Aspen offers a lifestyle that combines the best parts of resort living, big-city culture, and small-town community. From the four ski mountains to 100-plus downtown restaurants, Aspen's amenities are world-class, all built upon a rich history that other ski towns and resorts simply do not have.
Every Aspen homeowner has a different story about how they first came to town and why they eventually chose to ante up to Aspen's real estate market. From East Coasters looking to escape the big-city hustle to Midwesterners looking for friendly faces and alpine beauty, there are thousands of anecdotes about how the mountains called and our current residents and second homeowners answered.
While Aspen's appeal is clear, real estate is priced high. For buyers to invest in a primary or secondary residence, they often need more than the assurance that Aspen real estate holds it value through economic lows. They need a connection to this destination, whether it's physical, emotional or even spiritual.
According to our own Frias brokers, once you have that connection, it's a wonderful thing. Our brokers have transplant stories of their own, and their accounts of taking the plunge and living the pay-off often help their clients visualize their Aspen futures.
"You can really do it all in Aspen," said Chuck Frias, Frias Properties managing partner and broker. "Days are full here. Skin up Aspen Mountain, grab a coffee at Victoria's and be back in time for work or the next adventure."
Chuck moved to Aspen in 1974 when a pitstop on the way to surf in California turned into a full-time residency. He raised two children in Aspen and lives in the Meadowood neighborhood with his wife.
Read on, as we examine more aspects of the Aspen lifestyle that tip the scales and frequently turn visitors into homeowners.
Aspen Snowmass skiing offers unparalleled diversity and access
Aspen has deservedly earned the reputation as one of the premier skiing destinations on the planet, with four ski mountains offering different personalities and appeal for all levels and abilities. From Aspen Mountain's steeps and bumps and Highlands' plentiful powder to Snowmass's expansive terrain and Buttermilk's beginner havens, the diversity and access is unparalleled. Moreover, Aspen is a town steeped in skiing history with a long list of legends who have earned their stripes on our slopes. The legacy continues with FIS races hosted on Aspen Mountain and modern-day heroes and heroines taking on the huge jumps and half pipe at the ESPN Winter X Games.
A Syracuse, N.Y., native, Frias Broker Andrew Myatt moved to Aspen for the skiing in 2006.
"I moved here after visiting my best friend from Syracuse who moved here right after college," Andrew said. "I thought it was great that he had a professional job and could still ski over 100 days a year."
Nowadays, Andrew in the one skiing on his lunch breaks and doing deals on the lifts. He and his wife are condo owners in Snowmass Village and just welcomed their first child.
Aspen has more outdoor activities than summer camp
When Aspen homeowners aren't enjoying top-notch skiing, there are limitless outdoor activities. A summer day affords so many choices, it's nearly overwhelming. One day, you could be playing golf on the award-winning public course in the morning and road biking up to the Maroon Bells in the afternoon. Residents can pick their pleasure, and the only thing that stops them is an afternoon thunderstorm often accompanied by a rainbow.
After a successful media and television career in New York City, Frias Broker Sam Green moved to Aspen in 2001 to escape the rat race and get outdoors.
"I was drawn to Aspen to make my life look more like my vacations," Sam said.
These days, Sam teaches skiing with Ski Schools of Aspen Snowmass during the winter months and plays plenty of golf during the summer.
World-class arts and culture in Aspen
While it is a small town, the world comes to Aspen for marquee festivals during summer months, which celebrate everything from food and wine to global policy discussions. The Aspen Ideas Festival attracts world leaders, journalists and concerned stakeholders who gather every summer to discuss current issues. The Aspen Music Festival & School hosts a summer series that brings 750 student musicians, along with 200 guest artists and artist-faculty members together for 400 classical music events. Wine connoisseurs and aficionados have been making an annual pilgrimage to Aspen in June for more than two decades for the popular Food & Wine Classic.
The list goes on, but another perk of owning a residence in Aspen is front-door access to world-class events throughout the year.
Aspen's storied past adds layers of charm
Aspen's origins date back to the late 19th century, when silver was discovered in the area. By 1893, Aspen was a booming silver town with 12,000 residents. While other ski resorts didn't spring up until the 1960s or 1970s, many original Aspen buildings - such as the Wheeler Opera House and Independence Square hotel - still exist today. The early days of Aspen, along with Paepcke's "Aspen Idea," helped shaped the town into what it is today, a diverse gathering place that still places importance on nurturing mind, body, and spirit.
Aspen school district tops rankings
The Aspen School District is consistently ranked among the top districts in Colorado, and Business Insider included the Aspen School District No. 24 on its "2016 Best School Districts in America" list. In addition to academic excellence, Aspen educational programs extend beyond the classroom, from Outdoor Education trips and flight simulators to ski racing programs where students take the chairlift right from campus to Aspen Highlands.
Frias Broker Will Burggraf grew up in Croton-on-Hudson and Westchester, New York before moving to Aspen in 2002.
"I needed a break from the finance world," Will said. "I had visited my friends who lived here, and I was ready for a change in my life. Aspen has become what I was looking for and more, especially in regard to starting a family." Today, he spends time outdoors with his wife and daughter when he's not closing real estate deals.
Are you ready to make Aspen home?
If you have considered purchasing a primary residence or second home in Aspen, our brokers are eager to help you. Contact us to start the conversation about your connection with Aspen and your real estate dreams.