Posted on May 10, 2019 by Katie Shapiro
Photographer: Jeremy Swanson
Spring has sprung, albeit in between bouts of snow, with May's flowers in full bloom. And if you stop to smell the roses around Aspen's downtown core, chances are the team behind Busy Beavers Gardening planted them.
Longtime locals Arabella Thoyts-Beavers and Jason Beavers co-founded their business more than 15 years ago and since then, have brought boundless beauty to the community through creative colorful, custom gardens large and small.
Their biggest undertaking is in the form of the famed "Living Wall" at The Little Nell, where Arabella also serves as the resident gardener. Now in its fifth season, the Beaver's are putting the finishing touches on the massive, poolside installation.
Born and raised in Great Britain, Arabella uses her background in traditional English gardening in the way she approaches every project. It was at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, which she attends every spring, where she originally learned about living walls. In 2014, she came back with an idea for The Little Nell to cover up its concrete façade.
Working with Botany Lane in Denver, Arabella and Jason oversee the growth of the flower and plant mural in six separate panels. Upon completion, it will be sent up to Aspen on a flatbed truck for the Busy Beavers Gardening team to carefully position the 24-by-6 foot work of art in place.
Each year, Arabella dreams up a different theme and this year, the Living Wall is a celebration of color as it mimics a rainbow. Officially titled "Over the Rainbow," Arabella explains, "The bands of colors arc just like a rainbow would. The design inspiration came from my love of color and one of my favorite contemporary artists, Zhuang Hong Yi, whose work I noticed in the Opera Gallery and immediately saw the next Living Wall in it. His portrayal and understanding of flowers and color are blended together to create incredible beauty."
“We will be using more dahlias that we have specially grown, as well as many popular Colorado natives such as the state flower, the columbine. We are also going to show a wonderful display of shade tolerant annuals such as begonias in our hillside shade gardens that will be just stunning," she adds.
The Little Nell's marvelous gardens are just one of fifteen North American Relais & Châteaux properties featured in a recently published coffee table book, The Art of the Garden, by Rizzoli. The gorgeous collection of images, food and drink recipes and stories connects each chapter with its surroundings and is available in the Little Nell’s in-house boutique ($55).
"Jason and I and our entire team are so proud to work with The Little Nell — Simon Chen (General Manager) has encouraged us to look at new global ideas and innovation in gardening, enabling us to bring them to life in our little piece of paradise. I don't know any other ski town in the world that has world-class gardens like Aspen."
"Over the Rainbow" is slated to debut the week of June 3 when the surrounding gardens and new herbaceous border garden will also be in full bloom. Guided by Arabella herself, The Little Nell also hosts complimentary, weekly garden tours every Friday at 4:00 p.m. from June 21 through August 30 — the perfect way to inspire ideas for your own home.
Photographer: Steve Mundinger
Until then, we asked Arabella for her top 5 tips for home gardeners:
- SUN VS. SHADE
"Putting the right plants in the right aspect is essential. Always be aware of where the sun or shade lies around your garden and never put a sun-loving plant in a shady aspect or vice versa. The right plants thrive in the right place."
- SOLID SOIL
"It's key to have good soil amendments whether through composting or other organic materials like manure or sulfur. We are lucky to live in a region very rich in clay soil, which makes plants and flowers very happy, too!"
- WHEN TO WATER
"Be very mindful of the times of day when you are watering. With water becoming more scarce and with the danger of wildfire that we saw last season, always water in the early morning and late evening hours. And NEVER water during the middle of the day when the heat of the sun is the strongest. It causes the water to evaporate and can burn flowers and plants."
- PEAKING PLANTS
"Knowing the mature height of your plants before you plant them is important. You don't want to put plants that have the potential to be tall in the front and realize it when it's too late. Tier and layer your plants accordingly."
- GO ORGANIC
"Last and most important to us at Busy Beavers Gardening is being green. We are incredibly proud to be as organic as we possibly can. Chemical-based products like Roundup and pesticides should never be used in a garden … and just because a product claims it's innate doesn't mean it's not doing damage to the earth. Every time a chemical is put into the ground, there are serious repercussions for songbirds and animals and us. The fewer chemicals in our environment the better. Physically pulling weeds out of the ground is my philosophy! An amazing local resource is Eagle Crest Nursery in El Jebel, which has a huge selection of organic alternatives and super helpful staff to help you choose what's right for your garden."
For more information visit bbgaspen.com and thelittlenell.com.
Posted on April 12, 2019 by Katie Shapiro
Spring has officially sprung and most Aspen Snowmass locals are already feeling the itch for some much-needed rest and relaxation. For full-timers — especially real estate brokers — the winter months bring the busiest days during often never-ending work weeks. As soon as the lifts stop spinning, the majority of ski town dwellers take an annual sojourn in the sun.
Whether it’s for the entire off-season (aka “mud season”) or just a long weekend escape, we asked four Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty team members to share their go-to getaways along with their favorite spots to eat, drink, stay and play to inspire any pending travel plans:
Sean de Moraes, Broker Associate
Why you love it:
We have been traveling to Moab every spring since the mid-‘90s and usually make it a long weekend. Moab is the perfect distance for a quick road trip once the snow starts to melt off and the skiing starts to get marginal. It offers a ton of outdoor activities after a long winter, such as mountain biking, hiking, jeeping, and rafting. It’s a bit of a home away from home feeling, because it is so common to run into a ton of people you know from the Roaring Fork Valley and other Colorado ski areas. You’ll be biking along a trail, having dinner at a local restaurant and you can pretty much count on seeing someone you know between the April and May months.
There are so many great places to stay. If you are looking for smaller, there are a number of hotels, but the best thing to do is grab a group of friends and head down to Rim Village condos adjacent to the "Old Spanish Trail Arena." If you’re camping and want to get away, stop by Willow Springs and do some mountain biking on the Klonzo trails north of town or rally the side by sides in the sand washes.
Nothing beats a grilled steak campside, but if you want to head into town to fight the crowds, stop by Pasta Jay’s for some Italian, Sabaku Sushi for a roll (yes, it’s good!), but don’t miss Jailhouse Café for Sunday breakfast and grab a side of their famous thick cut bacon!
Need to grab a beer to cool down after a long day on the trail? Check out Moab’s only brewery, Moab Brewery, or Eddie McStiff's, both located on Main street. Don’t wait around before you head over as it can get pretty crowded in the late afternoons/early evenings.
Everyone talks about the famous Hells Revenge for jeeping and the Slick Rock mountain biking trail, and they are a must for any first-timer. However, there are countless trails around to escape the crowds too. Some of my personal favorites for jeeping are Metal Masher, Golden Spike, and Cliff Hanger but be prepared to challenge your driving skills and be sure to always bring a friend. For mountain biking, check out the Klonzo Trail area or shuttle up to Mag 7 or Porcupine Rim and get some epic downhill riding in.
Weekdays are less crowded, drink lots of water, never go alone anywhere, respect the trails at all times and watch for the Highway Patrol guys between I-70 and town!
PUNTA MITA, MEXICO
Lucy Nichols, CNE, CRS, GRI Broker Associate
Why you love it:
We have been vacationing here for 20 years now for one or two weeks in the spring when the weather is great, and the water is more bracing. Punta Mita has grown up in the years we’ve been visiting. While it was very rustic in 1999, it now offers fine dining, luxury lodging, multiple golf courses, bike trails and such, especially “inside the gate” of the Punta Mita Resort. There is still an authentic “local” element of real Mexico and culture available to those who venture beyond the Resort as we do — a French patisserie is tucked into a back street, fresh margaritas at the Surf Shack along a dusty road to Sayulita, hiking trails to mountain tops overlooking the ocean, tiny towns with fewer than 100 residents where the freshest oysters can be had and ancient Indian petroglyphs deep in the forest. The people are welcoming and willing to entertain my lousy Spanish with a smile! The Resort and old town Punta de Mita are all accessed by golf cart, no need to ever get in your car! An important distinguishing factor is the security — it’s very safe.
The St. Regis or the Four Seasons are both gorgeous resorts. There are also many private homes and estates available to rent — perfect for extended vacation stays.
Just about anywhere on-property at either resort. If going out on the town, we love Babellas, Sufito and Mercedes.
The jalapeño margaritas at Mercedes are a must! And many resorts and restaurants offer tequila tastings.
You’ll find amazing and authentic artisan shops along the streets in old town Punta de Mita. We also like to sightsee and shop in nearby towns like Sayulita.
Like Aspen, there are more choices to adventure than time to do it all! Our days are spent paddle boarding, biking, sea kayaking and surfing followed by yoga on the beach. There are also two signature Jack Nicklaus golf courses in the area and plenty of tennis and pickleball courts. Vallarta Adventures offers an amazing zip lining experience. And be sure to book a special whale watching excursion with a local guide when in-season (December - March).
Evan F. Boenning, CRS, MRE Broker Associate
Why you love it:
For the past four years, we’ve gone to Hawaii for two weeks in the spring. I love Maui and discovered that the weather in Lahaina is better than other areas of the island. The town is lively and there’s always something exciting going on, and it also has some of the best beaches in the area.
Hyatt Residence Club's Ka'anapali Beach Resort is like a home away from home. It’s a luxury yet low-key place that’s smaller than most of the area resorts, which we like, and all of the units have views of the ocean.
We like to go to the local fish market up the street and then cook out on the grill, but there are many great restaurants in the area. Duke’s Beach House and the Hula Grill are two restaurants owned by the same group — we love them both for the casual atmosphere, great food and live music on most nights. The Monkeypod is another interesting place to eat in Whaler’s Village.
Rum! And happy hour at Duke’s Beach House with Chet Winchester is always a good time.
We play a lot of golf at The Plantation Course at Kapalua. We love walking along the boardwalk for miles with our grandchildren and taking them in the ocean and pool at the resort.
Andrew Roberts, Broker Associate
Why you love it:
I have been traveling to the beach areas of Southern California ever since I moved away from the Los Angeles area back in 1991. For the most part, it has been a trip that never gets missed, as I am typically quite ready to get my feet out of my ski boots and into the sand by the end of March. My trips to the coast usually last just over a week, which gives me the opportunity to both visit the beaches and sneak in a two day trip to central California with a stay at Ragged Point. The diversity of southern and central California, from the incredible beaches to the world-class wine country are truly inspirational. In my mind, it's a timeless way to kick off the spring by indulging in truly exquisite food and wine while taking in the incomparable beaches.
As a person of habit and for a bit of nostalgia, I usually check into the Beach House, a boutique hotel in Hermosa Beach that is literally on the beach! Only a 15-minute drive from LAX, this hotel is at the center of it all.
For upscale dining, I cannot recommend enough FWD, short for “Fishing with Dynamite,” where Chef David LeFevre delivers an incredible, locally sourced cuisine experience that is both sophisticated and timeless. My personal favorite, however, is El Tarasco, an enduring and discreet locals spot that serves up some of the tastiest Mexican food you have ever experienced, on the cheap! The extra top secret part about El Tarasco is the garden area just up the stairs from the street where you can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean while enjoying your life changing food. For breakfast, and only steps from the Beach House hotel, Good Stuff never disappoints and is a great spot to take in the views and crush some well-earned pancakes after an early morning surf. Moving up the coast, the Ragged Point Inn and Resort is undeniably one of the most captivating spots on this planet. The resort boasts infinite views of the rugged central coast that are sure to captivate your soul! Along the way, stop off at Taco Temple in Morro Bay for the absolute freshest seafood tacos imaginable.
Stop off at Laetitia Vineyard, 2 minutes off of the route to Ragged Point, just off the 101 highway and taste a few great glasses of California wine.
I would highly recommend taking in a show at the local Comedy and Magic Club, a local institution that attracts an incredible amount of talent. On our last visit, Jerry Seinfeld dropped in for a set! What an experience! If you are a history buff, or want to experience one of the most refined and sophisticated mansions ever created, save a few hours for a visit to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was conceived and built by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon, and his architect Julia Morgan.
Posted on February 27, 2019 by Katie Shapiro
In mountain towns around the world, having a ski-in/ski-out home of your own is the ultimate dream. And the ultimate destination for finding the most stunning slopeside listings? Aspen Snowmass.
While its most common moniker only refers to two of Aspen Skiing Company’s expansive ski areas, it’s comprised of four individual resorts: Aspen Mountain (aka Ajax), Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass — each offering a unique air of authentic alpine charm.
A variety of properties dot the lower trails on all four, making your commute from your backyard to the chairlift or gondola mere minutes to ensure first tracks on every powder day. Beyond the exclusive access and convenience, these luxury estates and condos often boast expansive patios and epic vistas. And when summertime comes, some may argue the offerings are even better with hiking and mountain biking trails along with plenty of wildlife right outside your door.
We’ve rounded up five of our must-see ski-in/ski-out listings on the market right now to swoon over:
700 Ute Avenue, Unit 802
Ski area: Aspen
Offered by: Tory Thomas, Craig Morris
Highlights: Located in the legendary Aspen Alps complex and directly on the Little Nell Trail, this four bedroom, 2,609 sq ft condominium is as close to the Silver Queen Gondola as it gets. Remodeled by the owners in 2012, the timeless traditional design features Dornbracht plumbing fixtures, Rocky Mountain custom hardware, Platte Valley custom cabinets, a Viking stove, Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer, antique Jerusalem stone floors and more. Amenities include concierge and shuttle service, tennis courts, hot tub, health club and covered garage space available for separate purchase.
Professional point of view: “Of the probably only 20 properties on Aspen Mountain that are truly ski-in/ski-out, there are only a handful that can take you to Ajax Tavern or the [Silver Queen] Gondola within three minutes. On top of that, four bedrooms — all en suite— with an interior fully remodeled to the nines is offered at a price that won’t break the bank. A property like this rarely comes on the market and is sure to be a sound investment.”
112 Falcon Road
Ski area: Aspen Highlands
Offered by: Craig Ward
Highlights: While not technically right on the slopes of Aspen Highlands, this timeless mountain estate offers ski-out access to the private Five Trees chairlift and its own backcountry trail to ski straight home after a day on the slopes. From grand staircases and soaring beam trusses to black walnut floors and copper exterior detailing, every element of this five bedroom, six-and-one-half bath home will withstand the test of time. Completely furnished with a combination of custom pieces, carefully chosen shopped items and western inspired antiques, the 7,856 sq ft residence also features a home theater, wine room, billiards room, gym and expansive outdoor terraces with a spa. The property spans 2.1 acres with a water feature and is directly adjacent to 92 acres of protected open space with picture-perfect views of Baldy Peak and the Willow Creek Valley.
Professional point of view: “There are very few ski-in/ski-out homes on Aspen Highlands — roughly 24 with a few more being developed. The greatest thing about this property is that because of its indirect skiing access, it has tremendous privacy versus having to deal with a very busy base area. The finishes are just exquisite and the private theater is one of Paragon Systems Integration’s most impressive projects to date. It was built like a fortress and it feels that way inside. Plus, it’s the highest lot in the subdivision and was deliberately designed to take advantage of its sweeping southwest views. The owner actually relocated the road where the driveway was to be placed in order to put the home in this specific direction.”
2900 West Buttermilk Road
Ski area: Buttermilk
Offered by: Eric Cohen, Craig Morris
Highlights: With a recent, drastic price reduction, the only ski-in/ski-out property on West Buttermilk offers the utmost privacy and exclusivity, which makes Owl Mountain Ranch an opportunity of a lifetime. Located at the end of the gated West Buttermilk Road, 60-plus acres of adjoining BLM and forestland includes a private ski trail and surrounds 20,000 sq ft of livable space. Impeccably designed and appointed by David Johnston Architects, the main house features seven bedrooms, ten full bathrooms, and a three-car garage. The heated outdoor deck space includes a built-in spa, outdoor kitchen, dining area and wood burning fireplace. A 2,000 sq ft caretaker’s residence and 7,000 sq ft versatile utility barn are also included.
Professional point of view: “In this market, demand for ski-in/ski-out properties is increasing while the supply remains the same. This is the ‘crown jewel’ of the West Buttermilk area and one of the finest ski-in/ski-out properties in North America. The ability to ski right from your back door to the West Buttermilk high-speed quad chairlift and be at the top of the mountain in minutes is literally one-of-a-kind and the convenience of dropping back into the house for lunch or to change your gear is invaluable.”
530 Divide Drive
Ski area: Snowmass
Offered by: Garrett Reuss
Highlights: Built in 1998, but fresh off of a remodel and addition in 2017 — both done by Manchester Architects, Inc. — this 6,281 sq ft home is located at the very end of Divide Drive offering the utmost privacy past the gatehouse. With five bedroom suites, seven baths, a media room, home office and ski room, it’s also an entertainer’s dream with a gourmet kitchen and expansive patio with a fire pit showcasing unobstructed views of Mount Daly. An intricate water feature provides ambient, soothing sounds throughout the house.
Professional point of view: “When you look at the competition in this price range, it’s not only that there are only a handful of ski-in/ski-out options, but there isn’t anything of this caliber that’s so well-located with mature, extensive landscaping. It offers direct access via the Dawdler Trail to Snowmass Base Village, which is the main ventricle of the mountain, along with panoramic western vistas and framed views of Mount Daly. Plus, it’s even more livable and enjoyable in the summer months.”
1627 Wood Road
Ski area: Snowmass
Offered by: Chris Klug
Highlights: This just-completed, new build by KA Designworks in collaboration with Whitecap Development and Janckila Construction is a mountain modern masterpiece perched on an expansive, terraced lot with endless views and all-day sunshine. The 5,275 sq ft home features white oak wood floors and South African decorative lighting throughout its five en suite bedrooms, office, gym and game room with a custom ping pong table and bar. Outside, a photovoltaic solar array on the roof offsets the patio and driveway snowmelt systems with a three-car garage, wraparound deck, double-sided fireplace, fire pit, spa and private lawn area. The ski room, outfitted with custom Italian cabinetry, opens directly to the Guggenheim Trail, which will take you straight to the Village Express chairlift or Elk Camp Gondola within minutes.
Professional point of view: Snowmass is considered the premier family resort in the state and one of the top family destinations in North America. A turnkey, cutting-edge contemporary like this rarely comes to market in the ski-in/ski-out category and is just an ideal family home. Matched with the quality of the construction, thoughtful design elements, 180-degree views and access to all of the exciting happenings in the new Snowmass Base Village, this property truly checks all of the boxes.”
Posted on January 23, 2019 by Katie Shapiro
Grand Opening Celebration 12.15.18 from Snowmass Base Village on Vimeo.
Since the ribbon was cut at the grand opening celebration of the long-awaited Snowmass Base Village (SBV) development on December 15, 2018, to a jam-packed plaza, the excitement has only intensified.
Snowmass Base Village Grand Opening Fireworks
In the two days that followed the festivities, the Aspen Times reported that nine deals closed — eight in the Limelight Hotel Snowmass and one at Lumin — amounting to $23.7 million in sales volume. Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty’s resident market research expert, broker Andrew Ernemann, attributes the spike to “the psychological influence of Base Village.”
It’s a promising start to a much-hyped project that has been decades in the making, which while officially open for business, still has to put the finishing touches on its last project. Upon completion, SBV’s residential offerings will include One Snowmass with Inspirato along with the Limelight Hotel Snowmass, Lumin and Residences at Viceroy Snowmass.
Ranging in price from below $500,000 at the ski-in/ski-out resort-style Residences at Viceroy Snowmass, up to $6,300,000 for a penthouse overlooking the Elk Camp Gondola at Lumin, an SBV address accommodates every type of mountain lover.
However luxurious each residence is on the inside (also armed with varying levels of amenities like a membership to the new, ultra-exclusive Snowmass Mountain Club), it’s what lies just steps outside each front door that is another major draw.
In the center of it all is an ice rink open daily from noon to 9 p.m. with complimentary skate rentals available to check out from a funky 1958 Airstream. Surrounded by fire pits, SBV provides a much-needed, year-round public gathering place, which will transform into an events lawn in the summer for outdoor concerts, a farmer’s market and more.
Fuel up for the day with a fresh doughnut from Sweet Coloradough’s stand or try The Crepe Shack, our beloved local chef Mawa McQueen’s third restaurant concept in the area. Limelight Hotel Snowmass is already headquarters for après ski with an extended happy hour and live music five nights a week. Also at the Limelight, you can’t miss the five-story climbing wall (one of the largest in the state!) encased in glass, making it a focal point of the SBV plaza. Dreamt up and executed to resemble sections of natural rock on Independence Pass by Boulder-based Eldorado Climbing Walls, it is available to everyone weighing 25 pounds and over. The climbing wall is $10 for 30 minutes and $5 each additional 30 minutes, with staff on hand to help you plot your way to the top. Four Mountain Sports in the Lumin building will have all of your gear and equipment rental needs covered whether you’re hitting the slopes or the Snowmass Bike Park.
And last but not least, the Collective Snowmass has immediately morphed into a community hub offering an ongoing calendar of programming and pop-ups featuring local businesses and nonprofits from a winter artisan market and yoga classes to kids camps and art workshops. A new bar and restaurant is planned to open later this year along with a new-and-improved Snowmass Discovery Center, which highlights the area's legacy where the Mastodon once roamed. Click here for the complete schedule of events through the season.
Whether you’re in search of the ski town vacation home or have yet to experience what all of the buzz is about, this winter in Aspen Snowmass is all about Snowmass Base Village — the ultimate basecamp for the entire family.
To take a tour and learn more, stop by the SBV Real Estate Experience office at the base of the Elk Camp Gondola: 110 Carriage Way (Unit #3104), 970.924.9100, allinsnowmass.com
Posted on December 11, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Earlier this year, we shined a spotlight on Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty’s (ASSIR) inaugural and ongoing corporate sponsorship of WE-cycle, the Roaring Fork Valley’s beloved bike sharing program. But it’s only one example of a long list of contributions of how ASSIR invests in its community year-round.
With the season of giving officially underway, now is the perfect time to share a little bit more about how ASSIR so strongly supports its community. In 2018, ASSIR made contributions totaling more than $100,000 to the following nonprofit organizations (selected by an executive-level consensus that the donation is benefiting a real need):
• Aspen Community Theater
• Aspen Country Day School
• Aspen Education Foundation
• Aspen Film
• Aspen Homeless Shelter
• Aspen Junior Hockey
• Aspen Rotary Foundation
• Aspen United Soccer Club
• Aspen Valley Hospital
• Aspen Valley Land Trust
• Aspen Youth Center
• Basalt Chamber of Commerce
• Early Childhood Network
• Habitat for Humanity
• Raising a Reader
• Snowmass Western Heritage Association
• Snowmass Rotary
• St. Stephen Catholic School
With philanthropy as a cornerstone of ASSIR’s corporate culture, its brokers contributed an additional $16,000 to a mix of more than 100 local causes they are personally passionate about, which is matched by the company. Together, ASSIR and brokers have donated more than $116,000.
“We are proud to offer our Annual Community Investment Campaign where we match dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 per year per broker or employee to eligible local nonprofits to show our dedication to supporting the community,” explains ASSIR president and CEO Gary Hughes. “We are grateful to our busy team of realtors and employees who volunteer and serve on numerous nonprofit boards throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.”
For ASSIR co-owner Ernie Fyrwald, giving back runs through his blood. As a family man through and through, his commitment to his four children inspired him to start a foundation for children in 1984. He remains involved in the foundation and is on the board of directors, while also inspiring the next generation of donors through ASSIR.
“On a personal level, and as one of the main decision-makers of to whom we give, we don’t give for marketing purposes but because ‘it’s the right thing to do,’” says Fyrwald. “Whenever the company can’t come to the table with a donation to a specific need the owners of our company then give personally if they feel the need is great. With our donation matching program, it allows us to give more and if it’s something a broker feels strongly about then the decision is even easier.”
With a long history of supporting programs in the local community, ASSIR now has grown to more than 160 realtors and 30 employees. With 11 locations spanning the Roaring Fork Valley, each office strives to make philanthropy and volunteerism an integral part of its company culture encouraging each individual to consider donating their time, money or energy — ideally, it’s all three. Next year, the company has plans to incorporate paid days off to enable more employees to volunteer.
And Fyrwald’s philosophy on philanthropy is certainly contagious:
“Our belief is that we have been blessed with incredible lives and should share as much as possible. To whom much is given, much is to be expected!”
Posted on November 15, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
From taking the title of “Best of the West" in Ski Magazine’s Resorts of the Year Awards to landing a spot on Travel + Leisure’s “Most Romantic Holiday Destinations for Couples,” Aspen Snowmass continues to rack up accolades every season. We might be a bit biased, but it’s true: there is no place more festive to spend the holidays in the entire world.
While Aspen Snowmass is known for its abundant five-star resort offerings, sometimes a ski vacation is only made better when you rent a dream home of your very own. Whether it’s having enough space for your extended family, wanting to cook up your favorite family recipes, avoiding the hustle and bustle of a busy hotel or staying in town for the full season, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty (ASSIR) has experienced Brokers specializing in Aspen & Snowmass, luxury rentals.
So, if you’re still looking for a picture-perfect, holiday escape there’s still time to make it a most memorable one in Aspen Snowmass. To help guide you, here are ASSIR’s top four tips to consider when starting your rental search:
1. How far in advance do you recommend booking a rental property for the holiday season?
We recommend booking for the holidays as far out as possible to ensure having your first choice available. We book the majority of our holiday rentals in September, October and November, but often our most sought-after properties can be booked as far as a year in advance. While most of our holiday inventory is booked, we have received a few new listings recently and have had a couple of cancellations, so always inquire no matter how last minute you are starting your search.
2. What is the price range for vacation rentals in Aspen Snowmass?
For the winter season, the most affordable property in our inventory is about $400 per night, but not in the preferred area of Aspen’s downtown core or Snowmass Village. Most of our rental properties with a prime location fall around $1,000 per night and our most exclusive property is $25,000 per night. We are always able to accommodate any budget.
3. How does ASSIR help clients navigate the property search?
Initially, we ask for preferred location, dates, the makeup of the group, budget and any other specifications the client might have, such as ski access. After we gather some options, we send the client rental brochures - ASSIR’s rental brochures are arguably the most thorough among the competition.
4. How does ASSIR help clients feel confident in a “sight unseen” booking?
Photos, a Google Map search and a conversation on the phone usually help clients feel confident in their decision. We often discuss location, walkability, specifics on ski access and various other property details. The last thing we want is for someone to be disappointed, so we do our best to convey all the information thoroughly and accurately.
ASSIR also goes above and beyond the service standard for rental agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley through an exclusive partnership with Covet Concierge, owned and operated by longtime local Karen Boyd. With more than a decade of experience as a concierge for five-star resorts and luxury rental companies, most recently at the Residences at the Little Nell, Boyd branched off on her own in 2017 and provides unparalleled five-star service 24/7 to all of ASSIR’s rental clients through her company.
Upon booking, Boyd works directly with clients to provide a custom itinerary along with the coordination of the following services:
- Ground transportation
- Welcome basket upon arrival stocked with wine, fresh fruit and gourmet snacks
- Grocery shopping and pre-stocking the kitchen
- Dining reservations
- Babysitting services
- Ski equipment rentals with in-home fittings
- Pre-purchase and print lift tickets
For an additional service fee, Boyd will also assist clients in pre-arranging holiday decor with Christmas tree delivery, hiring and planning special in-home events with a private chef, reserving additional adventure activities and running general errands — no request is too small. Although she’s anticipating juggling 30 rental clients in the months ahead, Boyd is a one-woman-show and remains on-call throughout your entire stay.
And since she’s always busy booking the best of Aspen Snowmass for her clients, we also asked Boyd to recommend a few of her favorite things:
Watching the New Year’s fireworks over Aspen Mountain
Taking a sleigh ride to dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse
Breakfast at Gwyn's High Alpine on Snowmass Mountain
Aprés Ski Spot
Ajax Tavern in Aspen
Venga Venga in Snowmass Village
A massage at Remède Spa in the St. Regis followed by a glass of champagne in the oxygen lounge
The Spa at Viceroy in Snowmass
Hair & Makeup
Pitkin County Dry Goods
Sashae Floral Arts & Gifts
SO Café on the top floor of the Aspen Art Museum
Snowmobiling to the Maroon Bells with T-Lazy-7 Ranch
Click here to download the complete ASSIR Rental Brochure and click here to learn more about Covet Concierge.
Aspen, Snowmass Village, Covet C, Covet Concierge, Pine Creek Cookhouse, HomeTeam BBQ, Gwyn's High Alpine, Ajax Tavern, Remède Spa, Salon Tullio, Kemo Sabe, Pitkin County Dry Goods, Sashae Floral Arts & Gifts, SO Café, Aspen Shakti, Jimmy's, T-Lazy-7 Ranch
Posted on October 15, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Downtown Aspen on October 10, 2018 with a fresh dusting of snow. Photo by Craig Turpin/Rising Sun Photog
Glitter Gulch, Tony Town, Fat City, Canary City … ah, Aspen. The monikers for this rich-in-history former mining enclave are thanks to a glitz-and-glam reputation bolstered by billionaires on holiday, celebrities hiding out, luxury boutiques, fine dining, five-star resorts, a world-class arts scene and of course, jaw-dropping real estate. But it’s the full-timers—from hippies, ranchers and artists to families, farmers and athletes—who’ve given the ski town its true soul over the years and still help balance the high life with real life year-round.
As soon as the leaves stop falling in October, many businesses hang “Gone to the beach” signs on their doors signaling a bi-annual, well-deserved break before the lifts start spinning. The snow has already arrived, which means one thing: off-season has too.
While the scene is noticeably slower, if you’re thinking about purchasing a vacation property, scoping out a short-term rental or just booking a pre-holiday holiday, now is the perfect time to plan a visit to get a true sense of what life in this year-round, close-knit community is actually like.
Here’s a complete guide to living like a local:
EAT + DRINK
Heirloom eggplant with mushroom bolognese, chard and cauliflower at Element 47. Photo by Jamie Fletcher
It’s usually a guessing game when trying to find a place to eat and drink from now until the first week of December. But there are plenty of spots that stay open, many showing their appreciation for those who stick around town with deep discounts.*
Locals gather every morning for high-fives on the patio or catch up at the community table at Jour de Fête (710 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-5055, jourdefeteaspen.com), family owned and operated since 1988. Owner Olivier Mottier’s French roots shine through on the breakfast and lunch menus, but the chorizo burrito here is the go-to to-go.
Grab a signature Hillstone sandwich and a handcrafted cocktail at White House Tavern (302 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-925-1007, aspenwhitehouse.com), an always-bustling, cozy converted mining-era home that inspired its name.
Do the daily lunch special at Mezzaluna (mezzalunaaspen.com), where pastas and pizzas are $12 or the daily dinner special offering your pick of five $15 entrées or $8 appetizers with 25% off all bottles of wine.
Meat & Cheese (319 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-710-7120, meatandcheeseaspen.com) always makes for a special meal of award-winning “world farmhouse” cuisine, creative craft cocktails and too-pretty-to-eat charcuterie boards. Plus, they give everyone 15% off for off-season in the restaurant and Farm Shop through November 20.
Head just outside of town to Home Team BBQ (38750, CO-82, 970-236-2040, hometeambbq.com) for daily happy hour with a special menu from 4-6 p.m., “Friday Night Live” with Woody Creek Distillers drink specials and a rotating roster of local bands or Sunday brunch with NFL Sunday Ticket on the big screens.
Campo de Fiori (205 S.Mill St., 970-920-7717, campodefiori.net) offers 25% off the entire bill every night of the week (excluding bar menu) where you can chat up the regulars and warm up with authentic Italian eats.
Everyone loves Rustique Bistro (216 S. Monarch, 970-920-2555, rustiquebistro.com) for its “Fried Chicken Thursdays” including three courses for $27 and its nightly prix fixe for two courses for $36.
Duck into The Little Nell (675 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-4600, thelittlenell.com) for three courses for $47 in the luxury hotel’s signature restaurant Element 47 through October 31.
*For the full list of who’s open and who’s closed, visit eataspen.com. And always ask your server to confirm special offers.
The Limelight Hotel is lit up on a winter night. Photo by Jason Dewey
Take advantage of lodging deals like the Limelight Hotel’s Colorado Locals Rate which offers a standard or deluxe room from $160 per night with proof of residency (355 S. Monarch St., 970-925-3025, limelighthotels.com). Find a five-star stay for less at its sister property, The Little Nell, for $245 per night for a standard room through November 22. Aspen Meadows Resort offers a Leaf Peepers Fall Foliage Package, valid through October 22 for 20 percent off lodging with breakfast for two daily and a Colorado Local’s Special for up to 40% off a regular room rate through December 20 (845 Meadows Rd. 970-925-4240, aspenmeadows.com).
SEE + DO
Lead With Love’s 3rd Annual Summit runs October 25-28, 2018. Photo by Alina Hokanson
Droves of visitors go crazy to catch the fall colors, which peak in Aspen in late September and although the snow is already falling, there’s still a little bit of leaf peeping to be had. Car restrictions up to the Maroon Bells (fs.usda.gov) ended on October 8 and the road stays open through mid-November, so now, you can take a leisurely drive up to sightsee around one of the world’s most photographed mountains or to Ashcroft Ghost Town (aspenhistory.org)—both sure to be much more serene sans the crowds.
The Aspen Art Museum (637 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-8050, aspenartmuseum.org) presents innovative exhibitions from the international contemporary art scene with admission free of charge thanks to its generous donor base. Its roof deck café is a favorite spot for coffee or lunch meetings, which also plays host to Movies at the Museum—an ongoing series of free film screenings.
Weather permitting, take a walking tour through the West End with the Aspen Historical Society (620 W. Bleecker, 970-925-3721, aspenhistory.org), which is focused on history, architecture and the little-known facts about the Victorian-era homes and the people who lived in them. By appointment only, you can also go for a guided tour of downtown Aspen in AHS’ new electric vehicle—complete with a visit to both the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum.
Listen to live music at the Belly Up Aspen (450 S. Galena St., 970-544-9800, bellyupaspen.com), which has local bands on the calendar with no cover mixed with headliners like Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket (October 30) and Michael Franti (November 11).
The third annual Lead With Love, a four-day retreat (October 25-28, ileadwithlovesummit.org) at the Aspen Institute, offers yoga and meditation, spiritual psychology sessions, self-care services, leadership seminars and an eco-friendly marketplace.
Get your ski legs ready with yoga at Aspen Shakti (535 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-1655, aspenshakti.com), a pilates session at O2 Aspen (408 S. Mill St., 970-925-4002, o2aspen.com), or spin class at CycleBar (110 S. Spring St., 970-710-7398, aspen.cyclebar.com). Rejuvenate at the St. Regis Aspen’s Remede Spa (315 E. Dean St., 970-920-3300, stregisaspen.com) where you can spend an entire day in between the grotto, hot tub, cold plunge pool, steam room, sauna and oxygen lounge. A Local Love special is valid for a 60-minute massage or facial for $150 through October 18
Jour de Fête, White House Tavern, Mezzaluna, Meat & Cheese, Home Team BBQ, Campo de Fiori, Rustique Bistro, The Little Nell, Limelight Hotel, Aspen Meadows Resort, Maroon Bells, Ashcroft Ghost Town, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen Historical Society, Belly Up Aspen, Lead With Love, Aspen Shakti, St. Regis Aspen’s Remede Spa
Posted on August 27, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Photo Courtesy: Aspen Core
In a place tucked into one of the most majestic pockets of the world—surrounded by natural beauty, national forest land and protected open space—living green is the way of life. With renewable energy roots dating back to the 1980s when the city built the Maroon Creek and Ruedi hydroelectric plants, Aspen is undoubtedly a model citizen in how communities can reduce the carbon footprint of its residents.
In 2015, Aspen reached a major milestone in achieving 100 percent renewable energy to power its electric utility—the third city in the nation to reach such a designation. While the City of Aspen’s Climate Action Office leads the charge, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) —an independent non-profit organization— has helped teach Roaring Fork Valley residents how to conserve energy in their own homes. In 2000, this became the first program of its kind in the world.
Funded in part by the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP), CORE distributes funds in the form of rebates and grants and has awarded more than $8.2 million to the community for smart energy compliance. In 2011, CORE launched its official home energy assessment program to increase efficiency awareness and implementation even more.
With Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty's prospective homebuyers weighing sustainability in their purchasing decisions now more than ever, we reached out to CORE’s Kate Henion, BPI (Building Performance Institute) building analyst and marketing manager for her advice. Here are Kate’s top tips to help clients going through the process of selling or buying a property in Pitkin County:
- A home energy assessment is the first step. The assessment looks at the whole picture of your home— heating systems, windows and insulation levels. It provides you with a comprehensive report outlining opportunities for energy improvements that are specific to your home. Plus, homeowners get free “quick fix” installations and combustion analysis testing.
- Once you get the report, give CORE a call to go over the top priorities for the home. CORE offers free energy advising and cash-back rebates and its knowledgeable Energy Advisors can connect you with local, qualified contractors and help you with utility rebates.
- Easy projects to knock-off first include air sealing & insulation. By air sealing and insulating your home correctly, you can establish a thermal boundary, heating and cooling only your desired living spaces.
- Swapping out your incandescents for LEDs is another no-brainer, considering they use 75% less energy.
- Controls, like programmable thermostats, can save on your monthly utility bills. Smart thermostats provide you with those same savings, but with the added convenience of controlling your home by phone.
Since the program’s inception, CORE has performed 2,106 assessments and issued 1,380 rebates in the Roaring Fork Valley. Homeowners are eligible for up to $1,000 in rebates for energy efficiency upgrades, up to $5,250 for renewable energy, and larger properties are offered custom rebates.
Thanks to Aspen’s forward-thinking approach to sustainability and the work being done by organizations like CORE, new-build homes are also incorporating environmentally-conscious design elements from the start. One standout example of just how green a residential project can get? “Game On,” the personal home of John Rowland and Sarah Broughton, principals of their eponymous, award-winning architecture and interior design firm Rowland + Broughton.
Spanning 4,291 square feet on a small parcel in Aspen’s idyllic West End, the “modern interpretation of the historic homes from the turn-of-the-century that comprise much of the neighborhood” is LEED Gold Certified—the most widely used green building rating system and a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
It’s a rare residential designation, with commercial buildings more commonly applying for LEED Certified status, but one that the couple decided to take on themselves.
Inside John Rowland and Sarah Broughton’s LEED certified dream home of their own in Aspen’s West End neighborhood. Courtesy: Rowland + Broughton
“We wanted to put our money where our mouths are with this particular project. Sustainability is in our firm’s DNA,” says Rowland.
Siting the home strategically to avoid energy-draining appliances like an air conditioning system in favor of cross ventilation, he adds, “We went to great lengths on our insulation, so not only do we have a really tight envelope, but the house stays very cool all summer long.”
Also mindful of indoor air quality, Rowland explains that in selecting interior materials, “It means really understanding every little nuance that goes into the production and that no chemicals are ever used to avoid off-gas. Start by asking where the materials are coming from … are these supply companies green leaders in their own right? Do they practice sustainability in the harvesting of their raw materials?”
Inside John Rowland and Sarah Broughton’s LEED certified dream home of their own in Aspen’s West End neighborhood. Courtesy: Rowland + Broughton
Inventive elements like a gravel and sand bocce ball court in the backyard that doubles as a water filtration system for the home were matched with more traditional energy-saving tools like LED lighting and solar panels by Carbondale-based company, Sunsense.
Now, nearly three years after completing a dream home of their very own, Rowland is proud to report that, “We haven’t replaced a lightbulb since we moved in."
Posted on July 19, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Whether you’re a budding collector looking to add art to a new home, a realtor with staging needs or an experienced enthusiast shopping for a new piece, there is no better time to visit Aspen than late summer.
In recent years, Aspen has solidified its position on the international scene as one of the leading art destinations in the world. But its high-brow reputation has roots dating back to 1949, with the start of one of design’s great movements—the Bauhaus.
Now, the Bauhaus movement is coming full circle thanks to longtime local Lissa Ballinger, curator for The Aspen Institute. In 2019, the world will collectively celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Bauhaus with a slew of special events to partake in locally.
Ahead of official festivities next year, the 1978 sculpture created by renowned Bauhaus architect and artist Herbert Bayer, was unveiled on Aspen Institute’s West End campus. Bayer hand-selected the Carrara marble from Central Italy for this seven-piece geometric sculpture that measures 32 x 8 x 8 feet. The sculpture was acquired from the Denver Art Museum in 2017, through the support of Melony and Adam Lewis, Aspen-based philanthropists and members of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows.
Aspen Institute President and CEO, Dan Porterfield, shared in a statement, “The Anaconda sculpture is a wonderful addition to the Aspen Meadows Campus for the enjoyment of the whole community and to share in celebrating Herbert Bayer’s legacy. We are thrilled to install this sculpture as we gear up for next year’s celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School.”
Prior to spearheading the Bauhaus centennial exhibition, Ballinger worked with private clients, local galleries and non-profit organizations through her company, Walnut5 Art Advisory. Ballinger started her company in 2010 and offers services ranging from collection management and preservation planning to curation and placement consulting.
Photos courtesy of Aspen Institute and Lissa Ballinger
Before her “An Introduction to Bauhaus” art talk on Wednesday, July 25 at the Wheeler Opera House, we caught up with Ballinger to get tips for collectors, her favorite spots for finding art and learn what sets Aspen’s art scene apart from anywhere else in the world.
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Real Estate: What first brought you to Aspen?
Lissa Ballinger: The reason that I came to Aspen [in 2002] is because there is literally no place on earth—that is also a mountain town—which has this range and quality of cultural opportunities. Period.
ASSIR: What sets Aspen art scene apart and how has it changed over the years?
LB: I wrote my thesis on the visual arts in Aspen [she obtained her Masters of Art Administration from Columbia University] and at that point, I was talking about this influx of second home owners and how that had changed the viability of it being a year-round community. But now, 15 years later, it’s so interesting for me to reflect about how much it has changed since then. Art is all over the Roaring Fork Valley, our artistic achievements are being recognized on a much higher level and we’re truly a cultural center destination.
ASSIR: Where are your local, go-to spots to shop for art?
LB: The recurring shows at the Red Brick Center for the Arts and the Aspen Chapel are stocked with work from local artists. Anderson Ranch’s “Lunchtime Auctionette” every Friday in the summer is the biggest gem! And I always find something at their Annual Community Picnic. Downtown, Maker + Place and the Skye Gallery are each owned by young women entrepreneurs and Aspen natives. And the level of art-making down valley is incredible! The ArtBase in Basalt has a fantastic rotating gallery of local artists. I also love The Launchpad and SAW [Studio for Arts + Works] in Carbondale.
ASSIR: And on the gallery side?
LB: Gallery Maximillian, Baldwin Gallery, Harvey/Meadows Gallery and Boesky West.
ASSIR: What trends have you observed in the past year? Do you think the societal shift in the preference of “shopping local” has affected the art world?
LB: I would love that to be an art trend, especially as prices continue to go haywire…the relationship between money and art fascinates me. While Aspen has a thriving scene, there just haven’t been many venues for local artists to showcase their work. I’ve seen that change recently, which is really exciting. Overall in contemporary art, there was this departure from photography for awhile—it can be ubiquitous and people seemed less interested, but it’s coming back around.
ASSIR: What’s your biggest piece of advice for new collectors?
LB: Entering the world of art collecting can be overwhelming, intimidating even. My first thing I tell new collectors is to do research and be curious. Find out what specifically you’re interested in to keep your search narrow. I also encourage people to study art movements, which can help influence decision-making. Unabashedly right now, it should be all about the Bauhaus! And for more serious collectors, art advisors can play a really important role in helping guide you to discovering your personal taste. If you’re just beginning to collect, there are so many unbelievable and affordable experiences here to discover art if you seek them out.
UPCOMING ASPEN ART HAPPENINGS
16th Annual Aspen Arts Festival
Saturday, July 21–Sunday, July 22
Rio Grande Park
An Introduction to Bauhaus: Lissa Ballinger Art Talk
Wednesday, July 25, 5:30pm
Wheeler Opera House
Friday, July 27–Sunday, July 29
Aspen Ice Garden
Aspen Art Museum ArtCrush 2018
Wednesday, August 1–Friday, August 3
28th Annual Art Auction and Community Picnic
August 4, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Aspen Chapel Gallery Artist Talk
Wednesday, August 15, 5:30 p.m.
Art and Walking Tour of the Aspen Institute hosted by Lissa Ballinger:
Herbert Bayer Mountains and Convolutions, 1944–1953
September 12, 11 a.m.
Meets at the Aspen Institute Resnick Gallery
Every Friday through September 21, 11:45 a.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Posted on June 8, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Aspen was the first-ever resort community in the country to adopt an official bike sharing system in 2013. Fast forward five years later and it’s hard to imagine Aspen and Basalt without WE-Cycle and its many docking stations around town.
And Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been along for the ride since the very beginning, supporting WE-cycle as its first corporate sponsor in a partnership that’s now in its sixth season. This year marks another milestone for the non-profit organization: it’s the first bike sharing program in the world to be completely free for all users (for rides 30 minutes or less).
Made possible from a $145,000 grant from the City of Aspen, $45,000 each from Eagle County and the Town of Basalt along with robust sponsor support, WE-cycle ridership has already soared since it’s reopening on May 1— ridership is up 197 percent in Aspen and 44 percent in Basalt during the same time period last year according to director and founder, Mirte Mallory.
“Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been the most tremendous supporter from the very beginning. As our earliest adopters and believers, joining us as a system-wide sponsor has been transformative for what we’ve been able to accomplish at WE-cycle,” says Mallory.
Inspired by the benefits she saw bike sharing create for cities like Paris and Amsterdam, the Aspen native wanted the same solution available in her hometown. “Although we are a small community, we still face a lot of big-city challenges — traffic, air quality and especially parking,” she says. “Our hope is to continue to build on the bike culture that had already existed here and have both locals and visitors use WE-cycle as a viable transportation option.”
She credits Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty co-owner Ernie Fyrwald’s similar vision from having experienced bike share programs in cities he had visited over the years as the impetus for such a successful relationship. “He truly values the importance of supporting bike vitality and what it can do for a community’s livability,” says Mallory.
What started as a 12-station system in Aspen has since grown to more than 40 stations stocked with 190 bikes to work in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus system, plus the implementation of access in El Jebel, Willits and Basalt.
Under Fyrwald’s leadership, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has aligned with the program way beyond just putting branded panels on the back of WE-cycle’s bikes. For many brokers, using the system is essential in their daily commutes and also in showing clients prospective properties around Aspen and Basalt.
"Doing most of my business in the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods, WE-cycle has been a great way to get around. It's also a handy way to show clients a new neighborhood and how accessible it is,” says Lex Tarumianz.
Chris Klug, a passionate pedaler both on and off the clock, explains, “I have toured downtown and the West End together with my clients on WE-cycle bikes … they absolutely love it. Not only does it help reduce cars on our roads and lessens the impact on our spectacular natural alpine environment, but it’s also a far more efficient way to get around town during the busy summer months when you’re in a hurry. Overall, it just further sets our community apart and makes Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley such a special place.”
For Craig Ward, WE-cycle has been on his “must-support” list since the inception of the program. "I am thrilled that it is now publicly supported, so the bikes are free throughout the community!” he says.
Although she often tours clients around on WE-cycle bikes, supporting bike sharing for Tory Thomas isn’t just about “what it does for me and my business. What I love most about WE-cycle is what it does for our community and environment at large.”
If you haven’t already, sign-up for your free WE-cycle season pass and download the mobile app here: we-cycle.org.
Special thanks to Craig Turpin for photography of WE-cycle bike sharing in Aspen and Basalt, Colorado.