They don’t outnumber locals — yet — but celebrities have made Aspen, Colorado their playground for decades, and their numbers have surged during the pandemic.
Mariah Carey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dakota Johnson, Elton John, Katy Perry and several Karadashians have been spotted in this mountain town of around 8,000 people, a ski destination for the ultra-rich.
The A-list mystique has also propelled Aspen real estate prices to high altitudes. Case in point: A 10-bedroom, 18,000-square-foot home sold last month for a whopping $69 million.
But Aspen is not the end of exclusive mountain living. A number of high-end ski resorts across the United States offer Aspen’s level of luxury at sweeter prices, and without the wild scenes, hangers, and prowling paparazzi that celebrities can bring. To boot, some locals say, skiing at these resorts leaves the Aspen Mountains in powder. Here are five alternative ski resorts to Aspen:
Park City, UT
Founded in 1858 by soldiers in search of money, Park City is one of the few towns in Utah not founded by Mormons. Since then, it has also been discovered by ski enthusiasts and nature lovers, who have made Park City a year-round destination. The annual Sundance Film Festival, still going strong after nearly 40 years, also attracts a large contingent of celebrities every January.
For outdoor enthusiasts, “we compete with places like Aspen on ease of access,” according to Ben Fisher, co-owner of the Fisher Group at Summit Sotheby’s in Park City. “It’s easy to get flights to Salt Lake City and then drive 30 minutes to get here which is a huge selling point.” Unlike Aspen, “which is more of a second home market, Park City has more of a primary community vibe,” he said. While visitors predominate in quaint downtown Park City and ski destinations like the upscale Deer Valley Resort, full-time residents predominate in areas like Snyderville Basin, about nine miles north of downtown. city, Mr. Fisher said.
According to Realtor.com, the median home price in Park City was $1.85 million in September. “On the outskirts of Park City, the entry price for a single-family home is around $1 million and around $2 million in Park City proper,” Fisher noted. According to Realtor.com, the upscale Deer Valley Resort is virtually forming its own real estate market, with its median home price reaching $2.297 million. During the pandemic, prices have doubled in some areas, Fisher said. “Now things are slowing down, but prices are mostly staying the same.” Park City listings include this 9,390 square foot castle-like home with panoramic views for $11.5 million.
After: Pools with a view for $10 million and more
Big Sky, Montana
Although Aspen is best known “for its chic couture shopping, and skiing perhaps a close second, Big Sky still feels like the authentic mountain of the West,” said Martha Johnson, founding broker and vice-president. President of Sales at The Big Sky Real Estate Co. “Shopping here is geared more towards a new fly fishing shirt.
Big Sky’s real estate market “went crazy” during the pandemic, Ms Johnson said. In January 2020, the median home listing price was $1.1 million; by September 2022, it had doubled.
“People have moved into their second homes here, found places to rent or got Airbnbs,” Ms Johnson said. “Then they found out we had great air service through Bozeman [Montana] and fiber throughout the city, so the reverse route could be a reality. The dual result was “price pressure and virtually no inventory,” although sellers began trading “in certain segments,” she said. Ms. Johnson’s Big Sky listings include a four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom, 5,641-square-foot Spanish Peaks home for $10.5 million.
Big Sky’s walkable downtown “is primarily a condo market,” Ms. Johnson said, close to bars, restaurants, cultural venues and a farmers’ market. Just outside the center, resorts like Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and Moonlight Basin offer listings “from $5 million to $25 million”, Ms Johnson said. In nearby neighborhoods like Meadow Village, “there’s a bit more inventory, with prices ranging from around $700,000 to over $3 million,” she said. “The market is stabilizing because buyers don’t want to pay too much. But we don’t see any softening on the luxury side.
Case in point: New residences from hotel brands Montage and One&Only Resorts are selling out, Ms. Johnson said.
After: Five Beach Home Hot Spots That Aren’t the Hamptons
Aspen and Ketchum “are relatively remote, nestled in the mountains and have a historic feel,” said Kirsten DeHart, associate broker at Wood River Properties in Ketchum. But the similarities end there.
“Everyone says our prices have gone up so much, but Aspen is twice as expensive,” said Ms. DeHart, who traveled to Aspen in April when her daughter competed in a ski race. “Aspen makes Sun Valley look like a bargain,” she told customers in an April email.
Ketchum has a unique character that’s “very Idaho,” Ms. DeHart said. “We have jetset people, but they are a minority. You still see a lot of pickup trucks with dirt bikes or mountain bikes. There is agriculture to the south and one of the most remote mountain ranges in the United States. You still see the element of rugged individualism. I raised my family here and I wouldn’t have anything else.
Ketchum’s tiny downtown features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses and condos, Ms. DeHart said, with entry prices around $750,000 for a one-bedroom condo and 1.5 million dollars for a detached house. “But the condos hit $7 million and we had single-family listings for $15 million,” she said. The West Ketchum neighborhood is highly sought after for its easy access to downtown and skiing, Ms. DeHart said.
Median listing prices in Ketchum peaked at $2.172 million in March 2022, according to Realtor.com, more than double the median price of $925,000 in October 2019. In September, however, median listing prices were down to $1.2 million. “Things are calming down,” Ms. DeHart said. The luxury market remains solid; local listings include a five-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom, 12,624-square-foot mountain lodge on 4.6 acres for $16.9 million.
After: Five Beach Home Hot Spots That Aren’t the Hamptons
Nearly 75% of Stowe buyers are second home buyers from out of state, drawn by “what I call romantic nostalgia,” said Craig Santenello, chief broker at Vermont Life Realtors in Stowe. . “It’s like America 30 years ago. School board and town meetings are always civil. Among the home shoppers are “tech-rich people, city dwellers who want a slower pace, and people weary of weather issues — we don’t have wildfires, floods, or hurricanes,” did he declare. Skiing is a huge buying factor, “but not the only one. Our summers are busier than the winters, and there’s plenty to do.
Stowe’s residential real estate market has seen a “stratospheric” increase since the pandemic, Mr. Santenello said. Most buyers acquire second homes “to rent them out when they are not there, and 10% buy to rent and never set foot there. And the short-term rental market here cannot be overstated.
The average selling price of a home in the second quarter of 2022 was $980,000, “down from just over $1 million” in the same period last year, Ms. Santenello. New York, Boston and Montreal are huge feeder markets for Stowe real estate, he added.
Stowe’s condo market has been “amazing,” with some units more than doubling in value during the pandemic. “But stocks are very low,” he said. And the price of land “has easily doubled or tripled” in a decade, he added. Among his listings: A two-bedroom, three-bathroom cottage on 230 acres for $17.5 million
While the weakness of the internet had long been a “sticking point” for buyers, “[
-backed satellite internet company] Starlink has been a godsend since launching here in February,” Mr. Santenello said. “I had a lot of potential buyers who needed speed for longer term stays.”
After: 5 Penthouses with Oasis terraces from $10 million
Access to skiing in Truckee-Tahoe, near the California-Nevada border, “is far better than anything Aspen has to offer,” said Christy Morrison, agent at Corcoran Global Living in Truckee. “And the prices are much lower.” In fact, the region is home to the largest cross-country ski area in North America, the Royal Gorge resort in Soda Springs.
Easy access to Truckee-Tahoe also provides an advantage over Aspen, Ms. Morrison said. “We’re about 25 minutes from Reno International Airport, which is well connected but small enough to be manageable. You have to take a commuter plane from Denver to get to Aspen,” she said.
Property values here have “doubled” during the pandemic, Ms Morrison said. Average prices are now hovering around $1 million, although a post-Covid rebalancing has reduced prices by around 10%. In the luxury community of Martis Camp, with its members-only ski facilities and golf courses, home prices soar an average of $10 million to $12 million” for very cool, modern 4,000-square-foot mountain homes. at 8,000 square feet,” she said.
“But the community is very eclectic. You have ski enthusiasts next to people who just sold a business and live in Martis Camp,” she said. “Downtown Truckee has great food and great nightlife, and you have great Mexican restaurants because we’re in California.” Ms. Morrison’s listings include a three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,667-square-foot Mountain-Modern home for $2.995 million.
(Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Dow Jones and Realtor.com are owned by News Corp.)
This article originally appeared on World Mansion.