Ski-In/Ski-Out Homes at Historic Premiums in Aspen/Snowmass
Story and Photos by Tom Martin
Features Director – Mansions of The Month - Aspen Valley and the World
As the couple ascended the short, wooded trail and out onto the majestic ski slopes, with the Alpine Springs chairlift just a short walk from what would become their future Snowmass Vacation Home, they realized they had to own it – with a complete structural remodel, and two subsequent updates over a 33-year period - most recently and spectacularly, just this year.
When in 1987, Chicagoan and then Vice Chairman of powerhouse real estate investment firm, Lasalle Partners, Kenneth Campia, visited Snowmass with his wife, Karin, they weren’t exactly overwhelmed with the home they’d just toured on Snowmass Ski Area atop the legendary Wood Run subdivision, but Ken was a real estate investment expert, thus…
Location, Location, Location…
And so it came to pass that the Campia’s spent their family vacations with their two daughters, Tegan and Tori, on Snowmass. Even at young ages, if the girls tired of skiing, wanted to warm-up or grab a bite, they were encouraged to make their own way home, skiing directly into the safety of their own private cul-de-sac for a cocoa and a warm-up.
Karin Campia puts it this way:
“Our freedom and theirs, amid the majestic White River National Forest of the Elk Mountain Range, on Ski Magazine’s #1 Ski Resort of 2019 - out our front door. Truly the greatest luxury of all.
BaseCamp is more than just a house. It is an introduction to a totally different way of life, an escape to a ´new normal’ that captures the imagination. Ask yourself this: When was the last time you climbed a mountain, camped and fished for trout in a glacier lake at 11,000 feet? Or made it your goal to climb every Fourteener within the state of Colorado? Or ski in an overnight mountaineering race from Crested Butte to Aspen?
These have been the recent goals and experiences of my now-adult daughters.
Being from Chicago, it made all the difference to make the trek up to 9,000’ several times each year throughout the seasons, to what we lovingly called “BaseCamp” – despite its on-mountain location. Relationships that were developed early-on in Snowmass have led to a lifetime of extended-family friendships.
Sharing an entirely different way of living with our girls throughout their upbringing has filled them with mountain-living experiences, from backcountry survival training to international guest and hospitality relations, attuning them with confident, high-country perspectives and self-reliance that girls and women of any age can benefit from.
In 1987, when we acquired BaseCamp, the first thing we did was enroll the entire family in the world famous Snowmass Ski School with Stein Erikson protégé, Norwegian transplant and towering Snowmass legend, Amund Ekroll, one of the original handful of ski instructors that Stein brought with him to open Snowmass Ski Area to the world in 1967.
The friendship we formed by skiing and socializing with Amund led us to deem one of our very own girls, his goddaughter. We are all richer for our relationship with Amund, and still cherish the opportunities to ski with him, or to invite him over for dinner and storytelling by a roaring fire, recalling our vast experiences in Snowmass over these past 33 years.
BaseCamp's proximity to the mountain allowed our two daughters to explore nature and develop a deep love and healthy respect of the great outdoors. They have become excellent backcountry skiers and backpackers. They celebrated a recent birthday by camping in the high-country at Snowmass Lake and climbing Snowmass Peak - a ‘fourteener’- one of nine in the Aspen area.
When I think of BaseCamp, it brings to mind experiences over the years, that have shaped the relationship between our daughters, my husband and myself and the mountains. Our girls have developed from small, curious children to strong, confident women who are good, respectful stewards of Mother Nature’s environment. They appreciate, to this day, growing up and thriving on the edge of a magnificent wilderness. I can only hope that they will share their love and passion for nature with their families. What I call the BaseCamp Expérience.
The location of this magical mountain retreat gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself to become more than you ever thought possible. This home has a history, but welcomes the next owners to create their own memories anew”.
Extracting the Family From City Life
HNW families, for whom skiing is their passion, view the slope-side Ski-In/Ski-Out single-family home as the pinnacle of vacation homes at the world’s most prestigious resorts. The health-security premium tied to the ultimate in Social Distancing, combined with the trend toward executive-exit from city living, finds many high net worth titans of industry surprised by the difficulty of acquiring a Snowmass ski home for their family in this exclusive category, for under $5.5M. There literally aren’t any on the market at this time.
For the present season, the Aspen Skiing Company has added additional tents outside of their on-mountain restaurants to facilitate a safer environment for their capacity-limited, socially distanced ski patrons. Ski-In/Ski-Out homeowners on Wood Run in Snowmass enjoy the option to ski into the house for lunch with the entire family, and then get right back out on the slopes. According to Karin: “We almost always skied in neck-gators for protection from the sun and cold, so we don’t even consider it ‘masking-up’ to ski in our own backyard – it’s just second nature.”
Summer through fall is a magical time to be situated amid the hiking and biking available on the mountain, as high as you choose to go. Featuring 25 miles of trails over 3,000 vertical feet from the top of the Elk Camp chairlift to the Base Village, Snowmass Bike Park has become a tremendously popular summer destination for mountain biking enthusiasts of all skill levels. A Bike-In/Bike-Out Home is as good as it gets, with the Elk Camp lift running all summer/fall.
A Tight Real Estate Market
Word-of-mouth and pocket-listings are increasingly relied upon by Aspen/Snowmass brokers representing would-be buyers, in the tightest real estate market in memory. As a longtime Real Estate Broker specializing in both Equestrian Estates and Ski-In/Ski-out properties throughout the greater Aspen Valley, Carol Dopkin was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s September 30, 2020 article on this very topic:
“You can take your skis for a very short walk or click them on and you go out and then you ski back into the house,” says Carol Dopkin, an agent with Engel & Völkers Aspen. The homes are a commodity among skiers. “I think ski-in/ski-out impacts value hugely, everywhere,” said Ms. Dopkin.
Forest Lane on Snowmass Ski Area
At $4.5M, Karin is happy to offer her treasured ski property directly via private sale to a family who will carve their own experiences and make new memories. The 3,219 square foot home has just been remodeled with $500,000 in upgrades. With four bedrooms (three king and one with four bunk beds), 4.5 bathrooms and a bonus loft/office, beautifully updated new kitchen, an open plan dining room, a great living room with a wood-burning fireplace and a two-car garage on Forest Lane on Snowmass Ski Area, this home also makes for a very popular vacation rental, should the new owner choose to supplement their income.
The home next door is listed at $9M and several families of great wealth live a few doors down the street. Karin perceives her home, which is situated on a half-acre amid a mature spruce and aspen forest, with identical ski access as her neighbors, to be a wonderful investment opportunity in a market where there are literally no comparables in her price range.
A $6.95M home just a few doors down from Karin’s is listed by Will McCullough of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. According to Will, “Post-Covid, the Buyers have shifted their interest to single family homes. While not in the same price range as homes in Aspen, the properties in Snowmass with ski access such as 1400 Wood Road continue to demand a premium.”
Also with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s, long time Aspen developer, John Sarpa, adds the Aspen perspective. “While Aspen & Snowmass are known for their exceptional skiing, ski access from one’s home can come at a steep premium. True ski-in/ski-out access at Aspen Mountain is limited to a few single-family homes in excess of $20M, a limited number of condo complexes, and a handful of hotels.”
“The Sky Residences at the new W Aspen allow one to own a true ski-in/ski-out property at the base of Aspen Mountain at a fraction of the cost of full ownership. Starting at only $590,000, the Residences have access to world class skiing as well as all W Aspen signature amenities and a private, Residences-only roof deck with spa, spacious seating areas, outdoor kitchen, and fire pit”, says Sarpa.
As Aspen’s newer neighbor, Snowmass has really become synonymous with Aspen. This photographer’s playground of adventure and discovery includes direct access to Government Trail, enabling a downhill hike into Aspen directly from your Wood Run home.
Snowmass Village boasts a plethora of world-class restaurants, the stunningly beautiful Snowmass Club Golf Course and of course shopping!
The Aspen/Snowmass Valley is a mind-body-spirit renouri