Vail Daily column: Cordillera: A great place to live | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Cordillera: A great place to live

Dr. Nancy Alexander
Valley Voices

When my husband and I were looking for a place to retire, we wanted easy access to hiking, outdoor activities and mountain beauty. When we first saw Cordillera, we knew that we had arrived at our future home. We are close to Edwards, Avon and the ski areas and can hike and snowshoe right outside our door.

Cordillera is an important part of the Edwards area, spanning more than 7,000 acres, nearly half of which are open space.

The Cordillera Metro District and Cordillera Property Owners' Association work together to ensure that Cordillera is a premier mountain community. As two quasi-governmental entities, we blend the best practices of the public and private sectors to enhance Cordillera with services and refinements.

The Cordillera Property Owners' Association and Cordillera Metro District provide year 'round amenities for residents, property owners and visitors which complement the three golf courses of the Club at Cordillera and amenities provided via The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.

About 25 percent of the Cordillera homeowners live here full time. Whether full- or part-time residents, all expect and receive excellent facilities and services. In addition, many of these services and amenities enhance the overall good of the larger Vail Valley community.

In 2003, Cordillera began addressing the issue of wildfire protection. The best way to protect a home from wildfire is to ensure defensible space and roofing materials that are not flammable. Wildfires often occur during periods of very low humidity, high temperatures and high winds. Because of this, Cordillera changed its roofing requirements to prohibit combustible roofs on new houses. Cordillera also adopted a timetable requiring homes to create and maintain a defensible space around a structure where fuels and vegetation are cleared to reduce the spread of wildfire. Staff assess the properties on a five-year rotation plan. Cordillera has been officially recognized as a Firewise community.

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The mountain pine beetle was recently responsible for the death of thousands of trees throughout the western U.S. and Canada. Although Cordillera has excellent biodiversity ranging from sagebrush to spruce, we lost many of our lodgepole pines. We took aggressive action to slow the spread of the beetle by removing the infested trees. We couldn't stop the beetles in the adjoining national forests, but we could diminish the devastation in our community.

Examples of amenities and services provided by Cordillera include:

• With memberships available to Cordillera residents and nonresidents, the Vail Gondola Club offers easy access to Vail Mountain and a warm gathering place via a private club at the base of Gondola One.

• We have more than 40 miles of roads to maintain and plow providing access to Cordillera's public and private amenities.

• In summer, the 53 flowerbeds are a signature of our community with 80 percent perennials, 20 percent annuals and a concerted effort to keep this community beautiful in every way.

• Cordillera Metro District and Cordillera Property Owners' Association provide employment to 57 full-time employees. That number swells to more than 70 in the summer in order to run Cordy Camp and other seasonal needs.

• We're looking to improve and enhance the Equestrian Center, which is one of the specialized assets of Cordillera and which offers equestrian services to residents and nonresidents alike.

• Open to the public and located on the Cordillera Mountain course, the Nordic Center offers a groomed 5-kilometer skate and classic ski course for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

• Cordillera's summer day camp, "Cordy Camp" is a fun summer-long immersion into all activities indigenous to Colorado mountain living. Cordy Camp is also open to residents and nonresident children.

I hope this column gives some insight into the wonderful community of Cordillera and the overall place it holds in the Vail community. I invite you to experience it for yourself this winter season.

Before moving to Cordillera 10 years ago, Dr. Nancy Alexander was senior medical director at Organon Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, she was chief of contraceptive development at the National Institutes of Heath and a professor at the Oregon Health Sciences University, where she taught and did research in anatomy, physiology, immunology, microbiology and obstetrics and gynecology. She is internationally recognized for her work in fertility regulation methods, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. Alexander has edited or written over 300 research articles and books. She was recently appointed president of the Cordillera Metro District board of directors.

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