Modern mountain getaways

New York buyers seek the security of gated communities near North America’s top ski destinations
By Jennifer White Karp | January 09, 2017 01:00PM

1949 Glenbrook Road

You can take the New Yorker out of the city — and put him or her on a ski slope —but you can’t take the big city out of the New Yorker.

As buyers of luxury properties, New Yorkers stand out, even in the most nonurban second-home destinations, the wide open spaces out West and in Canada. That’s because New Yorkers want to live in their ski homes as if they’re in a high-end hotel — and their expectations for privacy set them apart from buyers from other cities.

This month, LLNYC checks out the priciest homes on the market near the top ski destinations in North America. Most of the homes have vast square footage and an array of very outdoorsy amenities like hiking trails, fishing ponds and even things called entertainment barns, where you can round up a hundred of your close friends to party. Many of these homes are located in exclusive communities, as well. Homes were identified on Zillow.com and brokers’ web sites.

David McHugh of Sotheby’s International Realty, who works with many clients from Manhattan buying in the Vail area, said his buyers require concierge service, including a car waiting at the airport and a fridge stocked with groceries, when they visit their vacation homes.

New Yorkers have “worked hard in life
to get where 
they are and want a premium
home and want it their way.”
—David McHugh of Sotheby’s International Realty

They’re also looking for homes that don’t need to be remodeled, McHugh said. “They’re not looking for an investment opportunity. They’ve worked hard in life to get where they are and want a premium home and want it their way.”

And these luxury buyers want to be located in gated communities.

“They like the idea of privacy, and gated communities typically have amenities for them to enjoy,” McHugh said. He’s marketing a $22 million home near Vail in the gated community of Mountain Star, which borders the White River National Forest and offers hiking and snowshoe trails.

“This is very important for our luxury homeowners because it is just not a home they are purchasing, they are buying a lifestyle,” he said. “Unlike the L.A. crowd that likes to be seen, most of our customers are executives, fund managers and CEOs, and they appreciate the finer things in life but enjoy their family and privacy.” 

The gated community of Wolf Creek Ranch in Woodland, Utah, where a $25 million home on 320 acres is on the market, was the subject of a 2010 Wall Street Journal article headlined “Where the CEO’s Roam.” The article described it as a “gated community the size of Manhattan, where a small number of wealthy home owners can enjoy the feeling of living in the middle of nowhere — except for the 24-hour security, parties and cell phone access.”

Another home on the market on our list is in the private enclave of Gray Head, near Telluride, where well-heeled families, include New Yorkers, own vacation homes. “Telluride has always had strong ties to Manhattan. It’s estimated that as many as 20 percent of our holiday travelers are from the tri-state area,” said Bill Fandel of Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty. Buyers hail from the financial services world, New York’s real estate families and the worlds of entrepreneurship and entertainment, he said.

Also appealing to New York luxury buyers: the pedigreed architecture of “mountain modern” homes, Fandel said.

Telluride, Aspen and other ski destinations have been at the forefront of this contemporary look for well over a decade. It’s a design that makes the most of glass walls and mountain views, giving rise to new homes with big-name architects and interior designers near historic towns and world-class resorts.

The Gray Head home, known as Paradiso, is one major example. A collaboration with one of the region’s foremost builders, Fortenberry & Ricks, it took four years to build. Pivoting glass doors wrap around the home, open to large outdoor spaces for entertaining and frame views of the 14,000-foot peaks surrounding the property.

For a look at this and other refined mountain mansions that will appeal to a New Yorker’s taste, read on.

1949 Glenbrook Road, Tahoe, Nevada: $69,000,000
15 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms; 34,264 square feet
“They don’t have barns like this in Texas,” President George W. Bush told the owners when he visited this listing, called Shakespeare Ranch, where the 5,000-square-foot-plus barn, outfitted with a gourmet kitchen and wine room, is meant for entertaining. The Lake Tahoe area is home to several ski resorts, including Squaw Valley, Kirkwood and Heavenly. The historic property features several guest cabins and offers an unusually vast 130 acres right on Lake Tahoe. Broker Claudia Thompson of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty said it would be impossible to put together a parcel of this size so close to the lake today. And while Lake Tahoe has strict laws to prevent pollution, Thompson said the ranch is allowed to maintain its horse stables and rodeo grounds where an annual rodeo is held, a tradition dating back to the 1940s.

15 North Wenzel Lane

15 N. Wenzel Lane, Wilson, Wyoming: $53,000,000
2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 half-bathrooms; 7,715 square feet
It’s a bit wild here. Fish Creek and the Snake River flow past 265-acre Four Springs Ranch, bordered by public land and home to moose, elk and red-tailed hawks. The property includes a main residence with a detached studio, separate guesthouse, multi-use barn and large equipment barn. The contemporary glass and steel home, built in 2007, was inspired by the owner’s love of horses, and the layout is reminiscent of equestrian stables surrounding an interior courtyard. This listing is near Jackson Hole, and as of early December, nine days of consecutive snowstorms had dumped 59 inches on the mountain. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has new lifts to get skiers up the slope faster.

81 Wilson Way, Telluride, Colorado: $39,100,000
6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom; 12,4452 square feet
It cost over $30 million to acquire the land and build this house, known as Paradiso, according to broker Bill Fandel of Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty. The home, in the private community of Gray Head, was completed in 2016 and features a modern design, custom-quarried marble from Italy, limestone from India, exotic granites, bluestone and native rock. It sits on a 35-acre parcel overlooking a private, aerated pond that reflects the meadows and mountains surrounding the property. If you haven’t been to Telluride, you’ll need to know something about its geography: “It sits at a higher base altitude then nearly all of the competing resorts in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and California,” Fandel explained. “So despite a lower latitude, its concentration of 14,000-foot peaks in North America makes for cooler summers and temperate winters.”

1943 North Wolf Creek Ranch Road

1943 N. Wolf Creek Ranch Road, Woodland, Utah: $24,995,000
8 bedrooms, 8 full bathrooms, 3 half bathrooms; 17,861 square feet
To a New Yorker, the numbers associated with this listing are just eye-popping. The property is located in Wolf Creek Ranch, a 13,000-acre gated community next to the 2.2 million-acre Uintah National Forest and near two highly ranked ski resorts, Park City and Deer Valley. The home, built in 2006, is on 320 acres, and there’s a three-bedroom guesthouse and a 5,000-square-foot barn. Outside are a pond stocked with rainbow and brown trout and 60 miles of mixed-use trails. Park City is home to a burgeoning food scene. John Murcko, a James Beard finalist and Utah’s chef of the year, is opening his first restaurant on Main Street, said listing broker Will Lange of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.

56 Rose Crown, Beaver Creek, Colorado: $21,950,000
6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms; 9,824 square feet
This property is in a gated community known as Mountain Star, minutes from Beaver Creek and Vail ski resorts. The area borders the White River National Forest, which offers hiking, biking and snowshoeing. The home would attract someone who loves skiing and values privacy, said David McHugh of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. Built in 2000, the home has a modern design, which was unusual at the time for the area, McHugh said. “It’s a true glass house with clean lines and an understated look.” It has a custom staircase made of stainless steel and Honduras mahogany with birch inlays and floors that are Brazilian cherry. The home was built as three separate “pods,” intended to recall neighboring mountain peaks. Other features include a guesthouse, media room and library.

56 Rose Crown

105 Farnlun Place, Sun Valley, IDAHO: $8,400,000
6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms; 10,665 square feet
The Z Heart Ranch is a turn-of-the-20th-century working dairy farm, with several of its old structures still in use. It has an entertainment barn with a large wine room that rivals anything you would find in Napa, said Sue Engelmann of Sun Valley Sotheby’s International Realty. “It is rare to find a compound of this nature anywhere in our valley, to say nothing about being right in town. It allows one to be surrounded by what feels like a working ranch yet without the remoteness that comes with most ranches,” she said. The property is less than a mile from the River Run base of Bald Mountain, and Engelmann said that Sun Valley has a new fleet of environmentally friendly trail-grooming machines as well as updated water-conscious snowmaking equipment.

11 Ch. Killarney, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec: $4,850,000
7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms; 8,075 square feet
Mont-Tremblant features some of the most sought-out slopes in North America and hosts major winter sports events. The area has panoramic views of the Laurentian Mountains and is near the Mont-Tremblant National Park. This property is special because one can enjoy views of the mountain from the indoor pool, said Steven Lafave of Engel & Völkers Tremblant.

2453 Snow Valley Place, Whistler, British Columbia: $3,675,000
5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 1 half bath; 4.300 square feet
This area is home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America, as well as 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics sites, the Whistler Film Festival and a renowned restaurant scene.  In regards to this property, “skiing enthusiasts will love its private setting, stunning mountain views, ski-in access and proximity to the best restaurants in town,” according to John Ryan of the Whistler Real Estate Co. Residents are looking forward to the new Bar Oso for après-ski small plates and drinks, Ryan said.