Friday, February 23, 2018

Alterra reveals cost of new Ikon Pass, which includes unlimited access to Copper Mountain

Summit Daily Photo

Summit Daily Link

Steamboat Ski Area parent company Alterra revealed Thursday the price of the company's highly anticipated Ikon Pass will be $899. The pass is expected to go on sale Tuesday, March 6.
At that price, skiers will gain unlimited access to Steamboat Resort, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort and June Mountain in California; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia; and Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario.
The pass will also offer seven days each at Deer Valley Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Killington Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Sugarbush Resort and a combined seven days that could be split between the four Aspen Snowmass resorts, AltaSnowbird in Utah, SkiBig3 in Canada and Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Loon Mountain in New England.
Discounted child passes — 12 and younger — will be offered for $199 with the purchase of an Ikon Pass through April 9.
A $599 version of the Ikon Base Pass will also be available, offering unlimited access to Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (holiday restrictions), Big Bear Mountain Resort, June Mountain, Tremblant, Blue Mountain and Snowshoe Mountain.
That pass will also offer five days each at (with holiday restrictions) at Steamboat, Mammoth Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Stratton, Killington Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Sugarbush Resort, and five days total between AspenSnowmass, AltaSnowbird, SkiBig3 and the New England mountains.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Summit’s most expensive house in January tops $3 million

#Summit County #Colorado
Eli Pace / |A luxury home at
53 Boulder Ridge Drive in Breckenridge is shown
here on Wednesday. The house sold last month
 for $3.17 million, making it Summit County’s
 most expensive real estate transaction in January.

Summit Daily Link

The New Year picked up where 2017 left off with historically low inventory continuing to drive up prices and push down the average time a home spends on the market in Summit County.
Offering his advice, Jeff Moore, vice president of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said local sellers should refrain from "overshooting the market," even though it's a great time to sell a property.
At the same time, he hopes buyers aren't being scared away because Summit's real estate remains "a great investment."
"For whatever reason, the first quarter over the last three years has proven to be a very strong quarter for sure," Moore said of January's numbers, explaining that what's typically been the slowest time of the year for housing sales in Summit County has certainly picked up compared to previous years.
“Summit County is still an absolute value when it comes to mountain properties in resort markets. ... It’s a piece of paradise that everyone wants.”Jeff MooreVP of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate
According to the most recent figures provided by the company, the total volume of residential real estate transactions ($79 million), the number of land transactions (22), the average sale price ($750,772) and the average price per square foot ($449) all hit their highest levels for a January in Summit County since at least 2009.
Because the housing market fluctuates dramatically from one season to the next, especially in Colorado's High Country, it's best to look at the same months in different years to get keep tabs on what's happening locally.
Furthermore, the average number of days a home spent on the market was down 39 percent last month at 47 days, which is less than one-quarter what it was between 2011-2014, when the average home spent more than 200 days on the market.
"Of course, what drives the market is supply and demand," Moore said, echoing previous statements from other industry experts. "It's economics 101, and that's exactly what Summit is experiencing at this time."
With 23 years of experience selling real estate in Summit, Moore said the 313 residential properties and 162 vacant land properties currently up for sale put the inventory at a 10-year low.
Furthermore, he's seeing homes priced under $700,000 — whether they're single-family residences, townhomes or duplexes — come off the market quick.
"Buyers in the market place have less to select from, and you're seeing that bear out," he said, noting that the inventory for homes under $700,000 is "very, very low" at only 131 properties.
That can make finding the right house tough for a buyer, Moore cautioned. However, he thinks people looking to purchase should realize that owning a home in Summit County remains a strong investment, both financially and from a standpoint of personal enjoyment.
Also, baby boomers continue to play a major role in the real estate market here, Moore said. But he's also noticing the emergence of Generation X, as individuals age 37 to 49 are starting to buy up second homes with the intent that, perhaps down the road, they could become retirement properties.
"That's what's being born out of all that Denver growth," he said. "There's just remarkable wealth coming out of the Front Range, and these buyers are well-paid professionals who want to buy into the mountain communities."
According to LIV Sotheby's International Realty, another local real estate firm that's based in Breckenridge, they've analyzed a number of resort markets across multiple Western states — including Vail Valley, Breckenridge, Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs in Colorado, Park City, Utah, and resorts in California, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
All of those saw increases in the average price and average price per square foot of a home, according to LIV Sotheby's latest resort report.
The report explains it as "a clear indicator of consumers' continued desire for lifestyle-inspired home purchases and willingness to spend more for homes they truly desire."
Moore doesn't disagree, but he thinks Summit offers something most other resort locations don't.
"What's interesting to me is even through we're seeing these numbers, if you look across ski areas statewide, Summit County is still an absolute value when it comes to mountain properties in resort markets," he said. "It's a piece of paradise that everyone wants, and we're only an hour to two away from the boom on the Front Range."

135: Total real estate sales
136: Total real estate sales (2017)
$79.9: Total value of sales
$86 million: Total value of sales (2017)
$3.17: Most expensive sale
$4.06 million: Most expensive sale (2017)
18: Sales at or above $1 million
25: Sales at or above $1 million
January’s Top 5 Real Estate Sales
1. $3.17 million — Breckenridge, Lot 5, Boulder Ridge at 53 Boulder Ridge Drive (single-family home)
2. $2.5 million — Keystone, Lot 3, North Fork Subdivision at 483 Montezuma Road (single-family home)
3. $2.3 million — Breckenridge, Lot A, Dianne’s House Subdivision at 309 S. French St. (single-family home)
4. $2.29 million — Breckenridge, Lot 1, Fuller Place Subdivision at 97 Marys Ridge Lane (single-family home)
5. $2.2 million — Breckenridge, Lot 135, Highland at Breckenridge at 14 Fletcher Court (single-family home)
Source: Summit County Assessor’s Office

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hundreds of musicians seek to become the next National Repertory Orchestra fellows

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Courtesy the NRO

Summit Daily Link

More than six months from the start of the National Repertory Orchestra's 2018 season, roughly 1,000 ambitious musicians around the country are vying for 88 coveted spots on the roster of fellows.
With the application process underway, the behind-the-scenes action at the prestigious 58-year-old organization is ramping up. In fact, the work toward each year's 8-week summer concert schedule never really stops at any point throughout the year.
"Everyone assumes there's a lot of down time after August, but there really is no down time in our season," says National Repertory Orchestra Chief Executive Officer David DePeters. "We do everything we can to anticipate all the things we want to be doing in June and July. We can't be reactionary — there's too much going on."
Too much is right, but the staff at the National Repertory Orchestra has their meticulous system mastered — they even have a chance to enjoy office "meetings" out on the slopes every now and then. However, now it's time to carefully select the lucky 88 fellows of the 2018 season.
Countless musicians at symphonies and orchestras around the United States are alumni of the National Repertory Orchestra. Its distinguished reputation in the music world makes it inevitable that up and coming musicians aspire and compete to become the organization's annual fellows.
"One of the reasons it's so competitive is because it's such an intensive program," DePeters says. "They're performing 18 to 21 concerts in 8 weeks, which is more than many professional organizations. When the fellows leave here, they feel like they're ready to get a job — and they do, very quickly."
DePeters played as a percussionist with both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic and says many of those musicians — who are considered among the best in the world — went through the National Repertory Orchestra's program.
The National Repertory Orchestra's fame for its notable alumni is well known across colleges, universities and conservatories around the country.
"This is the place you come when you're ready to take that next step to becoming a professional orchestral musician," says National Repertory Orchestra Chief Operating Officer Cecile Forsberg.
The auditions
The orchestra opens auditions to musicians ages 18 to 29 with the requirement that each applicant has completed at least one year of college, university or conservatory by the start of the season. For the 2018 season, in-person auditions are being held around the country in more than 20 cities between now and February, Forsberg says, adding that recorded audition tapes are also being accepted.
All live auditions are also recorded with audio and video so Music Director Carl Topilow can review them again, if needed. Topilow has the ultimate say in choosing every musician, DePeters says.
Topilow is a rare breed in the competitive orchestral music industry in that he'll provide any applicant with specific feedback and constructive criticism if they ask for it, both Forsberg and DePeters say.
"We are an educational organization, from the beginning to the end," DePeters says. "Even if the musicians don't get in, it doesn't mean we aren't here to educate them."
The results
The 2018 season begins June 9 and finishes July 27. The orchestra staff are currently recruiting guest conductors and artists in residence to bolster and enhance the program, Forsberg says.
"We're also working on all of our community partnerships to make our season successful," she says.
From educational programs in local schools to a winter series featuring visiting musicians for two concerts in February and March, the National Repertory Orchestra is engaging the youth and adults of Summit County in many ways. The fellows learn how to play for their audience, tailor their repertory to that audience and also how to talk to them.
"Everything we do in Summit County is meaningful — not just for the fellows, but for the county," DePeters says.
A concert last season in response to the wildfire in Breckenridge raised funds for first responders and DePeters says the orchestra will be repeating that effort next season. The staff is also working to finalize plans on a couple of other benefit concerts, he says.
All of this planning and organization ultimately comes down to an 8-week experience that musicians and community members never forget. The musicians' palpable eagerness to learn and succeed translates to a concert series that has proved, time and time again, why it's so renowned.
"You can just see how passionate and excited the musicians are about being here," Forsberg says.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

January was slow, but as the mountains fill with snow, ski town hotels fill with visitors

Denver Post Photo

Denver Post Link

Colorado’s lodging revenue mirrored the bleak snowpack in the high country in January, according to a report by Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. It just makes sense — when snow is slow to fill the ski slopes, fewer people occupy the hotel rooms.
In resort towns statewide, about 63.6 percent of hotel rooms were booked in January, compared with 68.2 percent last January. Breckenridge stayed even, with about 77 percent occupancy this year and last, as did Steamboat Springs, where about 69 percent of rooms were booked. Aspen did the best, with 78.6 percent occupancy, compared to 81.3 percent last year.
The resort towns that took the biggest hits in January were Vail and Winter Park.
In Vail, only about 63 percent of hotel rooms were occupied in January, when not all the lifts and terrain at Vail and Beaver Creek were open. Snow conditions were better last January, and 78 percent of rooms were filled.
Things are looking up in Eagle County, though, with 4 to 8 inches forecast by Tuesday morning and a base packed at about 45 inches. About 121 inches has fallen so far this season, 11 inches of that in the past seven days.
The occupancy rate in Winter Park was 48 percent in January, down from 57 percent in January 2017.
But, there’s been snow to ski in Winter Park — the resort reports 57 to 62 inches at the ski area base, according to Lisa Kriederman, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder.
And February continues to bring the powder — 43 inches of snow this month alone, Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert said.
“There’s this sort of doom and gloom sentiment particularly as it relates to snow, that’s not been the case,” he said.
The snowpack is at about 96 percent of the 30-year average, he said. Since the snow started before Christmas, about 175 inches has fallen at Winter Park, the average year-to-date for mid February is 204 inches.
And word is starting to get out. Hurlbert said there’s been a spike in last-minute bookings. “February is looking strong and March is looking strong.”
The snow has come just in time for spring break, which typically draws Texans and Midwesterners to the Centennial state.
“Spring break is a huge time for us,” he said. “People kind of waited to make sure the snow had come and now that the snow has come they’re ready to pull the trigger.”
By the time the storm that started Monday winds down, 6 to 8 inches of snow is expected to have fallen in Grand County, Kriederman said.
It’s been an uphill battle for us, but now that snow is starting to come were kind of starting to see the tide turn,” Hurlbert said. “A couple of snowy weeks at the end of February and we should be right back on par with average.”
Multiple hotels in Winter Park reported an increase in reservations this week.
“Every time it snows there’s more people coming up here,” Joe Ligas, front desk clerk at Valley Hi Motel in Winter Park, said Monday. “Usually when there is snow, the following day a lot of Denver people take a day off and they come up for ‘powder day.’ Today we’ve kept busy.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

6 easy, affordable smart home features that could help you sell your house faster

Michael Yearout Photography


Fresh paint on the walls, professional staging and an asking price that ends in 999 — when you're selling your home, you'll do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get. And on the heels of the popular Consumer Electronics Show in January, perhaps that edge is a smarter home.
"Smart home features are designed to make homes more convenient, appealing, secure and energy-efficient — all of which are bonuses when you're trying to sell a house," says Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC. "Sellers who want to move their homes faster may benefit from adding smart features that make their properties more appealing to tech-minded buyers."
According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That's a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers' attention and help sell your home faster:

Keyless/remote entry door locks

Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock — available from multiple manufacturers — you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

Smart lighting

From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

DIY security systems

Don't want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

Smart appliances

The Internet of Things (IoT) — everyday objects that have network connectivity — includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you — and each other — wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone — so if you leave the house and can't remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.
While appliances aren't always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

Smart plugs

One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

Temperature controls

Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today's home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family's needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.
"Many of these smart home features are surprisingly easy and affordable to install," Lewis says. "Sellers who are open to the idea of investing a little money to possibly help get a speedier sale, may want to consider adding the smart features buyers will be looking for in 2017."
If you're thinking of selling your home, contact me today.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Discovery Channel’s ‘Gold Rush’ is leaving Park County, but residents continue to fight for more mining oversight

#Fairplay #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily Link

It's been nearly two years since the reality-TV show "Gold Rush" roared into Park County, descending on an old dredge near Fairplay with a small army of trucks and excavators to mine for television gold — and a bit of the real stuff, too.
The show stirred up some trouble along the way, disturbing the peace and quiet of some neighbors and even leading to some gunplay with a fed-up local. It also had its defenders, including Fairplay's mayor, who said the miners' relationship with the town was "five-star."
Now, the crews are packing up and leaving Park County for good. But Save South Park, the opposition movement that sprang up against them, isn't going anywhere, galvanized by their struggle against the show to push for more oversight of mining.
"The legacy of mining and what's happened in the past is pretty horrific," said Trevor Messa, one of the group's co-chairs. "We just want to see responsible mining our region. Mining can take place, but it needs to take place with people's approval."
“We cannot risk sacrificing our water, our future and our children’s health to the environmentally damaging operations of some miners and the hazardous fallout of their ventures.”Save South Parkin a report by geologist John S. Stuckless
Save South Park's members are still in a legal battle against the county over a re-zoning decision favorable to "Gold Rush," which they fear could mean the mining continues even after the TV crews are gone.
The controversy also convinced some residents that there isn't enough local control over mining in Park County, which they say risks spoiling their picturesque swath of the High Country and contaminating its waterways with old mining chemicals currently entombed in rocks.
Last week, the group published a 50-page report by geologist John S. Stuckless sounding the alarm over possible mercury contamination in the Fairplay area and urging state regulators to investigate.
"Things like this can often catalyze people to come together and combine their efforts to have a positive impact on their communities," said Danny Teodoru, an attorney representing the group in Park County District Court. "I think that's what you're seeing here, and that's very encouraging."
On Saturday, Save South Park held a fundraising event at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, featuring four bands and a series of speakers who shared their concerns about the mining that has sprung up in Park County since "Gold Rush" came on the scene. With the money raised, the group hopes to encourage officials to adopt new standards for responsible mining.

"We've seen a large jump in mining operations in this area and there just doesn't seem to be any oversight of it," Messa said. "We watched something go from a small gravel operation to a giant industrial operation in the past year and a half with what 'Gold Rush' was doing."
The site of the "Gold Rush" operation, adjacent to residential areas just off Highway 9 and a short drive from Fairplay, had for years been the site of a small-scale gravel operation. That changed when the mining show arrived with a complement of industrial-scale equipment.
The show's popularity drew plenty of fortune seekers and amateur gold miners to Park County, some less scrupulous than others. In a letter to the county commissioners last year, a U.S. Forest Service official warned that the number of squatters on National Forest land had "increased dramatically" since the show's arrival.
But the "Gold Rush" model, using tons of heavy equipment to pick over old dredge mines, worries Save South Park. Group members fear that stirring up legacy mine operations could unearth toxic chemicals used in bygone eras.
"In the whole process of looking into mining in this area, and how it's affecting this area, we came across the fact that some of these old tailings were contaminated with mercury," Messa said, citing historical documents and conversations with mining historians.
Trapped in dredge piles in its solid form, the mercury is harmless. But when disturbed, it can enter waterways and undergo a chemical process called methylation. The resulting methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in ecosystems.
Miners used mercury to recover gold from the 1800s through the 1960s, losing much of it to the environment as it flowed along water sluices. In recent years, the U.S. Geological Survey has found that mercury contamination is widespread across the American West, in part because of historical mining operations.
In the report, which draws on several USGS studies and a wealth of historical documents, Save South Park argues that Park County's many dredge piles could be contaminated with mercury, posing grave risks to fish and wildlife if they are disturbed.
"We cannot risk sacrificing our water, our future and our children's health to the environmentally damaging operations of some miners and the hazardous fallout of their ventures," the report's introduction reads.
The group sent the report to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety early last week, asking the agencies to test for methylmercury in South Park. (Spokesmen for the agencies could not confirm Friday whether or not they had received the report, but Messa said he was told it was being reviewed.)
"What we're concerned about is that nobody is testing to see if any of this stuff is contaminated with mercury," Messa said. "We can show you the data that say it likely is, but until the state actually decides to test the sites that these guys are operating on, we don't know."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Summit County commits to go 100-percent renewable energy by 2035

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit Daily Photo

Summit Daily Link

On Feb. 13, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution committing the community to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
The resolution is similar to the one passed by the town of Breckenridge back in November, which also committed to getting all energy from renewable sources by 2035. By passing the resolution, Summit joins other Colorado counties and towns going fully renewable, including Aspen, Avon, Boulder, Lafeyette, Longmont, Nederland and Pueblo. Larger cities outside the state have also committed, including Atlanta, Orlando, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.
County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier felt the issue was of the utmost importance to the county, given the alarming new data about climate change.
"The projections for climate change show that it is much more accelerated than previous models have shown," Stiegelmeier said. "We're already seeing it with these shorter, warmer winters. Climate change will have a frightening impact for our economy and our lifestyle."
Stiegelmeier also noted the political climate in Washington, and how it put the onus on communities to take initiative. "At the federal level, they're going in the opposite direction on climate change, so it comes down to local government taking action."
The text of the resolution explicitly refers to climate change as a threat to the local community, noting that "a warming climate is expected to have various adverse local effects such as shortening our ski season, reducing annual snowpack, increasing drought conditions, decreasing water supplies and making our forests more prone to wildfire, while also presenting a variety of other threats on a global scale."
The commissioners passed the resolution after attending the Colorado Community Symposium conference in Denver, where local and state elected officials met and discussed collaboration with business leaders and innovators involved in producing renewable energy technology.
Commissioner Dan Gibbs said the conference was very informative, and spurred the commissioners in taking an affirmative step in the right direction.
"When you look at Summit County, enhancing and protecting the environment is one of the best ways to protect our economy," Gibbs said. "Moving towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 is not only an important goal benefiting this generation and future generations in Summit."
When it comes to specifics, Gibbs noted that one way the county can reduce its carbon footprint is upgrading the public bus fleet.
"Our bus fleet is all diesel," Gibbs said, "but there's technology out there for eco-friendly electric buses. Aside from cutting fossil fuels, there are also less moving parts involved in electric vehicles, making them cheaper to maintain. That makes great economic sense."
County manager Scott Vargo noted that the resolution is a non-binding community commitment, and will not require county government, homeowners or private businesses to purchase or upgrade electrical systems. The county will instead work with energy companies like Xcel to get them to switch more and more to renewable energy and away from fossil-fuel-based energy sources.
"Our primary objective is to try to influence change and cooperate with Xcel to modify the way they generate power," Vargo said. "Within the last several months, Xcel has offered their support for the initiative. There has been an effort on Xcel's part to increase the amount of renewable energy they're producing in the state."
The resolution has some caveats and exceptions to the goal, such as reserving the right to modify the commitment if consumer costs increase.
Section 2 of the resolution reads, "Should the county determine that customer utility costs have or are projected to increase at an unacceptable rate because of a transition to renewable energy, the county may modify this resolution and the goal…"
"We don't want this effort to result in significant price increases to consumers where they see their energy bill go up dramatically," Vargo said. "We want to make sure that the types of changes and investments made by Xcel are good, sound investments so we don't see significant changes to what rate payers are absorbing."
As to why Summit is passing the resolution now, Gibbs said progressive change is oftentimes led by local government.
"Sometimes government has to take the lead on taking these steps," Gibbs said. "We hope the private sector will follow, because research shows that switching to renewables makes good economic sense."
The resolution does not set a timeline for milestones or goals, and planning for the initiative has not yet begun.