Heading out West for pricey ski homes

Mini-resorts with mountain views beckon NYers with fresh powder

Elk-Mtn

For New Yorkers who enjoy skiing out West, the priciest homes on the market beckon with their promise of fresh powder nearby. Winter wonderful, indeed. But let’s be clear about a few things: For starters, to call these “ski homes” seems small-minded. They are so much more: Think mini-resorts with stunning mountain views.

Moreover, “ski homes” as a description is somewhat inaccurate. That’s because it is rare to find bona fide ski homes (meaning homes with ski-in, ski-out access), in Aspen and Vail, which dominate the high end of the residential market out West. (LLNYC excluded spec properties from this issue’s vacation home ranking in order to compare similar types of homes on the market. The ranking was determined using Zillow and MLS data, as provided by a source.)

“By broad definition, homes in Aspen would not be technically considered ‘ski homes’ because you can’t ski up to the property,” noted Ben Roos of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. “But these are the priciest properties on the market, and owners would definitely enjoy skiing.”

And not just skiing. Swanky homes on the market out West make the most of their natural location, which one broker likened to the Alps, with properties that feature stunning mountain views, lakes and trails. Outdoor kitchens, staff quarters and heated parking are just some of the deluxe amenities enjoyed at homes at the top of the market.

Brokers consider NYC a good feeder market for these vacation homes and even permanent residency.

“Visitors often become full-time residents,” said Donna Caynoski of Slifer Smith & Frampton in Vail. “We are seeing families from the East Coast, New York in particular, moving their families here on a full-time basis for the lifestyle that Vail offers. They appreciate the outdoor lifestyle and the ability to raise well-rounded children, and find their children are highly desirable to colleges back East.”

With the appeal of a snowy landscape in mind, here’s LLNYC’s ranking of the coolest digs in the West.

Elk-Mtn-Ashcroft

$100,000,000
Multiple Rooney Circle
Aspen, Colorado
28 beds, 30 baths (in multiple buildings); 15,000-square-foot main lodge

At $100 million, this property, known as Elk Mountain Lodge, owned by billionaire businessman William Koch, is the highest-priced listing in the West — and one of the priciest homes in the country. Koch bought the property for $26.5 million in 2007 and it has been on and off the market in recent years. The compound consists of four separate parcels totaling 82.6 acres with 13 buildings, including the 15,000-square-foot main lodge (completely renovated in 2008), with eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The listing includes single-family homes, cabins and recreation buildings. Amenities include automated systems for lighting, music, television, window shades, gas fireplaces, fountain and climate control; theater room; in-ground spa with 48 jets; gourmet chef’s kitchen; wine room with 3,000-bottle capacity; outdoor kitchen and trout-stocked pond. It is “wonderfully private,” said Ben Roos of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing, with skiing at Aspen Mountain a 15-minute snowmobile ride away and downtown Aspen and the Aspen airport a 20-minute ride away.

Watson-Divide-Drive

$60,000,000
1000 & 1220 Watson Divide Road
Snowmass, Colorado
7 beds, 8 baths, 3 half-baths; 18,000 square feet

Think of this property, known as Four Peaks, as a very private resort, listing agent Joshua Saslove of Douglas Elliman said. He said Four Peaks is 15 minutes from Aspen and five minutes via backroads from Snowmass. But skiing is hardly the only recreational activity available: Saslove noted that the property, a 2007 Craftsman-style mansion originally built as a family home, can be enjoyed year-round. It features a pool, wine cellar, home theater, two outdoor fireplaces and outdoor kitchen, as well as 15 miles of trails for all-terrain vehicles and a lake with a cabana. At nearly 900 acres, it is a “significant property,” Saslove said, noting “the views rival anything in Europe, including the Alps.”

41-Popcorn

$51,000,000
41 Popcorn Lane
Aspen, Colorado
8 beds, 9 baths, 4 half-baths; 13,013-square-foot main house

Yes, a river runs through it, but this listing is no coming-of-age story. It’s more like a romantic epic, thanks to its setting. The property is bisected by the Roaring Fork River, and the primary residence is connected by a bridge to the guesthouse and caretaker residence. According to Ben Roos, of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing, its location, just below Independence Pass, which is closed in winter, gives it “end-of-road” privacy. “Aspen is a one-route town,” Roos said. When the pass beyond the property closes, there’s no through traffic, creating in effect a private retreat. Amenities include a six-car garage, blue Bahia granite finishes, reclaimed Belgian Black stone flooring, grand entry with sweeping staircase, chef’s kitchen and butler’s pantry with walk-in wine room.

155-Sabin

$49,500,000
155 & 200 Sabin Drive
Aspen, Colorado
7 beds, 7 baths, 4 half baths; 16,961 square feet

Known as the Summit House, this property is situated high on Red Mountain and overlooks Aspen and all four ski areas. The view is the main attraction here, as floor-to-ceiling windows frame the Colorado Rockies. Built in 2010, the contemporary main house features a floating wood-and-glass staircase, formal living and dining rooms, lounge with wet bar, gourmet kitchen and media room with wet bar. There’s a private apartment for staff with a separate entrance. The current price tag is a discount from the previous listing of $65 million. Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.

107-rockledge

 $30,000,000
107 Rockledge Road
VAIL, Colorado
7 beds, 10 baths; 11,509 square feet

Like Aspen, ski homes in Vail are not typically ski-in/ski-out, but this is a notable exception, and it is the highest-priced listing in Vail, according to real estate data site Zillow. The property is located at the base of Bear Tree ski run, yet situated so “skiers are not looking into the home,” said listing agent Donna Caynoski of Slifer Smith & Frampton. The home offers a media room/den, game room, workout room, outdoor pool, ski storage lockers, heated parking, and finishes never seen previously in Vail for a home on the open market, she said.