and Steamboat Springs (No. 8) on the list. Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe rounded out the top three.
U.S. News ranked the towns after compiling travelers’ opinions and expert and editor analysis, according to a news release. Each destination was scored in 10 categories, including sights, culture, food, nightlife, adventure, romance and more.
Breckenridge’s beloved trail troll, Isak Heartstone, is ready to receive visitors at his new home.
The 15-foot tall wooden sculpture reopens to the public Tuesday after closing in fall 2018 when nearby residents complained about too much traffic and noise from thousands of visitors.
“Its popularity was beyond all exceptions,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said. “That’s why we felt it was important to bring it back.”
After it was dismantled, artist Thomas Dambo reimagined the troll — using its original head, heart, hands and feet — and rebuilt it in May in a new location near the Stephen C. West Ice Arena and Illinois Gulch trailhead.
A ribbon cutting is at 2:30 p.m. at Trollstigen trailhead. Visitors are encouraged to take the bus or walk 15 minutes from the Breckenridge Welcome Center to reduce traffic at the site.The celebration is the culmination of months of planning by a relocation committee and trail work by the town’s open space and trails department.
“We put together a community committee … to find a new location for the troll to bring him back in some reimagined form,” Breckenridge Open Space and Trails manager Anne Murphy said.
The committee — which was composed of Breckenridge residents, town council members and town employees — worked to find a location that was accessible and adventurous, offered an outdoor experience for visitors and could sustain a high amount traffic. The committee also searched for a site that had parking and no residential areas nearby.
The new site “checked all the boxes for us,” Holman said.
The new directional Trollstigen trail — which was built by a six-person team from the trails department along with a local contractor — features a rock-lined path, 200 feet of wooden boardwalk and a flagstone area in front of the troll for photos and selfies, Murphy said.
We decided this trail has to sustain a lot of foot traffic for a very long time to come,” Murphy said.
She said the town hopes to keep Isak for as long as possible, planning for a 10-year timeframe.
Holman described the new viewing area as “unbelievable,” saying town staff went above and beyond in creating Isak’s new home.
“I don’t think anyone ever dreamed it would be as popular as it was,” he said.
Lower Mortgage rates are proving to be a boon for home shoppers this summer. The 30-year fixed-rate loan has stayed near a 3.8% average for the third consecutive week, after consistent declines in late spring.
“While the continued drop in mortgage rates has paused, home buyer demand has not,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This is evident in increased purchase activity and loan amounts, indicating that home buyers still have the willingness and capacity to purchase homes. Today’s low rates, strong job market, solid wage growth, and consumer confidence are typically important drivers of home sales.”
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending June 20:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.84%, with an average 0.5 point, up from last week’s 3.82% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.57%.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.25%, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.26% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.04%.
5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.48%, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.51% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.83%. Source:
Contact the Summit County Animal Shelter at 970-668-3230.
LEND A HAND
Darth, the cat, has not found a home and his foster dad is going away for three weeks. The animal shelter is looking for someone, without dogs, to help for three weeks only. Hopefully we’ll still find his forever home soon!
Marley, the dog, is at Boulder Humane Society and needs a ride to the Summit County Animal Shelter. To help with either animal please contact the animal shelter directly.
CATS MISSY, 8 years, domestic mediumhair, tortie, spayed female
LARRY, 3 years, domestic longhair, orange and white, neutered male
FRANKLIN, 4 years, domestic shorthair, black and white, neutered male
MISS KITTY, 7 years, Norwegian forest cat, tortie and apricot, spayed female
CATALONIA, 7 years, domestic shorthair mix, white and gray, spayed female
PENELOPE, 2 years, domestic shorthair, gray tabby, spayed female
MR BISCUIT, 7 years, domestic shorthair, gray tabby and black tiger, neutered male
BINX, 10 months, domestic shorthair, black, neutered male
POOFY, 10 years, domestic mediumhair, gray, neutered male
LEO, 5 years, domestic longhair, orange tabby, neutered male
DEXTER, 5 years, domestic mediumhair, black and white, neutered male
TANK, 1 year 6 months, domestic shorthair, black and white, neutered male
TYLER, 10 months, domestic shorthair, gray tabby and white, neutered male
BOBO, 6 years, domestic mediumhair, dil calico, spayed female
GINGER, 10 weeks, domestic mediumhair, orange and white, spayed female
LADY, 5 years, German shepherd dog, black and tan, spayed female
ZENA, 5 years, Labrador retriever, chocolate, spayed female
To people who don’t live near the mountains, that might seem extraordinary. For those of us who do live at high elevation, summer snow is still a bit of a novelty, especially following a bone-dry, hot and fiery 2018.
But this year, mud season has supplanted wildfire season in June, with flooding a much more real concern as runoff hit its peak this week.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook and winter weather advisory for Summit County and much of the central Rockies from Friday night through Sunday morning. The outlook calls for periods of snow that will pose hazards to travel and outdoor activities as a high pressure zone sits above the Rockies through the weekend.
On Friday, the longest day of the year, scattered thunderstorms will move through the area with a 70% chance of precipitation. A low of 33–36 degrees overnight means real snow is not expected to fall below 10,000 feet, but there may be periods of flurries overnight, with little if any snow expected to stick by Saturday morning.
The storm system will move through the High Country on Saturday, with cold showers falling throughout the day into night. Snow may be seen in areas above 10,000 feet, with up to 10 inches projected for some areas.
However, for most of Summit, the white stuff should not be seen until temperatures start dropping in the evening. Daytime temperatures will bottom out in the 40s, meaning there should not be any significant snow accumulation below timberline.
Hazardous conditions will still exist on the roads, meaning anyone hoping to get another weekend of turns in at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is advised to plan ahead and be wary of slippery conditions and low visibility.
Showers will persist through Saturday into the night, when things should get interesting. A low in the high 20s or low 30s means some snowfall is likely, with about half an inch expected to fall by Sunday morning. Winds may be strong at times, and travelers are urged to exercise caution making their way through the I-70 corridor.
Snow will taper off and turn into showers for the rest of Sunday, with a chance of thunderstorms through the day. Don’t expect bluebird conditions, but there may be periods of sun blinking through the clouds in the late morning and afternoon. For the most part, though, the weekend will end cool and wet, consistent with conditions over the past month.
And that’s where the good news finally comes in. As the storm system moves out of the area, moisture isn’t expected to come back for at least a few days. That means Monday through Thursday is expected to be dry, sunny and absolutely perfect for summer activities in the High Country.
Meanwhile, Summit’s waterways have just about crested from the spring runoff, and flooding may have been narrowly avoided this season. Streamflows peaked Thursday and started dipping Friday in Tenmile Creek and the Snake River, two streams that appeared on the cusp of forcing community action to shore up the banks and roll out flood mitigation measures.
As far as standing bodies of water, Dillon Reservoir is right on track to get full by the 4thof July. The reservoir, currently at 90% capacity, has an inflow of 2,255 cubic feet per second of water with 919 cfs draining back into the Blue River. At an elevation of 9,008 feet, there’s less than 9 feet to go before the reservoir is full and both marinas in Dillon and Frisco launch boating season.
With Arapahoe Basin extending its season into the last weekend of June and possibly into the 4thof July, Summit County will be experiencing the best of both seasons by the time America celebrates its 243rdbirthday. Residents should finally be able to say goodbye to this long winter and embrace a great summer after the storms pass this weekend.
Home improvement spending continues to trend upward, with the latest data from Harvard’sJoint Center for Housing Studiesputting the aggregate total at a new high of $424 billion.
That’s up 10% from 2015 and a whopping 50% from 2010’s low.
The home improvement sector can thank the Baby Boomers for that.
According to thereport, older homeowners are spending big on home renovations. Not only does this demographic have a high rate of homeownership, they also have the resources to pay for renovations, the study said.
“Homeowners age 55 and over have dominated the home remodeling market for nearly a decade, overtaking middle-aged owners as the primary source of home improvement spending,” the report notes. “Older homeowners are living longer and are increasingly willing and able to spend for home improvements that allow them to remain safely in their current homes.”
In fact, spending among older owners grew more than 150% to $117 billion in the last two years, the report noted, fueled by an increase in the number of older owners and an uptick in the amount they’re spending to improve their homes.
That means that households age 55 and over accounted for half of all home improvement spending nationwide.
And, the researchers said they don’t expect this trend to slow down anytime soon.
“As members of the Baby Boom generation age into their 70s and 80s, investments in home modifications to improve accessibility are expected to soar,” they wrote.
How are they financing these renovations?
Cash from savings remains the most common source of financing, followed by home equity loans, lines of credit and cash-out refinancing.
The researchers note homeowners are more likely to tap into their home equity to finance costlier projects, and when equity is tapped, they often end up spending more.
“Offering homeowners additional financing options could be a promising growth opportunity for the remodeling industry,” the study states. “Owners’ heavy reliance on cash savings to fund improvement projects limits the amount they are able to spend.”
“As a result, expanding the types and availability of new financing alternatives – especially those tied to home equity – would likely lead to significantly stronger growth in improvement expenditures while at the same time help preserve and modernize the nation’s housing stock,” they conclude.
In a rare show of unity, Democrats and Republicans on theFinancial Services Committeeof theU.S. House of Representativesvoted unanimously to pass a five-year extension to the National Flood Insurance Program that includes a mandate to improve the nation’s flood maps.
The bill provides $500 million a year over five years for updating maps and modernizing technology to identify high-risk zones. It also includes a “continuous coverage” provision that allows borrowers who leave the program to try private flood insurance to return without paying a penalty. That measure is aimed at encouraging the growth of the nascent private market for flood insurance.
Congress has passed a dozen short-termextensionssince 2017 as it wrangled over reforming the program that protects over 5 million U.S. homes. About 40,000 U.S. property sales a month would be nixed if NFIP coverage wasn’t available, because most mortgages require homes located in high-risk flood areas to be protected, according to theNational Association of Realtors.
“This haphazard approach to legislating puts communities at risk and undermines the health of our housing market,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee,saidon June 5 shortly after a two-week reprieve turned into a four-month extension.
The reform bill with the five-year extension now goes to the full House and must also be approved by the Senate.
It lacks key provisions Waters has long supported, such as a second round of debt forgiveness for costs stemming from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Every year the NFIP pays $400 million in interest “to service a debt it can never repay,” Waters has said.
Another divisive issue that wasn’t addressed in the new bill is repetitive losses: homes that are repeatedly damaged by water and rebuilt with taxpayers’ dollars. Those properties have accounted for about a quarter of the program’s losses.
While the new bill is likely to pass the Democrat-controlled House, its fate in the Senate is uncertain. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, has said it doesn’t go far enough in cutting costs for homeowners.
The bill “lacks reforms needed to ensure the program is sustainable and that families won’t be hit with drastic premium increases,” Cassidy said in a statement.