Drivers heading just a few miles west of Steamboat Springs may feel like they're in the middle of the shrubspeckled, rocky countryside. Only the clear views of Mount Werner rising in the rearview mirror serve as a reminder of town.
But after about five miles, some of the area's most popular and most affordable subdivisions appear, including Heritage Park, Steamboat II and Silver Spur Estates. This area around U.S. Highway 40 is particularly popular with working families.
Affordability was the factor that convinced Cathy Glynn and her husband to buy a home in Steamboat II. There, the couple found that the price they could pay for a house went a lot further than it did in town. Glynn said that besides being affordable, the neighborhoods in this area are kid-friendly, a plus for the Glynns, who have two young children of their own.
"It's a nice neighborhood," Glynn said. "I have some wonderful neighbors, some nice friends here, and there are a lot of kids." There is a good sense of community here. Children hop on their bikes to stop by a friend's house, and neighbors greet each other as they pick up their mail and water their lawns. Most of the families living here also work in town, so are at their homes year-round.
Some of the homes in Steamboat II date to the 1970s, though many were built during the last two decades. Growth in this region is predicted to increase, and according to city and county plans, this area should stay somewhat affordable for the residents who work in town, as it has been in the past.
Heritage Park, which is directly across the highway from Steamboat II and Silver Spur, are much newer developments. Those neighborhoods have been some of Steamboat's busiest for new home construction in the last several years.
West End Village is an affordable housing development near the intersection of the highway and Elk
River Road. There are 79 lots in West End Village, where some are reserved for deed-restricted affordable housing sold to residents who make no more than 120 percent of the area's median household income. The other homes are being sold on the open market. The deed-restricted and open-market homes are to be interspersed throughout the neighborhood and are largely indistinguishable.
Throughout the West U.S. Highway 40 corridor, there are nice views of the ski mountain and surrounding hills, and Steamboat Golf Club is also nearby.
Another possible benefit of living in this area is that much of Steamboat's shopping is growing in the western direction. With stores such as Ace Hardware, there isn't reason to drive back through town except to buy groceries or eat out for dinner.
Good family-sized homes, easy shopping, a good sense of neighborhood and affordability are all reasons to choose a home along the West-40 corridor. Even hardcore skiers have no complaints, as the resort is only a 10-minute drive away.