Explore mountain mansions for charity | VailDaily.com

Explore mountain mansions for charity

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
HL VMS home tour 3 KA 09-10-08

A drive through Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch reveals an obvious truth: Both neighborhoods are populated with expensive, large and rustically beautiful mansions … er … homes.

And with so many to choose from, Lise Carnes had her hands full picking the homes for this year’s Vail Mountain School Home Tour.

“That’s the hard thing,” said Lise Carnes, the acting chair-person for the tour. Carnes also mapped out the tour for the most efficient shuttle path and decided how to direct traffic through each of the seven homes on the tour.

The 37th annual home tour is a fundraiser for the student scholarship fund at Vail Mountain School. What began as a kitchen tour to help a single student afford his education has grown into a full-fledged community event with a bake sale, raffle and of course, a peek inside some really nice abodes.

“Financial aid is an important part of the school and everybody wants to be a part of (helping out) with it,” said Nancy Young, director of development for Vail Mountain School. “(The tour) is a big deal ” it’s a lot more than just walking through houses.”

More than 300 volunteers will help out with this year’s home tour ” Vail Mountain School students, parents, grandparents and teachers ” acting as guides within the homes, selling goodies at the bake sale and serving lunch at SaddleRidge Restaurant to the expected 1,000 tour attendees.

This year Carnes said she tried to select homes that were a little more humble than previous tours.

“It’s very down-to-earth homes that we got this year,” Carnes said.

Humble isn’t quite an accurate descriptor for the newest home added to the tour, however. Home tour organizers announced last week that former President Ford’s 10,000-square-foot ski retreat, located on 65 Elk Track Court, will be on the tour. The home is currently on the market for $14.9 million. Besides the fact that you will get to walk around the space where a former American leader lived, you’ll also get to see the $4 million worth of renovations just completed on the house, like a new game room, massage nook and a room dedicated to Ford memorabilia.

Other offerings on the tour include homes with features like a stained-glass entry door, antique rugs, a caribou antler chandelier and a wood-burning pizza oven.

Ric Scripps owns 151 Elkhorn with his wife, Debbie. They were surprised when they were asked to open their home for the event.

“It is an honor. We were just blown away,” Ric said. “This (house) is not all that special compared to a lot of houses we’ve seen in Bachelor Gulch, but it is an honor.”

Although technically not part of the actual house, “the fabulous Western view” is the single best feature of the home, Ric said. From the deck, visitors can look out over a forested valley towards Castle Peak. That vista was one of the biggest reasons the couple bought the place. The home also has granite counter-tops in the kitchen, custom metalwork framing the fireplaces in the kitchen and living area, sturdy hardwood floors, a large stone deck with a jacuzzi, a beautiful wine room and ceiling beams imported from Russia.

The couple agreed to allow upwards of 1,000 strangers to walk through their house on Sunday mainly because the fundraiser benefits a good cause, Ric said.

“When we found out who the beneficiary was, that really made our decision for us,” he said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

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