Conventional wisdom once held that you bought a vacation home in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, or Utah to ski.
And that’s still partly true. But these popular winter home destinations have also morphed into vibrant spots once the snow melts. Summer activities like hiking, mountain biking, outdoor concerts, and fly-fishing are all reasons for owners of these luxury homes to return for the warmer months.
“Summer is a far bigger driver of our luxury purchases than winter,” says Chris Paoli of Colorado Group Realty. “The majority of our high net worth clients spend bigger chunks of their time here in the summer.”
Paoli says there’s huge appeal in traditional winter towns beyond the slopes: “The real value-adds for real estate are activities which create a sense of place,” he notes. “In Steamboat Springs, CO, you can do an hour bike ride at lunch and only lose 75 minutes out of your day, including setup and travel.”
Also new in Steamboat Springs? Steamboat Mountain Roller Coaster, an outdoor pickleball court, and one of the country’s biggest gravel rides (bicycling on unpaved roads).
Other places tout their natural outdoor beauty and activities.
“We’re surrounded by some of the best trout fishing in the world,” says Martha Johnson with Big Sky Real Estate Company about Big Sky, MT.
“In summer, incredible animals like moose, elk, deer, eagles, owls, hawks, and amazing songbirds can be found here—even in our neighborhoods,” she says.
We dove into a number of traditional winter home markets to find luxurious homes worth living in year-round. Here are seven cool homes where we’d love to spend this summer.
Known as Wildflower Meadows, this 118-acre spread is ideal for a summer day. Only 3 miles from the Steamboat ski area, the property has amenities for plenty of non-snow-related activities, including two ponds, five lakes, and a rolling green pasture. The 10,000-square-foot main house is elegant and roomy, but we’re enamored with the private tennis court on the property. Call this a love match.
Tucked into Moonlight Basin, this luxury five-bedroom, log-style home was built in 2002 and has a private pond. It also offers access to fly-fishing utopia in the nearby Madison and Gallatin Rivers. You can see the Lone and Fan mountain ranges from the home, and a large deck overlooks the pond, which attracts wildlife come summer. A one-bedroom cabin on the property is perfect for housing overnight guests, and the kids can easily hang out in a dedicated room with built-in bunk beds.
Jackson Hole is known for its splendid ski scene, but once the temperatures start rising there are two other prime reasons people flock here: golf and hiking. This five-bedroom home is right on the Snake River Sporting Club’s golf course and also near the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Design elements like river rock and plank flooring—plus an outdoor deck for alfresco dining—make this home a contemporary gem. The two-level design with ample windows also means sunlight pours in during summer months.
Literally located on a ski run, this three-bedroom home built in 2016 is the only detached single-family home in a townhome community. Forty-plus miles of mountain trails nearby attract mountain bikers and hikers once all that ice disappears for the season. As part of the Mountainside community, the owners of this house get access to a yoga studio and treehouse.
Located in a ski town popular with New Yorkers, this three-bedroom home—built in 2006 and measuring 5,000 square feet—comes with 15 acres. There’s plenty of room to set up a badminton or volleyball net. Local activities for outdoorsy folks include hiking the Stowe Pinnacle Trail or the Sunset Rock Trail. Two sets of sliding doors off the family room—plus two of the bedrooms—lead to the deck, a perfect spot to enjoy a warm summer evening.
Price: $17 million
Currently the second-most expensive listing in Vail, this seven-bedroom, six-bath beauty features heated patios and a chef’s kitchen that’s well equipped for hosting killer parties come summer. While the woodwork might give off winter ski lodge vibes, the home’s many sliding doors allow sunlight to pour in. There’s also an outdoor pool, for a refreshing alternative during the summer months.
Wow. Built in 2015, a river runs right next to this modern four-bedroom home. Outdoor waterfalls spill down large boulders and a pool. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout allow the sunlight from the long days of summer to bathe the home. Outdoor dining along Park City’s Main Street is close by. Covered decks on every level are a perfect way to soak in the summertime view.
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