About Telluride

3 Restaurants Heating Up Telluride's Dining Scene

Wood Ear
Wood Ear's Asian-with-a-twist dishes are (almost) too pretty to eat. Photo courtesy of Michael Schaffer
EAT AND DRINK

Timber Room, Wood Ear Whiskey Lounge & Noodle Bar, and LittleHouse offer a trio of delicious reasons to visit the southwest Colorado town.

Special Thanks  

You’ll never go hungry in Colorado’s mountain towns—picturesque locales as well known for their tasty cuisine as their outdoor pursuits. In Telluride, diners are already hard-pressed to cross every eatery off their lists, from Eliza Gavin’s beautiful, fine-fining plates at 221 South Oak to adventure-fueling breakfast sandwiches at the Butcher & the Baker to some of the state’s best Thai cuisine at Siam. On a recent road trip through southwestern Colorado, we discovered three newer spots to add to that lineup.

Timber Room

The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection in Mountain Village recently underwent some major renovations (by that, we mean $10 million in upgrades), which included reimagining its lobby bar and après lounge. Timber Room opened in mid-January with seating designed for romantic evenings and couches for lounging with friends, as well as plenty of outdoor space. Executive chef Bill Greenwood’s menu is focused on shareable items, such as deviled eggs (our favorite was topped with house-cured char and dill) and local elk tartare. If you’re really hungry after a day on the slopes, we suggest splurging on one of the five “Feast” boards. The 20-ounce Rocky Mountain elk loin arrived perfectly cooked, topped with a huckleberry jus that cut the gaminess, and paired with a tangle of roasted veggies. It all sat atop on a cutting board made of native hardwoods by local woodworker Matt Downer.

The true highlight, though, is the cocktails. The Botanica Sour is an easy-sipping blend of gin, egg white, toasted coriander, and clementine. The New Fashioned is built around the slow-drip, house-infused spiced bourbon—inspired by a Japanese coffee brewing method. You can watch the hours-long process yourself as Buffalo Trace Bourbon trickles through a spice blend (cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, star anise, and more) and into a beaker on the wood bar. The spirit is then blended with house-made bitters for a well-balanced, boozy tipple. 568 Mountain Village Blvd., Mountain Village

Timber Room
The made-for-sharing Wagyu, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye at Timber Room. Photo courtesy of Timber Room

Wood Ear Whiskey Lounge & Noodle Bar

Friends Matthew Arnold (managing partner) and Kevin Bush (chef) opened this modern ramen bar in June 2018, but like most restaurateurs, they’ve made some changes in response to the pandemic. Currently, the subterranean spot is focusing on a tight selection of dishes that work well to-go. Don’t expect classic Asian eats. The food is a compilation of fun twists on American classics (like a wasabi Caesar salad and Buffalo cauliflower made with ginger and Sambal, a chile paste) and unexpected takes on Asian bites. Arnold and Bush both hail from Texas, and smoked brisket and pork shoulder can be found in three of the ramen options. We suggest the Hill Country, which blends the brisket with a rich, smoked bone broth, grilled corn, pickled carrots, and, of course, wood ear mushrooms. Another solid pick is the cold forbidden noodle salad, which tops black rice noodles, lotus root chips, watermelon radishes, and other vegetables with an addicting tahini-sesame dressing.

Behind the long, wooden bar—carved in the 1860s, you can still spot bullet holes in its frame, a reminder of the venue’s history as a brothel and saloon—diners will find about 100 whiskeys, with a focus on Japanese varieties, and 50 mezcals and tequilas. General manager Kent Barrow’s extensive cocktail list is equally playful, spinning smoky flavors or Japanese spirits into familiar tipples. Our favorite is the Samurai’s Sword, a twist on the well-known Penicillin drink that blends Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky, lemon, honey, and ginger.

Arnold is in the process of acquiring a new barbecue pit and expects Wood Ear to start smoking additional meats and even selling them directly to customers in the coming months. Look for patio seating to open this summer. 135 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride

LittleHouse
The deli and pastry case at LittleHouse. Photo by author

LittleHouse

Step just off East Colorado Avenue, Telluride’s main drag, and you may find yourself wandering into LittleHouse. You’ll be glad you took the less-trodden path. The European deli meets bakery meets happy hour hangout is welcoming both because of its indoor-outdoor ambience courtesy of a garage door and the delectable scents that waft out of said door. Launched by chefs Erich Owen and Ross Martin—the team behind the National—in December, LittleHouse is a casual spot, but the food from executive chef Will Nolan is thoughtful and scratch-made.

Choose your own adventure, whether that’s grabbing a cup of a daily rotating soup or a cold-case salad to-go; sitting down for a falafel sub amped up with harissa aïoli (one of seven sandwiches on the menu); or cutting into crispy skin salmon for dinner with a glass of wine. Don’t forget to order a house-made sweet to cap off your meal; the Swiss chocolate cake is a staff favorite. 219 W. Pacific Ave., Telluride

Four Seasons hotel approved in Telluride, Mountain Village CO

TMVOA sells property near gondola station for $9 million

  • Special Thanks Justin Criado, Telluride Daily Planet Editor

Lot 161 CR

An aerial view of Lot 161C-R near the gondola station in Mountain Village. (Courtesy image)

The Four Seasons, an internationally recognized luxury hotel and resort brand, is coming to Mountain Village, at least that’s the plan, as the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a purchase-sale agreement with developers Merrimac Ventures during its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“We are now underway with the development of Lot 161 with a world-class developer, a substantial financial partner, and we look forward to moving through that process,” board chair Jim Royer said.

Board directors who work at Telski — Chad Horning, Jeff Proteau and Tom Richards — did not participate in the vote. Recently appointed director Abbott Smith recused himself due to “family ties” with one of the developers.

The 2.8 acre property, Lot 161C-R, sits to the northeast of the gondola transfer station abutting the Village Core. TMVOA purchased the lot for $8.1 million in 2015 and sold it to Merrimac for $9 million — a price that reflects the money TMVOA spent on legal fees during litigation with nearby Ridge property owners since the initial purchase.

“We went through a long and structured period of negotiating a settlement so that we can get all of the confusion expunged from the title of Lot 161,” Royer said, calling the process a “Gordian knot.”

Merrimac Ventures President and CEO Dev Motwani plans to partner with Nadim Ashi of Fort Partners. The two are currently co-developing Florida’s Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale. Ashi also owns the Four Seasons Palm Beach and the Four Seasons Surf Club.

“We are excited to move forward with this project and bring an amazing luxury resort and residences to Mountain Village and the Telluride market. We have spent the last few years studying the market and truly believe this is the best ski town in North America,” Dev Motwani said in a TMVOA news release.

TMVOA’s Board-of-Managers for CO Lot negotiated the purchase-sale agreement with Motwani over the past two years.

“The entire Board-of-Managers are extremely pleased to have secured the PSA with such a qualified and experienced developer” board members Royer, Tim Kunda and David Mehl said in the release.

The hotel will also include a restaurant and spa “consistent with the standards of a luxury hotel brand,” TMVOA explained. Per the agreement with the Ridge residents, which was signed in 2019, there will also be 36 parking spaces, access to the gondola, and an area for loading and unloading materials on the property.

“Neither side got what they wanted; both sides got what they needed,” Royer said Wednesday.

If construction of a Four Seasons is not feasible for whatever reason, TMVOA has a back-up list of similar companies, which has not been shared publicly, that it would choose from.

“I can assure you that all of the alternative brands are five-star internationally recognized hotels, but the primary purpose of the effort will be to develop a Four Seasons,” Royer said.

The land has been considered well suited for a luxury hotel, and feedback received during a town planning program, which included Mountain Village, Telski and TMVOA, supported the idea, Royer said.

“In that planning program it became overwhelmingly apparent that residents, owners in Mountain Village, were interested in having a development of a flagship hotel or internationally recognized boutique hotel on that site, so TMVOA felt comfortable in pursuing the development and sale of that property,” he said.

No timeline for construction or completion has been publicly announced yet, though the hotel, along with its amenities, will benefit the area, Royer added.

“We expect the final product to be a very important addition to the Mountain Village and Telluride community,” he said.

TMVOA President and CEO Anton Benitez said more details will be shared whenever they’re available.

In other development news, Benitez explained that the organization is looking to build affordable housing on lots in the Timberview area of the Meadows and Lawson Hill. Both potential projects are in the preliminary stages, but board members agreed more regional affordable housing is crucial.

Similarly, Horning shared an update regarding Telski’s ongoing affordable housing plans.

“The ski company is taking a little bit more of leadership role in working through the workforce housing issues in the region. We’ve begun discussions with the Town of Telluride, a little bit with the Town of Mountain Village and the Forest Service on sites that are in all of those jurisdictions, and we’re working diligently on those,” he said. “The issues around employee housing are acute. We have real quality of life issues. We’re getting into mental health issues. … It’s just a big priority of mine personally that we be a leader to figure that out. I think TMVOA can be a leader in that as well.

Director John Volponi applauded the efforts, especially since the projects would create more housing options in the Mountain Village and Telluride areas.

“It’s a hugely crucial issue not only for attracting but retaining employees. I’m glad to hear we’re working on some options closer to Telluride and Mountain Village because I don’t believe that the solution is building housing that is 45 minutes to two hours away. That certainly impacts their quality of life,” he said.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Horning was named the new board chair in receiving votes from Proteau, Richards and Smith. Royer, who became chair after Bill Jensen’s departure in August, will now be vice chair, replacing Proteau.

Telluride Mountainfilm moving outside

Documentary film fest to host small, in-person festival gatherings

  • Special Thanks Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter

Mountainfilm

While participants can expect COVID-19-related precautions, Mountainfilm fans can look forward to some in-person events for this year's festival. Pictured here, a group of students spoke with Hollywood director Tom Shadyac during a director talk at the 2019 festival. (Planet file photo)

For many film lovers in the Telluride area and beyond, the word “Mountainfilm” conjures not only images of intro reels in darkened theaters, ice cream on Main Street and stars sparkling over the big screen in Town Park, but also a unique combination of experiences: inspiration welling up during talks and films, the expansion of one’s mind while diving into new topics and the feeling of connecting with others.

Last year, at the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it came as a blow to thousands when the virus forced the cancelation of the in-person festival, an annual source of inspiration and herald of the summer season in Telluride. This year, Mountainfilm festival fans can celebrate a step towards normalcy. Earlier this month, festival organizers announced plans to hold a scaled-down version of the in-person festival, along with another year of robust online programming for those who wish to stay home or cannot attend.

“We’ve got some pretty incredible guests in the works coming to give presentations or Q&As following their films,” marketing manager Cara Wilder said. “Mountainfilm has a way of lighting that fire in our souls — something we could all use a little more of after the last year. We are hoping by being able to have a couple of small, in-person screenings that we can reignite that energy, even if it looks a little different.”

This year’s in-person offerings will not match those rosy memories of large crowds of mingling festivalgoers, and festival organizers want to be clear that “because of the pandemic, this festival will look much different than previous Mountainfilm festivals,” as stated on thewebsite. Events this year will occur primarily in outdoor venues, guests can expect smaller-than-usual capacity limitations and ticketing will be done via an online reservation system. All events will follow state and local requirements for COVID-19 precautions, and events may be subject to last minute changes or cancelation, if necessary.

That said, organizers are “working to scratch that itch with a small, in-person event” to the degree public health regulations allow, while maintaining a safe environment for festival participants. In January, Mountainfilm announced its 2021 guest director, mountaineer and local Telluride resident Hilaree Nelson, who herself has been the subject of many films screened at Mountainfilm, as well as a longtime festival attendee. Nelson, in addition to her impressive achievements in mountaineering that include the first ski descent of Lhotse, is also an activist who has worked with Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit to protect wild spaces.

“Having lived in Telluride for nearly 20 years, Mountainfilm means the world to me,” Nelson said in a news release announcing her guest directorship. “It marks the transition from winter to summer and, like the natural swing of the seasons, the festival is about growth, it’s about being inspired: a community seeking to change the world for the better through shared ideas and exploration. It’s a time when we come out of our winter shells and engage with people through films, on the sidewalk and on the trails.”

This year, in-person festivalgoers will have the opportunity to connect once more, especially in outdoor spaces and venues. Due to the potential for change to the planned 2021 in-person festival, organizers encourage those interested in participating in this year’s Mountainfilm festival to strongly consider Mountainfilm Online as an option, which still provides the sense of awe and connection through watching eye-opening films with loved ones from the safety of home. The online festival will run for seven days, with passes currently on sale for $150 for an individual or $250 for a household pass.

As organizers stated earlier in March: “We get it. You miss Mountainfilm and we miss you.” This May, whether attending an in-person festival event over Memorial Day weekend from May 28-31 or enjoying the online festival from May 31 to June 6, fans of the documentary film festival will have options to watch films, connect and embrace new ideas.

“We are so stoked to have the opportunity to bring some semblance of Mountainfilm to Telluride, even in this scaled back version,” Wilder said. “While the in-person festival is exciting, and we know folks are craving those experiences, we do recommend the online festival as the best opportunity to see most of what Mountainfilm 2021 has to offer.”

Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Telluride, Colorado

This artsy mountain town is perfect for a nature-filled weekend. 

Telluride Colorado
DOUGBERRY/Getty

With its pristine snow and quirky mountain town vibe, it’s no secret that Telluride is a cold-weather paradise for downhill skiing and other winter adventures. But it’s when the temperatures start to climb that this historic mining community in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains really shines.

From beloved bluegrass and film festivals to vibrant wildflower hikes, Telluride comes alive in the spring and summer. The town is home to a robust art scene, yet its location, some 330 miles southwest of the hustle and bustle of Denver makes it the perfect place to recharge.

Here, you’ll find a mix of creatives, avid outdoorspeople, naturalists, successful retirees, celebrities (Oprah Winfrey is among those who reportedly own second homes here), and just about everyone in between. Despite its popularity, Telluride has (thankfully) also managed to hang onto its free-spirited character throughout the years and remains a favorite, down-to-Earth Colorado destination.

Here’s how to plan a weekend trip to Telluride—and what to do once you arrive. Before you head out, familiarize yourself with Telluride’s COVID-19 protocols and read up on the latest state coronavirus restrictions and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Getting there

Fly into Telluride Regional Airport, just six miles west of downtown, by way of Denver International Airport (which you can reach with non-stop flights from hundreds of cities).

You can also fly into Montrose Regional Airport, located about an hour away, which offers non-stop flights from Denver, ChicagoHouston, Phoenix, and Dallas during the summer. From the Montrose airport, hop onto a shuttle into town—Telluride is just eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long, so you can walk everywhere after you arrive. If you’re planning to explore further afield, you can also rent a car.

Another option: Fly into Denver or Salt Lake City, rent a car or an RV, and make the scenic drive to Telluride; both cities are about six hours away by car.

pDowntown Telluride delivers on charming mountain town vibes.p

Downtown Telluride delivers on charming mountain town vibes.

 Photography by Deb Snelson

What to do

Telluride is the place to be in the spring and summer, thanks to its plentiful outdoor activities—mountain biking, rock climbing, golfing, road cycling, kayaking, 4X4 off-roading and ATVing, rafting, and camping, just to name a few—all set against a picturesque backdrop of rugged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, streams, and rolling meadows. Whether you’re a casual adventurer or an extreme athlete, the experienced guides at outfitters like San Juan Outdoor Adventures and Telluride Outside can help you get started.

A popular, easy-going hike that will help you acclimate to the altitude (Telluride sits at 8,750 feet above sea level) is the 2.4-mile roundtrip trek to Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest of their kind in Colorado. For a more challenging, full-day excursion, hike the Sneffels Highline Trail, a difficult 12.4-mile out-and-back route with gorgeous wildflowers that starts at the edge of downtown.

Tap a guide, like those at Mountain Trip, to complete Telluride’s via ferrata route. The via ferrata, which means “iron way” in Italian, involves hiking, climbing, and mountaineering across two miles of steel rungs drilled into a sheer cliff face. You’ll wear a helmet and climbing harness that’s attached to a steel cable most of the time, and the via ferrata doesn’t require any technical climbing experience—but at 600 feet above the forest floor, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

In addition to outdoor recreation, downtown Telluride is home to art galleries and independently owned shops (and some big-name brands like Burton and Patagonia), perfect for an afternoon of browsing outdoor gear, books, home decor, and more. Scope out the massive selection of hanging wall hooks at the aptly named shop Hook, then find your newest read at Between the Covers Bookstore next door. For leather bags, belts, wallets, and gifts, stop at Crossbow Leather, where owner/designer Macy Pryor handcrafts each item in her on-site workshop.

Book a guided walking tour, led by a historian from the Telluride Historical Museum, to learn about Telluride’s architecture (which runs the gamut from elegant Victorians to mining shacks) and rich history, starting with the Ute tribes who spent their summers along the San Miguel River through to the rowdy fortune-seekers who flocked here during the silver-mining boom. Telluride’s downtown core has been a National Historic Landmark District since 1964.

Where to eat

Start the day with a pastry and a “Day Maker” sandwich (eggs, white cheddar, breakfast sausage, pepper jam, and arugula on an English muffin) from The Butcher & the Baker. For lunch, you can’t beat the tacos at Gnarly Tacos, like the Korean barbecue or the braised pork belly (it’s best to go early in the day, too, since this place usually has a line out the door come dinner time).

Enjoy dinner under the stars on the patio of 221 South Oak, an upscale restaurant with a full vegetarian menu featuring thoughtful dishes like house-made potato gnocchi with hazelnut chili oil, and grilled maitake with goji berry and walnut jam. (You might recognize owner/chef Eliza Gavin from her appearances on “Top Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”)

Grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the historic New Sheridan Hotel, which has been hosting travelers since 1891. (You can dine al fresco throughout Telluride, as many bars and restaurants are offering extra COVID-safe outdoor seating on patios, sidewalks, and parklets this year.)

For a totally unique experience, grab a bite from one of the dozen restaurants at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, then walk over to your own private repurposed ski gondola at The Cabins at Mountain Village to enjoy your food.

No visit to Colorado is complete without a flight of tasty craft beers, so head to Stronghouse Brew Pub, which opened last year inside a historic stone building, or Smuggler Union Restaurant and Brewery, with a blonde ale that won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

Madeline Hotel Residences Auberge Resorts Collection

Bed down at the cozy Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection.

 Courtesy Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection

Where to stay

The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, located at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, is an ideal basecamp for your trip. This updated 83-room alpine retreat, which also features 71 residences, is surrounded on three sides by the San Juan Mountains and offers stunning views from its 4,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, complete with a heated pool, massive hot tubs, fire pits, and al fresco lounge. A free gondola ride from the ski area gets you to downtown Telluride in just 13 minutes.

In downtown Telluride, the boutique 21-room Hotel Columbia is a quick walk to shops, restaurants, the gondola, and the scenic San Miguel River Trail. The hotel is dog-friendly and offers an array of light-filled rooms, suites, and penthouses. Led by chef/owner Chad Scothorn, the award-winning, on-site Cosmopolitan restaurant—known locally as "The Cosmo"—offers an impressive wine list and New American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to ask for a table in the spacious new "Cosmo Backyard" outdoor space across the street.

Telluride Venture Accelerator launches new phase

 

  • Special thanks to the Montrose Daily Press

The Telluride Venture Accelerator, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, is launching a new chapter and rebranding as Telluride Venture Network (TVN).

Launched in 2013, the Telluride Venture Network is a nationally recognized, award-winning entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports new, innovative, and growing businesses. TVN is rooted in the history of innovation for which the Telluride region is known, including Nicolai Tesla’s first AC power transmission to power the mines, as well as the creation of a world class ski resort. TVN’s mission to diversify the regional economy has resulted in 50 graduating companies, dozens of new jobs, millions of investment dollars raised, 1,000-plus hours of mentoring, and the birth of a high-impact efforts such as the Telluride Venture Fund (TVF), a regional loan fund, and an active co-working space.

“We are all incredibly excited about TVN’s next phase” said TVN founder and Telluride board member Jesse Johnson. “This is a world-class organization with one of the strongest mentor communities in the country. TVN has been and will continue to be on the forefront of innovation and finding solutions, all from our beautiful outpost in the mountains.”

Over the years, TVN has surfaced a large local business mentor and investor network, which the Telluride Foundation wants to leverage as a powerful force to help expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem, support local business, and create an intellectually stimulating community for all its members.

Having a mentor can change the playing field for a small business. Research has shown that small businesses that receive mentoring early in the development of their business achieve higher revenues and increased business growth. A 2014 survey by the UPS Store found that 70 percent of small businesses that received mentoring survived more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses. The same survey found that 88 percent of business owners with a mentor said that having one was invaluable.

While TVN will develop a mentor and investor network to support entrepreneurs graduating from TVN or growing ventures in the region, it will also continue its well-established programs, including its focus on bootcamps, 10-day intensive sessions guided by seasoned mentors.

Bootcamp focus areas have included mining solutions, plastic alternatives, and growth and fundraising. In 2021, thanks to a generous supporter, TVN will be introducing a new, dedicated bootcamp focused on immigrant communities.

TVN serves as the Telluride Foundation’s signature program for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, startups, and related activities in the region and is an advocate for entrepreneurship and remote-worker resources at the town, county, and state level. TVN is just one of the Telluride Foundation’s programs to support an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes the Telluride Venture Fund, an early-stage investment fund, and the Telluride Regional Loan Fund, a $2 million working capital loan fund that supports rural business startup, growth, and job creation and retention in southwest Colorado.

The foundation has been recognized nationally for its innovation efforts as a community foundation, including being a founding member of the national Entrepreneurship Funders Network, along with the Kauffman, Blackstone, and Lemelson foundations, as well as having a board member role on Startup Colorado.

Leading these innovation efforts will be Bonnie Watson, managing director of the Telluride Venture Network. Watson came to the foundation in 2018 as its Southwest Capital & Transaction adviser to manage the Telluride Venture Fund and Telluride Regional Loan Fund, as well as focus on leveraging the Opportunity Zone designation of rural communities in the region.

Watson has been working directly with startup companies and small businesses in the region to create and coordinate new, as well as existing, sources of capital to help fund various business ventures. Now, Watson will expand her role to manage TVN’s restructuring.

Watson is excited for this new chapter in TVN’s journey. “This new chapter will help support entrepreneurs through accelerator bootcamps and capital (investors, loan fund, venture fund) but will heavily focus on leveraging our incredible team of mentors to build mentor teams for each entrepreneur,” she said. “The journey of entrepreneurship is marked by many uncertainties, but a mentor team can validate an idea and give vision to make a startup successful.”

As a Colorado native who grew up in Evergreen, Watson graduated from Colorado Mesa University with her B.A. in finance and later received her master’s degree in finance from Colorado State University. Previously, Watson worked in the traditional financing industry as a portfolio lender and taught finance at Colorado Mesa University. She and her husband are also owners of Alt Space (a co-working space) in Telluride.

Julie Penner will also be continuing to work with TVN as its Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Julie has served as the EIR for TVN for the past two years, facilitating the curriculum around theme-based bootcamps for startups working on plastics reduction, investment readiness, local food products, and mining reclamation technologies.

Penner has a deep background in running accelerators and coaching early-stage companies, and she is, now, leveraging this experience and knowledge to help companies in Telluride’s business ecosystem.

Penner comes to TVN after five years working at Techstars, a premier global accelerator, and more recently she spent a year as a venture partner for an early stage venture capital fund. She holds a JD/MBA from University of Colorado with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and a BA from Brown University. She began her career at Zeo, a Boston-based consumer hardware startup.

“I’ve witnessed a lot of great entrepreneurs moving to the Western Slope of Colorado over the last year,” said Penner. “I’m excited to expand TVN to incorporate the best mentors and entrepreneurs in our region, spurring growth in this area. It’s a very exciting time to be based in Colorado if you’re building a company.”

The Telluride Foundation is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants to nonprofits, owns, and operates programs that meet emerging and unmet community needs, and makes investments. For more information, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.

What will Summer Look Like in Telluride?

What will summer look like?

  • Special Thanks Michael Martelon, Telluride Tourism Board

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago when our lives changed forever as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Since then, as a community we have repeatedly risen to meet the many challenges the virus has wrought and now, with a fairly successful (but somewhat challenging) winter almost a wrap, we can see the finishing line of April 4 and offseason.

With that in mind, we at the Telluride Tourism Board, alongside local partners and in conjunction with the trio of local governments, are now turning our attention to summer.

Let’s begin first with how we think the summer of 2021 will look.

Even as an increasing amount of the population gets vaccinated, Americans look set to shun international travel and city getaways for a little while longer, and at the same time embrace the outdoors and outdoor recreation. They also look likely to drive instead of fly.

Accordingly, it seems probable that Telluride and Mountain Village, like other mountain towns across the West, will be popular just like last summer.

Of paramount importance to the tourism board, then, is continuing to act as a destination management organization, a posture that emphasizes protecting our town, our natural surroundings, and our identity and way of life.

What exactly does this mean?

First, it means an intensification of internal marketing and education — in other words, initiatives that are geared to visitors who are already here — on coronavirus safety, trails etiquette and clean-up, the importance of geotagging responsibly, and respecting the environment.

In this regard, we at the tourism board have partnered with the Telluride Mountain Club (on trails etiquette and clean-up days), the Telluride Ecology Commission and Mountain Village Green Team (respecting the environment) and others.

In addition, we welcome moves by the local governments to begin preparations now for communications, arrangements and infrastructure to make summer work.

At recent work sessions, Telluride Town Council continued to mull a revised outdoor dining plan that does not entail the closing of Main Street. Sure sounds like a good move, as it should prevent the traffic-flow issues that dogged our neighborhoods last summer.

Town council is also working on initiatives to ease pedestrian traffic flow, most especially on Colorado Avenue. These include encouraging use of Telluride Town Park and existing pocket parks like Elks Park and Spruce Park, identifying spaces alongside the river for picnicking, and the installation of more picnic tables and benches around town.

We are also looking at the possibility of continuing the Telluride ambassador program, whereby ambassadors can educate and direct people on COVID-related protocols and make activity suggestions designed to send people away from pinch points.

We plan to direct many visitors to Mountain Village to take advantage of the Telski’s bike park and new canopy tours, the cool outdoor dining scene, and common consumption area as well. Mountain Village Town Council has put in place initiatives to once again make Mountain Village a fun and pleasant place to be in the summer.

Last, we continue to make ourselves available to the arts and festivals communities as they sit down to their respective drawing boards to devise a vibrant but safe summertime arts scene.

We understand that Mountainfilm will be virtual this year, and Bluegrass may take the form of a series of smaller events (“a work in progress,” organizer Craig Ferguson told the Daily Planet last week).

What will the other festivals look like? How about Shakespeare in the Park and Art Walk? What role will the Transfer Warehouse play?

We know there are folks hard at work figuring this stuff out.

With all of this in mind, it’s worth remembering that Telluride, Mountain Village and the surrounding area are a single destination. Success this summer is based on our ability to collaborate on a unified response that addresses logistics, programming, communication and more.

The Telluride Tourism Board stands ready and waiting to be a conduit to our visitors, to educate, inspire and inform them — for example, by urging them to take the Tell-U-Right pledge at telluride.com/plan/blog/take-the-tell-u-right-pledge) — in ways that ensure that our community and natural surroundings, as well as our identity and way of life, are all protected.

Telluride Bluegrass reimagined

Festival organizers planning for bluegrass series or mini-festival

  • Special Thanks  Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter
    • Bluegrass

With the San Juan Mountains in the audience, Chris Thile starts the 2018 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Remember the days of a packed Town Park and festivals? The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 slate, but this summer, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival aims to reboot with a small festival tailored to comply with public health orders. (Planet file photo)

 

Across the Northern Hemisphere, the end of June is celebrated as the official beginning of summer, heralding long, golden days of sunshine at last. In Telluride, however, the weekend of the summer solstice is synonymous with the twang of the banjo, the capering of the fiddle and, of course, thousands of colorfully clad festivarians grinning as they boogie down en masse in front of the Town Park stage.

Nobody needs reminding that plans for last year’s 47th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival ground to a screeching halt shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the festival canceled for the first time ever in April. Now, a year into the pandemic as vaccine rollouts ease case numbers and deaths worldwide and the promise of warmer weather appears on the horizon, festival organizers are cautiously optimistic about hosting a reimagined Bluegrass festival in June.

“It’s a work in progress,” said festival organizer Craig Ferguson, noting that while juggling the evolving nature of ever-changing data and circumstances surrounding the pandemic, planners are moving forward with a festival or possible concert series, but that all plans are subject to change.

“If we’d been asked about a festival this summer six weeks ago, with where we were with the pandemic, we would have almost definitely had to say no,” he said.

As cases have dropped and restrictions have eased, however, organizers are laying the groundwork for a live festival, albeit a mini-version with fewer acts, fewer days and fewer festivarians. Organizers have crunched the numbers for Town Park’s capacity to allow for social distancing and currently anticipate that ticket sales will be sharply limited, as well as subject to approval by town authorities. Ferguson estimated that Town Park could host a maximum of 2,500 people when accounting for social distancing, a far cry from the usual 12,000 or so bluegrass fans that flock to the box canyon for the festival weekend in normal years.

However, organizers are also looking into the possibility of hosting a series of bluegrass shows across multiple weekends, allowing for smaller crowds but more opportunities for concertgoers to attend. Ferguson said that under this iteration, the first weekend would host the “old-timers” of the festival — the bands that have played at the festival the longest — with the subsequent weekends hosting popular groups of shorter tenure with the festival.

“It’s quite a process, and we’re not going to try to pretend that we can be what we usually are,” he said.

For example, craft vendors, Night Grass shows and the volunteer program may all have to be axed this year, due to concerns relating to the pandemic.

“Indoor stuff is just so much harder,” he said of Night Grass, the late-night shows popular at various indoor venues around town. “The idea that people are going to socially distance after beer 30, when it’s midnight — we just don’t want to take that kind of risk.”

Meanwhile, town officials continue discussions regarding summer festivals while incorporating public health guidance from the state and county as it arrives. Though county cases of the virus have dropped sharply over the past month, one lesson from the pandemic is that planning for the future is a task fraught with uncertainty, frustration and sometimes, last-minute changes.

Current public health restrictions, noted Telluride Mayor DeLanie Young, dictate that Town Park would be able to host a maximum of 500 people, but officials are hopeful that current virus trends will ease restrictions by summer and safely allow for higher capacity limitations.

“Generally speaking, council is optimistic that events can occur this summer and that our case trends and disease prevalence continues its downward trend,” she said, reflecting on discussions at last week’s Town Council meeting.

Ultimately, she observed, all events taking place on Town of Telluride property such as Town Park will have to be in compliance with state and county public health orders, and indicated that officials and organizers are currently waiting for further direction from the state about what precautions and restrictions will be required for summer events like festivals.

As for vaccines, Young said officials are not taking a stance either way on whether festival attendees need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The town is not taking any distinct position on requiring vaccinations,” she said, adding that private organizations may be able to do so.

For now, though many of the details are still in the works and all plans may change, it appears that some level of live bluegrass music in June is likely a go.

“It will all be so much clearer a month from now,” Ferguson said.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to dust off your favorite Bluegrass attire and blast some face-melting Sam Bush mandolin solos in preparation for the whatever version the 2021 Telluride Bluegrass Festival is able to take.

Travel Guide: Telluride, Colorado

Ski season isn’t over yet—especially not at this unspoiled Colorado resort, now just a direct flight away from Boston.

by · 

From day trips to weekend getaways, our biweekly Traveler newsletter shows you the best of New England and beyond.

 

In Telluride, the sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor pursuits. / Photo via Amy Tice/Eyeem/Getty Images

Lots of places like to claim the title of “Colorado’s last great undiscovered ski town,” but few deserve it as much as Telluride, tucked into a box canyon that’s closer to the Utah border than to Denver. Small, remote, and uncrowded, the resort comprises a 19th-century gold-mining town and the newer Mountain Village, connected by a free, 13-minute gondola ride that’s an inextricable part of the whole experience—not to mention absurdly scenic.

When there’s snow on the ground, as there usually is until April, skiing in Telluride is only the tip of the iceberg. Ice-skating, snow-shoeing, fat-tire biking, and snowmobiling on the valley floor—a designated conservation area—are all worthy winter pursuits. Adrenaline junkies will want to try high-altitude heli-skiing with Telluride Helitrax or ice-climbing at Mystic Falls, while the less adventurous will be happy just marveling at Bridal Veil Falls, the highest free-falling cataract in Colorado. In warmer weather, there are endless opportunities for biking, hiking, and fishing, and whether you want to view wildflowers or wildlife, the Uncompahgre National Forest won’t disappoint.

Looking for some après fun? Immerse yourself in the culture, food, and old-school charm of downtown Telluride, a designated National Historic Landmark District since 1964. For such a small area (only eight blocks wide by 12 blocks long), it boasts a surprisingly diverse array of restaurants, from the New Sheridan Chop House, a fine-dining stalwart housed in a historic 1895 hotel, to the casual but superb Taco del Gnar and Brown Dog Pizza. Telluride is also beloved by culture vultures, with a bona fide Arts District boasting an impressive array of galleries and venues, not to mention live music. Later in the year, visitors and locals alike flock to the internationally renowned Telluride Film Festival. Held annually on Labor Day weekend, the Oscars bell­wether has earned glowing praise from the likes of Roger Ebert, the New York Times, and Salman Rushdie.

In short, Telluride’s a small town that punches way above its weight, without the posers, paparazzi, and poor air quality of other high-end Colorado resorts. There is, indeed, gold in them thar hills, and you’ll find it here.

Getting There

Situated in the secluded south-west corner of Colorado, Telluride is about as far as you can get from the choked I-70 corridor that services better-known ski resorts like Vail and Aspen. In fact, the town has no traffic lights, and the nearest stop sign is 45 miles away. It’s a six-hour drive from Denver, but thanks to JetBlue, Bostonians can now fly nonstop from Logan to Montrose, Colorado, on the airline’s weekly Saturday service. From Montrose, it’s like driving through a snow globe for an hour and a half to reach this still-pristine ski town.

Staying There

Part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, the five-star Madeline Hotel and Residences in Mountain Village just emerged from a thorough facelift, with luxuriously refurbished guest rooms; reinvented public spaces, including the Timber Room resto-bar; and new amenities, such as the Recovery Ski Lounge, created by Olympian (and Telluride native) Gus Kenworthy.

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Navigating a low inventory market

Staggeringly Low Housing Inventory Across Colorado

Market TrendsMarket Trends & StatisticsREALTOR NewsResidential HousingStats & TrendsUncategorized

Tom Brady has more than 2X as many Super Bowl rings as there are houses for sale in southeast Boulder County

ENGLEWOOD, CO – Feb. 10, 2021 – While early February spotlights Groundhog Day and the annual prediction of spring’s arrival, the Colorado housing market just keeps reliving its long-term storyline of low inventory and high demand with no predictable change in sight, according to the January 2021 housing data from the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR).

With new, staggeringly low records for active single-family listings in the Denver metro area (1,994 properties) and statewide (5,241), maybe nowhere is it more evident than in southeast Boulder County where, following Sunday’s Super Bowl outcome, quarterback Tom Brady now has more than twice as many championship rings than there are homes for sale (3) in the city of Louisville, a community of a little more than 20,000 people, according to REALTOR® Kelly Moye. And the insatiable buyer demand through the winter months has continued the pricing uptick creating a relative feeding frenzy for each and every available property. “It appears that today’s quest to find the perfect home is remarkably similar to the quest to find toilet paper during the early days of the pandemic,” said Durango-area REALTOR® Jarrod Nixon.

Taking a quick home-buying tour around the state, the following chart highlights the median price of a single-family home in select Colorado counties at the end of January 2021 and ranked by the percentage increase in that price from a year prior.

Taking a look at some of the state’s local market conditions, Colorado Association of REALTORS® market trends spokespersons provided the following assessments:

AURORA

“303, -73.5%, $450,000 and 101.5%.  These are the numbers telling the story of Aurora’s single-family housing market for January. We have 303 available homes for sale with total listings down 73.5% from January 2020. Our median price of $450,000 is the result of homes selling on average for 101.5% of list price. 

“The townhome-condo market reflects much of the same with inventory down 63.5% over 2020 and the median price up 14.4% to $304,513. With interest rates extremely low and sellers fearful of a move due to COVID-19 or a number of other concerns, it is hard to tell when we will see the inventory numbers increase.

“For homebuyers, the beat goes on; be prepared to act quickly. Waiting to view a home and/or put an offer on that home may exclude you from that property. Homes are selling very quickly, and buyers need to plan to pay more than the list price. With many homes selling in excess of 100% of their list price, this is not a good time for a buyer to try and lowball on price. As we move into the higher demand time of year, we will be watching to see what direction pricing and inventory take,” said Aurora-area REALTOR® Sunny Banka.

BOULDER/BROOMFIELD
“Tom Brady has won more Superbowl Championships than there are houses for sale in Louisville, Colorado. Just outside of Boulder, the city of Louisville has exactly three houses for sale, two of which have offer deadlines which will likely mean they will sell by the time you’ve read this summary.

“Apparently, homeowners in Boulder County are loving where they live, or have chosen to remodel instead of moving, as our listings in this area are down 33%. Prices are up 10% and we have two weeks of inventory left. The dwindling inventory and high demand from buyers to move to this area has created nothing less than a ‘Hunger Games’ feel in the marketplace. Sellers are enjoying the higher prices and quicker sales but find themselves challenged with finding a replacement home. This situation has caused many to stay where they are, further exacerbating the problem.

“Broomfield County is sharing this experience with its Boulder neighbor, with listings down 25% and median home prices up a whopping 19% since this time last year. With only 10 days worth of inventory in this county, buyers scramble to buy houses, as well as attached townhomes and condos. We can look for some relief as the spring selling season approaches and hopefully, we have more listings hit the market. Buyers, sellers, and REALTORS® are becoming weary in what has been an unprecedented start to the year,” said Boulder/Broomfield-area REALTOR® Kelly Moye.

COLORADO SPRINGS/PIKES PEAK AREA 

“In January 2021, there were 460 active listings of Single-family/patio homes with 971 sales, compared to 4,326 active listings with 460 sales in January 2011. Also, from January 2011 to 2021, the average price rocketed 106% from $210,879 to $433,581, the median price soared 108% from $180,000 to $375,000, and the monthly sales volume exploded by 334% from $97,004,340 to $421,007,2004. So, it seems wise not to predict the future at this time.

“Last month, we recorded the highest level of monthly sales, monthly sales volumes, as well as record-high average and median sales prices compared to any January on record.The year-over-year single-family/patio home sales activity saw a 6% increase in monthly sales, over 22% increase in the months’ sales volume, a 16% increase in the average sale price, ascending to $433,581, and an over 11% increase in the median sale price rising to $375,000, with a shocking over 61% decline in the active listings.

“Last month, 76.6% of the single-family/patio homes sold were priced under $500,000, while 18.6% were between $500,000 and $800,000, and 4.7% over $800,000. Year-over-year, there was a 68% drop in the sale of single-family/patio homes priced under $300,000, primarily due to the inventory shortage, while we had a surprising 122% increases in homes priced between $400,000 and $600,000, and between $600,000 and $1 million, and an astounding over 133% increase in homes priced over $1 million.

“Buyers generally purchase properties offering competitive values, even in a vigorously robust real estate market. Unsurprisingly, even while the listings are at a shockingly low level, over 14% of the El Paso and Teller county active listings in the Pikes Peak MLS had price reductions. Undeniably, pathetically low inventory and affordability challenges due to ever-soaring prices continue to be the most challenging aspect of the Colorado Springs area housing market,” said Colorado Springs-area REALTOR® Jay Gupta.

COLORADO SPRINGS/PIKES PEAK AREA 

“The housing market sprinted to more new highs as we began 2021. The median sales price rocketed up 15.2% on single-family homes and the competition in the race between buyers is absolutely brutal. In order for a buyer to actually get a chance at winning a home they have to come in above full price, offer an appraisal gap in the double digits, and then hope that the other buyer isn’t playing with full cash. REALTORS® far and wide are writing 8-10 offers for their buyers only to have buyers give up and try to rent for another year. Anytime a buyer decides they want to put in an offer it’s like getting into the ring with Mike Tyson, you are going to get pummeled. 

“With over 2.7 million mortgages in forbearance and a moratorium placed on foreclosures, there seems to be little relief on the horizon. As we shed millions of jobs a month, the housing economy is once again shrugging it off. There is no good news in regard to the actual economy. The FED continues to offer trillions of dollars in relief while balancing inflation and economic fears. With so much printed money, far more than we have ever tried to print, there is no telling what the economy will do as we move forward. It seems the real balance now is trying to avoid inflation and manipulate interest rates.

“We are in a new era. These tactics have never been used by the FED like they are now and the more money that gets printed the higher the stock market and housing market goes. Are both in bubbles? I have no idea, but I can tell you that if inflation takes off and the only cure is higher interest rates to try to correct that, then we do have real problems. Like years past, we will have to deal with the market we are in today. So, if you are selling, it is going to be a great time to cash in on epic appreciation. If you are buying you are going to wish you were not. Let’s see how the year progresses and if we can get new jobless claims under control. If not, we will see that ripple through every part of the economy and housing will be the last to likely show it,” said Colorado Springs-area REALTOR® Patrick Muldoon.

CRESTED BUTTE/GUNNISON VALLEY

“The real estate numbers from all of the resort towns in Colorado tell a similar story – record sales, low inventory and increasing values. January 2021 did not provide any indication that there will be a dip or correction anytime soon.  January is typically the slowest month of the year for closings, but the number of sales this year was almost double the next highest January in the last 10 years and more than triple those in January 2020. Even more impressive, the dollar volume of sales was five times the volume we had in January 2020. This was partly due to the sheer number of sales, but there also were some substantial commercial and development opportunities that added to volume.

“While inventory is low, we continue to see properties come on the market as sellers realize now could be the perfect time to cash out and use the equity for another investment.  However, as in other areas, if you sell your property now, you may have trouble getting back into the market, so it is important to be clear on your next move. 

“Buyers in 2021 need to be prepared to move quickly and decisively. Those who are waiting for the next downturn could find themselves waiting a while as all indications point to continued growth and appreciation. 

“The Crested Butte and Gunnison area is unique among ski towns in that we have a lot of vacant land still available. Many buyers are choosing to build their dream home rather than try to find something existing that will work. The building process is not for everyone and there are also people building new homes for sale that will come on the market in the coming months. Planning to build is more involved than just buying a home or condo so make sure you have an expert to help you think through this process,” said Crested Butte-area REALTOR® Molly Eldridge.

DENVER COUNTY

“‘Desperate times call for desperate measures.’ It’s a saying we’re all familiar with and Denver’s real estate market has long-since crossed into the desperate. There is an impossibly low number of homes for sale and, in stark contrast, an almost limitless amount of competition for the few that do trickle in. This January, Denver saw 557 single-family homes enter the marketplace – a number not too far a deviation from previous years. What is strange however, is the fact that this 557 represents a 72.7% decrease in the supply – a direct metric of demand. Add to that only 213 homes available at any time vs. last January’s 709 and you’ve got a market that closely resembles a piranha exhibition at lunch,” said Denver-area REALTOR® Matthew Leprino.

DURANGO/LA PLATA COUNTY

“’Should I stay, or should I go?’ This is a question many property owners in La Plata County are asking themselves. Many residents, after spending the last year locked down in their homes, have realized that it is time to make a change, but where can they go?

“January’s housing stats were staggering: the number of single-family homes sold increased 40%, and the median sales price jumped 15% from the previous year. The pressing issue continues to be a lack of inventory. The number of single-family homes for sale plummeted 72% to just 108 for the entire county, which is down 80% from the same time last year. Durango’s in-town single-family listings number is just 20, with only three units under the $565,000 median price. 

“While single-family home sales have increased, townhome and condo sales are down almost 18% from the same period last year. Inventory is still a problem with townhomes and condos where La Plata County currently has less than a month’s worth of townhome/condo inventory (or a total of 11 units) available. Vacant land sales skyrocketed over the last year since many buyers were unable to find suitable homes. Many have decided to build, however, finding a builder that has availability is almost as difficult as finding an existing home to purchase.

“What does all this mean for the market in 2021? Sellers are going to be faced with the difficult possibility that if they list, they may not be able to find a replacement property. Buyers are going to need to be prepared to make split-second decisions when making offers. Multiple-offer situations are occurring daily, and buyers must be willing to participate if they want a chance at acquiring a property. Brokers are working hard to secure additional inventory, but it is a huge task to fill the current demand of potential buyers.

“It appears that today’s quest to find the perfect home is remarkably similar to the quest to find toilet paper during the early days of the pandemic. We are all hopeful that there will be a loosening of inventory this spring and summer with the seasonality the market usually experiences,” said Durango-area REALTOR® Jarrod Nixon.

ESTES PARK/LARIMER COUNTY

“It’s no surprise to see a drastically low Estes Park inventory compared to last year as new listings plummeted 47.6% for single-family homes. Townhouse/condo new listings are dangerously reduced as well, down 30.8% from this time last year. Closed sales remain even for townhouse/condos, but single-family homes closed were down 52.4% from January 2020. The overall inventory of homes for sale dropped 70.5% for single-family and an even steeper -76.5% for townhouse/condos. Average days-on-market for townhouse/condos reflects that strong demand for this property type. In January 2020, townhouse/condos were sitting about 124 days on the market, this year it’s down to just 40. We continue to see average sales price climb with single-family homes up 2.3% to $552,200. However, townhouse/condos had an even more impressive increase from an average sales price of $354,504 in January 2020 to $464,621 this year, a 31.1% increase.

“Overall, Larimer County inventory is low, right along with mortgage rates, and is creating quite the imbalance in our local market and pushing up prices. The inventory of single-family homes for sale dropped 64% from this time last year. Townhouse/condos also fell dramatically, -53.3% from January 2020. With so much uncertainty, tighter finances and simply enjoying what is currently in hand, staying put seems safe. On the other hand, the demand for a new home experience is being driven by improved workspace, more enjoyable outdoor areas, and capitalizing on the unbelievably low interest rates. Competing with multiple offers and offers presented over asking price is the norm and helped drive up the average price 9.3% from a year prior to $522,907. Townhouse/condos have increased to an average sales price of $378,798, a bump of 8.3% from a year ago. The time to act on a new listing is short as the average days on market tightens in response to the ever-shrinking inventory. Townhouse/condos are closing in about 93 days compared to 128 this time last year. Single-family homes have reduced their days on market 14.7% going from 75 days in January 2020 to just 64 this past month,” said Estes Park-area REALTOR® Abbey Pontius.

FORT COLLINS

“A Tale of Two Januarys. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. These words ring painfully true in today’s housing market. At the end of January 2020, Fort Collins had a whopping 419 single-family homes for sale in what was thought to be one of the tightest January inventories in recent memory. Interest rates had begun to fall and activity after the New Year was anticipated to be quite brisk. Multiple offers for the limited available properties drove prices higher and it looked to be the best of times for sellers and the worst of times for buyers.

“Fast forward 12 months. Interest rates are lower and buyer demand is higher and there were only 171 properties for sale. The worst of times for buyers, indeed, facing a 59% drop in availability. Nearly any property under $600,000 has multiple offers on it. Buyers are likely writing half a dozen offers (or more) before finally getting their offer accepted by a seller. This effort takes a huge emotional toll on these folks looking for a house they can call home. Yet, buyers that can waive appraisal contingencies and make offers of mostly or all-cash are winning many of these contests.  

“Even the once cream-of-the-crop buyers with 20% down payment, solid credit scores, and no contingency to sell their primary residence are losing out to those with extra cash to throw at these scant few listings. Even with the limited inventory, sales are up across most price points:  $400-$500k – up 78%; $500-$700k – up 50% year over year. Sellers are winning – but only if they already have somewhere else to move – otherwise, they find themselves competing for the limited resale homes or opting for new construction homes being sold far faster than builders can build them.

“Supply and demand are sharply out of balance and we can expect prices to continue to rise throughout the first half of the year (median price in Fort Collins remains above $460,000 and there’s less than 30 days of inventory available). Beyond July, potential bumps-up in interest rates may occur as more people are vaccinated and the economy slowly opens up. This could slow things down a bit as buyers will lose some of the edge off of their buying power and sellers will have to adjust to less frenzied buyer demand. It will once again be the best of times but hopefully not the worst of times,” said Fort Collins-area REALTOR® Chris Hardy.

FREMONT AND CUSTER COUNTIES

“Southern Colorado, specifically Fremont and Custer counties may be a little less bleak than other areas of the state. Our Custer County mountain areas of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have a total of 55 listings in inventory. New listings are down more than 11% over January 2020 and sales are keeping an even pace with the new listings and a median sales price of $365,000. 

“Looking to Fremont County, our river valley areas of Canon City, Florence and Penrose have a total of 112 listings in inventory. Here, new listings are up 5.1% over January of 2020, but new sales are also up 9.3%. With a median sale price of $290,000, we’re giving buyers affordable housing with high-speed internet where they can phone it in most days of the week and travel occasionally to beat the lack of inventory conundrum of the big cities. It is a different world and COVID has taught us new ways to be productive. Rural areas are appealing to more and more people; it’s a social distancing of sorts,” said Fremont and Custer County-area REALTOR® David Madone.

GOLDEN/ARVADA – JEFFERSON COUNTY

“It’s Groundhog Day in Jefferson County where the housing market conditions just keep repeating our low inventory high demand scenario. With new listings for single-family homes down 10.5% we have an inventory record low of 199 active homes in January 2021, a decrease of 70% from this time last year and pushing the median sales price to $550,000.

“For condo/townhomes it is again, a repeat story. Inventory is down 68% and days on market comes in at a shrinking 22. The median sales price ticked up to $300,000 with only 67 active January listings. With low interest rates and a continued influx of out-of-state buyers, we look for more Groundhog days and months ahead in 2021,” said Golden/Jefferson County-area REALTOR® Barb Ecker.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS/GARFIELD COUNTY

“’How’s the market?’ Depends who’s asking. For sellers, they rejoice in hearing statistics that include new single-family listings down 34% over last January and days on market falling 55% to a whopping 39 days. Sold listings were up 46% while pending sales rose 41%. Garfield County had a total of 99 active single-family homes in January, a 60% drop from January 2020 that brought our inventory down 66% to a new low of 1.2 months. 

“The townhome/condo sector experienced a staggering 46% decline in new listings with sold listings up 25% and pending sales up 12%. There was an 8% decrease in the average sale price in this sector yet inventory remains incredibly low, just 1.7 months supply and only 46 active listings in all of Garfield County.

“In a market hurting for new inventory, we have a different conversation with our buyers, – a much harder one. As our buyers scramble to get their foot (or offer) in the door we are seeing not only the standard multiple offers and escalation clauses, but buyers taking it a step further and deleting inspection resolution deadlines, as well as other deadlines or contingencies they can to make their offer the most appealing.

“The law of supply and demand, coupled with high cost of new construction are creating the perfect storm in Garfield County, with no end in sight,” said Glenwood Springs-area REALTOR® Erin Bassett.

GRAND JUNCTION/MESA COUNTY

“Mesa County real estate continues to be a challenge with low interest rates spurring buyer interest and activity only to struggle to find something they qualify for. At end of January, there were just 337 active listings of single- family and townhouse/condos, which is down 53.5% from the same time last year, and down 90 units since December 2020. Demand continues to push prices higher as the median price rose 11.5% year over year to $295,350, up $5,000 since December 2020. The average price rose 16.4% from January 2020 to $341,093, up $16,000 since December.

“There were just 269 new listings in January as pendings rose 14.9% and solds dipped 3.5% compared to last January. With just a one-month supply available, 2021 looks like it might be a challenging year. The tightness in inventory is also affecting the rental market, as if potential buyers can’t buy, then they are renting, and that is pushing vacancy rates down, and rental rates up,” said Grand Junction-area REALTOR® Ann Hayes.

PUEBLO

“We’ve started out the year just okay as the lack of inventory remains the biggest issue. Active listings fell 60.3% from January 2020 to 156 as the months supply of homes hit 0.6. New listings were down 11.6% to 245 from January 2020 as pending sales rose nearly 11% and solds fell 7.7% compared to January 2020. Our median sales price rose nearly 30% year over year to $258,000 and we continue to have multiple offers for buyers to contend with. Bottom line, it’s still a great time to be a seller, not so great for buyers. Our new home sales remain very strong and builders simply can’t build fast enough for the demand,” said Pueblo-area REALTOR® David Anderson.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS/ROUTT COUNTY

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Once Upon a Time in the West, before COVID-19, the Routt County real estate market was almost a balanced market with 6.7 months’ supply – a pretty equal playing field for both buyers and sellers. The tide has changed with only 1.4 months supply and I think to myself- what would Clint Eastwood say?

“What a difference a year makes. As we rang in 2021, low interest rates, ‘the good,’ continue to be a driving force in real estate. Low inventory, ‘the bad,’ remains a problem and although new listings were up in single-family (26 vs. 13), multi-family listings were less (35 vs. 37) than a year before. Active listings were at 48 for single-family and 48 for multi-family, down 74.2% and 69.8%, respectively from December 2019. This creates for buyers ‘the ugly,’ multiple-offer situations. But as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and this multiple-offer situation is a beautiful thing to sellers.

“In this market, there are two kinds of buyers; those that have cash and those that finance. The buyers that have a ‘fistful of dollars’ make up 50% of our transactions. Our buyers are 50% local; the other 50% is comprised of 25% from the front range and the balance from out-of-state. January realized 24 single-family sales with a median sales price of $850,000 (four sales above $1.95M) and 36 multi-family sales with a median sales price of $620,000 and average sales price of $721,983.

“We can expect to see more inventory come on the spring market. Sellers who short-term rent their condo typically wait until after the ski season to list their property when the rental season is quieter. Buyers hope that buyer’s agents will make their day and a good broker will instruct their clients that if you want to play the game, you’d better know the rules. A buyer may feel like they are in the line of fire, but a good buyer always knows their limitations,” said Steamboat Springs-area REALTOR® Marci Valicenti.

SUMMIT, PARK AND LAKE COUNTY

“While we continue to wade through the health crash that has impacted our economy, there are many sectors that are struggling to survive but real estate is not one of them. There are a total of 124 listings in all of Summit County ranging in price from $266,250 for a Keystone studio and topping out at almost $19 million for a Breckenridge home. Dillon has 8 listings, Frisco just 2. The other side of this story is the number of pending listings – an awesome 471 listings on the way to closing. January 2021 had 42% fewer active listings from the prior January however, the number of sold listings was up 27%. This shows that buyers are still wanting more and are willing to pay on average $1.5 million for a single-family home and $672,000 for a multifamily property. The ski resorts are busy on the weekends. Tourists, second homeowners, and other visitors are recreating in the county and many recognize the joy they can have by living and working either full or part time in the mountains. Many locals are staying put in their homes as the local percentage of sales has dropped to about 21%, front range buyers make up 47% and out of state buyers 32%,” said Summit-area REALTOR® Dana Cottrell.

TELLURIDE

“Ho hum – another record month in Telluride with 64 sales totaling $81.94 million in January representing a 49% increase in number of sales and a 69% increase in total dollars over January 2020. Most noticeable was the drop in sales in the Town of Telluride due to a severe drop in inventory. We just listed a 2BR/2B condominium on Feb. 6 at $1.2 million. It is the only 2BR/2B condominium for sale in the Town of Telluride below $1,499,000. 

“For the first time in years, January sales volume was carried first by the Mountain Village, and then by sales out of both town primary on the surrounding mesas and subdivisions. Ironically, January was down from the last six months of 2019 monthly sales averages. Lack of inventory will continue to be the major story for the remainder of 2021 sales volumes,” said Telluride-area REALTOR® George Harvey.

VAIL

“January 2021 sales have started off as a mixed overall market with single-family/duplex units a negative 28.2% and townhome/condo units positive 97.1%. This type of variance can be caused by one key factor, inventory. The chart below demonstrates the significance of the situation. The new listing stats have single-family/duplex negative 11.5% and townhome/condo units up 36.5% versus 2020. Pending contracts remain strong at +45% and +21.6%, respectively. Days on market was negative 21% for single-family/duplex properties and negative 33.6% for townhome/condos which shows the strength of buyer activity in the market. However, the months of supply of inventory for single-family/duplex is 2.2 and 2.7 months for townhome/condo which is problematic. The market continues to be strong and basic economics cause the supply and demand curve to drive pricing upwards,” said Vail-area REALTOR® Mike Budd.

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CAR/SHOWING TIME RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Monthly Market Statistical Reports are prepared by Showing Time, a Minneapolis-based real estate technology company, and are based on data provided by Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in Colorado. These reports represent all MLS-listed residential real estate transactions in the state.  The metrics do not include “For Sale by Owner” transactions or all new construction. Showing Time uses its extensive resources and experience to scrub and validate the data before producing these reports.

The benefits of using MLS data (rather than Assessor Data or other sources) are:

  • Accuracy and Timeliness – MLS data are managed and monitored carefully.
  • Richness – MLS data can be segmented
  • Comprehensiveness – No sampling is involved; all transactions are included.
  • Oversight and Governance – MLS providers are accountable for the integrity of their systems.           
  • Trends and changes are reliable due to the large number of records used in each report.  
  • Late entries and status changes are accounted for as the historic record is updated each quarter. 

Telluride Elk aware

Elk aware

New citizen science project monitors local herd behavior

  • Special Thanks Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter

Elk program

Mason Osgood of Sheep Mountain Alliance and Dr. Garrett Smith of the Telluride Institute installed wildlife cameras across the Valley Floor last week as part of a new citizen science project. (Courtesy photo)

 

The sight of a herd of elk clustering photogenically against the lush backdrop of the Valley Floor, a passel of telephoto lens-wielding tourists in tow, paints a certain kind of picture. The elk, looking rather aloof, seem unhindered by the presence of the humans that surround the vicinity on all sides. The herd, at certain times of year dotted with adorably lanky legged little ones, seems to indicate a prosperous population, and the protected nature of the three-mile stretch of Valley Floor shines as a triumph of conservation over the unbridled proliferation of multi-million dollar vacation condos.

Yet the buck doesn’t stop there. The more complex reality is that the elk population has been declining in southwest Colorado for several years, as measured by the calf-to-cow ratio. While Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been investigating the phenomenon, scientists have yet to collect sufficient data to understand why.

Understanding more about the presence and behavior of this iconic species on Telluride’s Valley Floor is the focus of a new collaboration between Sheep Mountain Alliance, the Mountain Studies Institute and the Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program, and it’s open to the public to participate. The project aims to engage interested community members and local school kids, along with area scientists, to monitor and record wildlife, especially elk, and to collect and share that data for use in decision making by public agencies. To that end, 10 wildlife cameras, disguised by camouflage coloring and mounted on trees at about three feet high, were placed at strategic locations around the Valley Floor last week, kicking off the data collection phase of the project.

“We hope to capture data on their whole lifestyle — eating, sleeping, how many months they are spending in the Valley Floor, where they are coming from and leaving from, and how they utilize the Valley Floor,” said Mason Osgood, community outreach coordinator for Sheep Mountain Alliance, noting that much of what is known about elk and wildlife on the Valley Floor is anecdotal, while project offers a scientific approach conducive to data collection.

Students at the Telluride Intermediate School and Mountain School will “adopt” four of the project’s six wildlife cameras, heading into the field periodically to retrieve the SD cards, download the images and report their findings. The project is hoping to bring on additional volunteers from the community to “adopt” the remaining cameras for the rest of 2021, who will receive training and a way to participate in a scientific process that may help safeguard the future of the valley’s charismatic megafauna.

Despite appearances, elk are sensitive to human presence and prefer to be left alone. Yet the migratory nature of the species means that they can’t simply retreat to more remote areas — they need corridors like the Valley Floor to travel between lower elevations in the winter and higher elevations in the summer.

“The Valley Floor acts as a transition zone for the elk,” explained project manager Dr. Garrett Smith, director of science and research at the Telluride Institute. “It’s a landscape that they utilize when they migrate from the West End up into the high basins for calving.”

The nature of expanding human presence and increased interest in outdoor recreation, he said, has led to “fragmented landscapes” often subject to developmental pressures, and the health of a species like elk should not be taken for granted, especially given the declining numbers.

“This project allows the community to take ownership in the issues and the landscape, to understand how to do things and why,” Smith said. “And to help decide, based on the data, the future of it.”

Those interested in participating, he noted, can reach out to any of the collaborating organizations, with both financial and volunteer contributions to the project welcome.

“The Valley Floor in Telluride was protected by a community effort, and having the community participate in the science now is a good follow-up to that process of preserving it,” he said.