Hole in the Sky – that would be Cotton Ranch
If a dream-come-true means living in a lovely home in the mountains where you can ski in the morning at the premier international ski resort in the world (that would be Vail) and golf in the afternoon at one of the most beautiful, challenging courses in Colorado (that would be Cotton Ranch), welcome to Hole in the Sky – and that, again, would be Cotton Ranch.
Legend has it that Hole in the Sky was the name the Ute Indians, indigenous to the Valley, gave to the area now known as Cotton Ranch. Part of the ‘banana belt,’ this spot where the sun shines brighter and more often and the temperature is warmer and stays mild longer, is located just 35 miles west of Vail and 23 miles west of Beaver Creek. The 6,300 foot elevation fosters a gentle climate and allows a golfing season that seems to stretch on forever. This holds year-round appeal for outdoor enthusiasts who ardently cling to each season’s unique activities.
The natural splendors of the area are surprising to some, snowcapped mountain peaks rise on all sides of this high desert land, and apparent to all. Directly south of the growing town of Gypsum, Cotton Ranch is built around the golf course and lies in the valley surrounded by mountain views of Sawatch Range, New York Mountains, Red Table Mountain, the Flat Tops, and Castle Peak. Gypsum Creek rushes through valley and across the golf course.
Golfing is the heartbeat of this quaint neighborhood, the very first tee-off occurring in 1997. The community is predominantly made up of single family homes surrounding the 18 hole, par 72 course designed by Pete Dye.
The golf course has diverse, undulating terrain with snow-topped mountains offering a backdrop and the Colorado blue skies overhead. By all accounts the course is challenging and varied and fun. Semi-private, guests are always welcome.
A 12,000 square foot clubhouse is complete with exercise room, pro shop, fine dining restaurant, and lounge. For outdoor enjoyment there is a driving range, tennis facilities, 25 meter outdoor swimming pool, and fishing ponds for member’s to catch-and-release.
The club offers both social and golf memberships and about 75% of the Cotton Ranch residents are members. Residents refer to the clubhouse and its facilities as “a vacation in your back yard” and it draws the neighborhood together in unified activities.
The residential community consists of Cotton Ranch, the original development, and the upper mesa, called Sky Legend at Cotton Ranch. The development covers over 415 acres and will consist of over 500 homes when built out.
The upper bench, Sky Legend at Cotton Ranch, is 110 acres and will include 247 homes. Phase I, offering the first 77 lots and homes, has sold out. Phase II offers 29 custom lots and is 90% under reservation. The final phases, which will back onto BLM land, are in the planning stage.
Sky Legend at Cotton Ranch is located on the hillside of terraces overlooking the manicured greens of the Cotton Ranch golf course. It surrounds holes five, six, and seven of the golf course and consists of tree lined streets, quiet cul-de-sacs, and a network of walking paths. There are trails throughout the development extending onto BLM.
Currently active on the real estate market in the original development are six lots and five homes; all original developer lots have been purchased.
Residents describe the community at Cotton Ranch as very close knit. Fulltime residency is approximately 95% and contributes to a stable community base. The estimated average age of residents is 30 – 50. And with the new elementary and middle school within walking distance, this is a convenient place for growing families. Young families with children comprise about 50% of the community.
Sidewalks line one side of the streets and in the summertime it’s common to see residents strolling through the neighborhood in the evening or standing in their yards chatting.
Summer also brings bike riders of all ages and abilities venturing out onto the quiet, open streets of Cotton Ranch. For those who crave a more adventuresome ride there are numerous local trails, such as Cottonwood Pass, easily accessible. Also only a bike ride away, is the Eagle County Trail Program, a scenic recreational path linking Gypsum and Eagle and running along the scenic Eagle River. It also hosts fly-fishing, rafting, and kayaking adding to the list of activities easily available to residents.
Wintertime will display neighbors’ cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the golf course when the warm weather is briefly overtaken by snow and golf clubs need to be temporarily stored.
Also easily accessible to the Cotton Ranch community is Sylvan Lake State Park, just 40 miles southeast. It’s ideal for fishing, boating, hiking, and picnicking. National forest is adjacent to the Sylvan for longer excursions into the picturesque mountains.
The proximity of the Eagle County Regional Airport and Jet Center makes air travel an effortless undertaking.
With the longest golf season in the Vail Valley, a plethora of outdoor activities for the entire family, and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, this area has become the choice of many folks for fulltime and second-home living. Ask the homeowners and they’ll say the ‘hole in the sky’ is really an opening in the clouds where the sun shines down onto a little piece of heaven on earth – and that would be Cotton Ranch.