Luxury Ski Resort Real Estate Enjoying Strong Comeback in U.S.

By Michael Gerrity | January 28, 2015 8:53 AM ET

Luxury ski mountain real estate is making a strong comeback this winter as major resort purchases and eight-figure sales are signifying unprecedented growth in North American ski towns.

From high-profile resort acquisitions and multi-million dollar home sales to a resurgence of luxury residential construction projects, 2014 was a year of unprecedented growth for North American ski towns. The following highlights the latest mountain town real estate news that will bring long-term effects for 2015 and beyond. 

Vail Resorts Acquired Park City Mountain

Vail Resorts' $182.5 million purchase of Park City Mountain Resort, a surprise announcement made in September after a lengthy legal battle with Powdr Corporation, had an immediate impact on Park City sales and listing prices. The town saw a 43 percent year-over-year increase in pending properties after Vail's acquisition and a 71 percent increase in condo sales, according to a study of Park City's market in the six weeks following the sale. Vail's announcement to connect Park City Mountain Resort with neighboring Canyons Resort, which is already part of the Vail umbrella, will give Park City the United States' largest ski area in the 2015-2016 season, complete with a $50 million capital improvement.

Eco-Friendly, Luxury, and Commercial Developments Emerged  

2014 also marked a resurgence of new, large-scale construction projects, including the completion of Aspen's first downtown condo building since the recession, the Dancing Bear Aspen, and Auberge Resort Sun Valley, the first new project in the greater Sun Valley Resort area since the early 1990s. The year also brought innovation in luxury construction, led by Park City's Echo Spur community. The seven-home development near Historic Main Street is the town's first sustainable development and one of the first eco-friendly residential projects to emerge in a ski area. Utilizing recently developed technologies, the homes feature solar, superinsulation and water management strategies to reduce the cost of home ownership. Listing prices range from $2.7 to 3.5 million.

Another big year-end announcement in Park City came when the iconic Kimball Art Center building, located on a high-profile corner of Park City's Historic Main Street, sold to California-based developer, LCC Properties. The building was listed at $8 million.    

Ultra-Luxury Homes Sold Outside Aspen    

Aspen unsurprisingly led the ski town real estate market in 2014 with $1.1 billion in overall sales through December, but Pitkin County did not solely claim the year's highest-priced chalet, signifying increased interest in other Western ski areas. Montana's "Mountain Chateau," a $20 million estate in Big Sky's private Yellowstone Club matched Aspen's highest listing. Oprah Winfrey's purchase of a 60-acre $10.85 million estate in Telluride, Tom Cruise's listing price of $59 million for his Telluride estate, and the sale of an $8.1 million Deer Valley home, which sold while still under construction, further demonstrate the increasing demand for high-end, mountain resort real estate.