For some Steamboat residents, a home on the mountain means one thing – easier access to skiing. Known as "Ski Town USA," Steamboat Springs' almost 3,000-acre resort attracts winter sports enthusiasts from around the world.
A house or condo on the mountain can give the feeling of having miles and miles of first-rate ski runs in your own backyard. But living on the mountain means more than just the chance to take a run or two before work or to be first to ski on 14 inches of fresh powder.
It means being close to some of Steamboat's largest stores, so restocking the refrigerator or picking up a video can be done within minutes. It means having top-notch golfing and mountain biking outside your door, as well as nearby playing fields, hiking trails and an indoor tennis court. It means being able to walk to the rock concerts, balloon festivals, and other events that take place on the mountain. And it means living on steeply curving roads that provide views of stunning sunsets over town.
Plus, the mountain's range of housing options provides some of Steamboat's most affordable living opportunities. Although lower prices usually mean further distances from the resort, the ski mountain is still nearby.
Like beachfront property, homes that are ski-in and ski-out, or even golf-in and golf-out, carry a premium. Homes that are higher up the mountain also tend to have higher price tags and larger lots. Some of the homes in the area close to Highway 40 have lots that are a quarter of an acre, while lots higher up the mountain can reach up to one acre.
The mountain area has the highest concentration of second-home ownership, which means that in some neighborhoods, some residents may only be around for part of the year.
Most of Steamboat's condos are located on the mountain. Each set of condos is unique and different – each set has different colors, construction materials, sizes, angles, views.
Many of the houses, condos and townhomes on the mountain are newer, with the oldest units dating back to the 1960s. The area's largest developments are Whistler Meadows, Running Bear, Ski Ranches, Fairway Meadows and the Sanctuary.
Whistler Meadows is the section of the mountain closest to Highway 40. Many of its housing units are condominiums, but there are also some fairly affordable freestanding homes. The Yampa Core Trail starts here, so residents who work downtown can easily bike to work during a sunny summer day. Although most condos don't have yards, the area is dog-friendly: at the end of the work day, many residents let dogs run around and visit.
At the other boundary of the mountain area is the Sanctuary, one of Steamboat's most exclusive developments. Here, each home is its own statement, with styles ranging from stucco to stone, painted wood to dark logs. Some homes back up to the Rollingstone golf course. All are surrounded by aspen and pine trees, feel secluded, almost in the woods. Town isn't visible from here. Residents have the feel of being tucked into the mountains, away from town. Street signs here describe the views from this development: Forest View, Golf View, and Heavenly View.
With a range of home styles and prices to choose from, and the accessibility of skiing, shopping and other activities, many people are happy to find a place to live in the mountain area.