Sunday, July 30, 2006

Marabou Ranch

Marabou Ranch
here in Steamboat Springs was covered by the Denver Post today. This is a rendering of one of the common lodge buildings along the Elk River. One of the many amenities at Marabou Ranch is the fly-fishing. They have done some incredible restoration of the trout habitat along an already good 2 mile stretch of the Elk river that flows through Marabou. This includes using limestone boulders since they produce stronger fly hatches to grow bigger and heathlier trout. They are building 15 acres of ponds and several improved streams utilizing their water rights to provide a great fishing experience even during the spring run-off when the Elk river itself gets blown out by the snow melt.

Check out this page on Marabou Steamboat to see more. You can find the article and the latest news on Marabou on this link or directly at the first link above.

Family Ride

Today we took a bike ride into town to get in some good family time, hang in down town Steamboat Springs, have lunch and play in the park. As you can see from the picture we accomplished our primary goal of wearing out Alden and Neve too. I love how Neve is just waking up and checking to see if her big brother is awake. I started pedaling again and she fell right back asleep.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Steamboat Ski area sale

I got the following question from someone who reads this blog and thought I'd share my answer plus a few edits for clarity since the Steamboat ski area sale is such a hot topic right now.

Jon, Do you think that the sale of Steamboat, to someone with deep pockets like Vail Resorts, will have an immediate impact on real estate values in Steamboat? D.
BTW, Enjoy your blog, check in often,

My answer: Thank you for your message and comment. In regards to the ski area sale as you know nothing is certain so we have to look at similar examples for guidance on what could happen if the ski area actually sells. In 2002 when ASC, the owners of Steamboat, walked away from the sale of Steamboat to The Mueller Family from Okemo out east. The Mueller's went on to buy Crested Butte in 2003. I can't quote figures but Crested Butte went from a sleepy market to very strong and property values have gone up dramatically. A friend that bought in Crested Butte just before the sale said prices have doubled since then but I don't have anything on paper to give you hard numbers. (BTW it may be hard for Vail to buy Steamboat because they accepted some anti-trust provisions dealing with having too much Front Range market share. This is not a direct hit but would likely be a limiter. I don't think Vail would be the best buyer but someone with their passion from experience would be good.)

CB has a nice mountain with some great terrain but is 5 hours from Denver, has limited flight access, was a much smaller of a real town vs. just a resort and several other factors. Steamboat is a real town with diverse recreational assets, is in process of starting a base area redevelopment, 2 new developments that will bring a new level of quality (and some 700-$1000 /sq ft comp prices) and sells at a discount to comparable quality resorts. This is before you consider a possible sale.

Most major resorts in Colorado and Utah have a real capacity problem lift wise because they have such a large day skier population driving in from major metro areas, it is normal to wait in 10-30 minutes lines in Vail, Breckenridge, Copper, Winter Park, Snowbird, Alta, Park City etc. out side of peak weeks. Steamboat is dramatically better with nearly no-existent lines except for 1.5 hours in the morning when it is 10-20 minutes during the 2-3 busiest weeks. One high-speed quad at the base would take care of most significant lines. The ski area is planning a high-speed six pack so a new owner could move quickly on this.

Are we seeing an impact now? I sure am. Prices haven't taken a step in most areas yet (outside of a few fishing trips) but are likely to for quality units if a sale of the ski area closes. I have seen a big step in inquiries and seriousness of the people I am working with. Let's talk some time, I can answer your questions better and the conversation can go where you want it to. Thank you, Jon
Click the following link for a more recent update on progress towards the Steamboat Ski area sale or Steamboat Ski area sale is announcement?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Steamboat Springs Telecommuting

I read recently that 40 percent of jobs will be location neutral by 2012. This wasn't a big surprise to me since I was in the first wave of telecommutes by modem long ago. I telecommuted to Steamboat for several years part time before making my move. My full time move to Steamboat involved a career change from the corporate life at HP to Real Estate but everything just seemed to fall in place once I decided to proceed like it was going to happen. That decision was hardest part, we took a hard look at our priorities it became clear that Steamboat offered the perfect mix of a great small town where kids can roam town like we did growing up, great schools and fantastic recreational opportunities out the front door.

I am working with several clients that are planning their moves to Steamboat and staying in their existing career. The people I have worked with and met around town tend to be successful professionals or business owners that are looking for some of the following: a small town to raise their family, an escape from city life crime or long commutes, a move to a nicer climate, flexibilty to work and hop on their bike or skis during windows between meetings, or they have just always dreamed of living in Steamboat Springs. It can take some work to re-structure your business or career but the payoff is huge.

Selected quotes from an article in the Steamboat Pilot:
Survey: Telecommuters contribute to county By Matt Stensland

People who live in Routt County but have jobs that allow them to work over the phones and Internet contribute $35 million annually and have a high degree of civic engagement, according to a survey conducted during the past year. The remote workers are part of "location-neutral businesses," they have household incomes in excess of $100,000, and as a whole, contribute $700,000 each year to local charities. The Routt County EDC sees remote workers as a potential opportunity to expand the local economies with a "green industry" and provide more opportunities for youth workers. Moore said remote workers are living in Routt County because they wanted to live in a place with a strong sense of community.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sunset Magazine Ranks Steamboat #1 place for a second home

I thought you would like to see this article that is in Sunset Magazine’s August issue. They looked for a good housing market, quality of recreation opportunities, relative affordability and a good small town lifestyle to make their choices. It’s no surprise we did well with those criteria. We are definitely starting to see more national coverage and I think the new projects and base area upgrades will only increase that.

I believe that with the shortage of land we have in Steamboat, our “distance advantage” and the improvements planned on the mountain that we are pretty well protected from overcrowding as people become more aware of Steamboat but I do expect prices to rise as the national market finds out what is going on here.

Where to buy a cabin
The West’s most popular places to find your second home

Sunset Magazine August 2006 by Joyanna Laughlin

If you’re thinking about buying your own little seaside cottage or mountain cabin, you’re not alone. Americans bought a record 1.02 million vacation homes in 2005, up from 872,000 in 2004, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Twenty percent of those were sold here in the West. We scouted around for our top 10 hot vacation-home spots. Our main criteria? A growing second-home market, great recreational opportunities, relative affordability (the median price of a vacation home was $204,100 in 2005, according to NAR), and a small-town lifestyle, from art galleries to coffeehouses and farmers’ markets.

1. Steamboat Springs, Colorado - The locals here have a name for their friendly attitude: “Steamboat genuine.” The town offers excellent skiing in winter, and hiking, biking, and fly-fishing in summer. Steamboat’s population is 10,115, and more than half of the homeowners are second-home buyers. Condos are $250,000 and up, and houses are $450,000 and up.

Marabou Ranch Steamboat Springs

The Marabou Ranch just outside Steamboat Springs includes 62 home sites along with 2 miles of very productive Elk River Fly-fishing, a large variety of streams and 15 acres of ponds with great trout habitat, open space for grazing, haying, dry-land crops, a sharptail-grouse breeding ground, a winter elk range, riding trails, cross country ski trails mountain biking and first class horse facilities. It will include extensive amenities and extensive trout fishing habitat along its two miles of the River, extensive stream system and 15 acres of ponds. Marabou ranch holds extensive water rights they will use to keep the water cool for the trout due to the long history of ranching on this property. It also has master guides on staff for every aspect of ranching and outdoor sports availible in the Steamboat area including Olympians on staff to improve residents'skiing and well known fly-fisherman to help catch the wily trout when they aren't tending to the herd.

I went out to the ranch last week to check on progress and things seem to be firing on all cylinders. It looks like they are doing a first class job with their stream improvememts in the Elk River for fly-fishing and you can tell they are putting in first class roads. That speaks volumes to me for the quality we can expect to see in the other more obvious aspects of Marabou as they get built. Storm Mountain Ranch, Jeff Temple's other Steamboat LPS development has incredible fly-fishing and indications are that the fly-fishing at Marabou Ranch will take things to a new level.

Several national publications have written articles on the quality of
Steamboat Springs fly-fishing
. Fly Fisherman Magazine talked about Steamboat as the best area for Rainbow trout fly-fishing in Colorado.

Drop me an email of give me a call and I can send you some information / articles on Steamboat Fly Fishing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Howelsen Place to start

It looks like the redevelopment of the Harbor Hotel into Howelsen Place will start in August 2006. This project is one of 5 key projects that are expected to revitalize downtown Steamboat Springs over the next few years with high quality public spaces, shopping, restaurants and residences. Right now there are only 2 choices for condos downtown and that will change soon. We have seen a revitilization of many downtowns across the country particually in resort towns so it is exciting ot see it coming ot Steamboat. Main Street Steamboat is also hiring an events planner to bring more food & wine, arts, music and other cultural events to downtown Steamboat Springs.

Howelsen Place will sit at the corner of 7th and Lincoln downtown and go all the way down to Yampa street providing a nice linkage from downtown to the river. It is expected that Yampa street will become a thriving pedestrian corridor. Several new businesses are planned along Yampa including an authentic English Pub.

Give me a call at 970-819-6930 or email me at if you have questions or would like more info on what is coming to downtown Steamboat Springs

Selected quotes from the press release: Green Courte Partners, LLC, announced today the development start of Howelsen Place, an 84,700 square foot mixed use project in the mainstreet district of Steamboat Springs, CO. The City of Steamboat Springs City Council recently approved the development permit for the $28 million project, which will consist of 24,000 square feet of retail space, 42 for-sale residential units, and a below-grade parking structure. Construction is expected to commence in August, and project completion is expected in late 2007.

"Steamboat Springs is a fast-growing year-round resort community that has a vibrant downtown retail district with increasing '24/7' activity. Howelsen Place is at a 'Main and Main' downtown location and is designed to be a retail/residential project which is sensitive to the historic feel of Old Town and which will enhance the retail vitality of downtown Steamboat. It is gratifying after working closely with the planning staff and elected officials of Steamboat Springs to have designed a superior project that is consistent with Steamboat Spring's Old Town Plan and to have received strong Planning Commission and City Council support. We expect Howelsen Place to be an exciting location for retailers, retail customers, and residents."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Riverwalk Steamboat

Riverwalk Steamboat Springs

Here is a small rendering of the Riverwalk project in Steamboat Springs, CO. The Riverwalk site is the only significant remaining developable parcel in Old Town Steamboat Springs with significant river frontage. The concept for Riverwalk is to create a high-density residential environment with great access to both the natural and commercial aspects of downtown with a more inviting commercial/retail extension of the Central Business District.

Riverwalk Steamboat is designed to make the most of the it's water resources by giving residents and the community several ways to access the Yampa river frontage and will also daylight Spring Creek for the first time in 2 generations to provide a natural link up to Lincoln Avenue. In addition to great water access, easy access to all that downtown Steamboat Springs has to offer while being just far enough away from the busy areas to enjoy nature is a big part of the appeal of Riverwalk.

The potential for public access and a vital connection into Dr. Rich Weiss Park via a Snake Island bridge becomes a reality with River Walk. The pocket parks along the river will be visually accessible from Lincoln at 4th Street. The improvement of 3rd Street from Lincoln into the site will allow pedestrians and bikers to come down the path along Spring Creek, which will intercept the pedestrian corridor / bike path along the Yampa River.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Steamboat Mountain Biking - Hot Springs to Red Dirt loop

steamboat mountain biking

A few weeks ago I had my good friend Eddie Byrne up to Steamboat for the weekend to mountain bike with me. One of the trails we did was a great loop that brings together several trails and covers some gorgeous terrain. Eddie is a really smart guy and one of his hobbies is documenting the rides we go on with his camera and GPS. Tonight he sent a link to the Steamboat mountain biking trail guide he put together for the loop. We went from the Hot Springs trail off CR 129 to the Strawberry park hot springs back then back down to the double track road, went rightover to the Mad Creek trail and then connected over to the Red Dirt trail for a fun single track descent. We didn't do it this day but I recommend going right (north) on the Red Dirt trail as far up as your legs will take you. You will be rewarded with great veiws if you get to the top and a fun descent down a much longer stretch of wavy singletrack.

I was blown away by the quality of his descrition of the ride, topo map with waypoints and the photos that he put together. I have never seen it's equal in a mountain biking trial guide. I think he needs to quit his day job and make a career out of this. Its worth a visit to his page just for the beautiful photos even if you don't bike. The photo above is one of Eddie's.

Steamboat Ski area is officially for sale!

I got this just a few minutes after the document was saved on Chris Diamond's computer (checked the properties of the file as part of my verification). He is the President of the Steamboat Ski Area. I have verified it is the real thing and leanred that Bear Sterns will be representing ASC. Reviewing strategic options in this context is a clear statement the ski area is for sale.

This is a long way from a deal but having a capable ski area owner that is interested in investing in the mountain will go a long way. More to follow...

American Skiing Company Reviewing Strategic Options For Steamboat Ski Resort

PARK CITY, UT– Park City, Utah - American Skiing Company (OTCBB, AESK), one of the largest operators of alpine ski, snowboard and golf resorts in the United States, today announced that its Board of Directors has retained investment advisors to initiate a strategic review of business options for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation in Colorado, including the potential sale of the resort.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Steamboat Balloon Fest in my backyard

Steamboat Springs Balloon festival
On the first day of the Steamboat Springs Balloon festival two balloons caught the wrong air current and drifted closer to mountain than they wanted. They skimmed our roof, got nervous they were heading out too far and landed in our backyard Saturday morning. I was impressed with how closely they followed our roofline. They both made a safe landing.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Howelson Place gets approved

Howelson Place was recently approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council after a long review process. I think that the result is excellent and it will kick start the revitalization of downtown Steamboat with its interesting architecture, appealing retail space that has the opportunity to become a destination on its own and the highest quality living options in downtown.

Give me a call or send an email (see top left of page) if you have any questions.

Quotes from an editor's opinion piece in the Steamboat Pilot Today:
The Harbor Hotel's fate was sealed last week. The old hotel that some see as historical is coming down now that Howelsen Place has made it through the planning process.
We think Howelsen Place -- a mixed-use development with 11 commercial outlets and 42 residential units -- will be an improvement over the Harbor and should enhance downtown.

Howelsen Place is one of several new developments that are transforming downtown into a great place to live as well as a great place to shop and eat. Others recently built, being built or in the planning process include the Residences at Old Town, Waterside Village, Riverwalk and Alpenglow.