Amtrak opened a route from Denver International Airport to Winter Park last year, a ski resort community that’s been a Denver locals’ haunt for years because of its proximity. The new train route has been a game changer, making Winter Park the only ski resort in North America with direct train access from a major city to the slopes. Think about the implications for city-dwellers and Europeans accustomed to traveling by train. For anyone who doesn’t like to drive in snow or be at the mercy of shuttle service. For families with kids who bring along too many friends to fit in a vehicle. For young adults old enough to travel but too young to rent a car …
It’s hard to measure the train’s direct impact, but one thing’s clear: Winter Park, Colorado real estate is booming.
“There are currently 46 active condo listings in the Winter Park Area and 84 in the entire county,” said Karissa Gagnon, director of marketing at Real Estate of Winter Park. “This is down even dramatically from this time last year where we had 108 active condo listings in WPA and 155 total,” she added.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” said Lisa Leclair Waldorf, broker with Real Estate of Winter Park. “The national economy is stronger, interest rates are still historically low, and the stock market is bullish. Specific to Winter Park, besides the ski train (which is tremendous), Winter Park Resort development and operation rights were recently purchased by KSL Capital and Aspen Skiing Co. The speculation is that KSL will be injecting a lot of money into the resort while Aspen has extensive experience running high-class, popular, destination ski resorts. There is also a ton of population and corporate growth on the “front range,” from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver. People are tired of sitting for hours in traffic on the I-70 corridor to get to the more western mountain resorts. Winter Park is the closest major ski resort to Denver. People are starting to look around at other options and they’re finding out that Winter Park is on the rise and they want a piece of it now before it really takes off.”
That said, buying into ski resort real estate strictly for speculation is a gamble, as a recent article in the Denver Post noted. The primary reason to purchase a vacation home in a ski resort should be because you love vacationing there (and can get there often).
For a look at what’s available in the market, here’s a sample property, 20434 GCR 50, Fraser – perched on a ridge, surrounded by tall pine and aspen groves with spectacular southern views of the Continental Divide, James and Parry Peaks, and the slopes of Winter Park Resort, which is just 10 minutes away. It’s a six-bedroom, four-bath, 4,549-square-foot home on a 36.81-acre lot listed by Stuart Huster of Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties for $1.995 million.
Have a look: