Not your grandpa’s country club: Frost Creek celebrates fifth anniversary
Brush Creek development finds success by tamping back the stodginess
Five years ago, a revolution occurred up the Brush Creek Valley that included a new vision for a languishing, exclusive development.
That high-end project actually found out it could be a lot more successful if it stopped being so stodgy.
In March of 2015, after decades of ownership, Fred Kummer of HBE Corp. in St. Louis, Missouri, sold his considerable land holdings in the Brush Creek Valley to Brue Capital. The new management worked with Eagle County and the Eagle Valley Land Trust to sell the 1,540 acres that now comprise the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space and set out to re-envision the former Adam’s Mountain Country Club.
What emerged was a whole different development model with a new name — Frost Creek.
“I am thankful every day that the former developer, Fred Kummer, did such a good job building the project. That’s not always the case,” said Mike Gibbs, Frost Creek’s project manager.
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The Brue Capital team, led by Denver-based developer Chad Brue, took over a project that featured a top-notch mountain golf course, an expansive and striking clubhouse, and some high-end guest cabins. What the Adam’s Mountain Country Club lacked was members.
At the time of the sale, Gibbs noted there was one homeowner, one sold lot and 32 club members. As Frost Creek celebrates its fifth anniversary, the development currently has 18 completed homes with eight more expected next year and 282 active members.
“That speaks to the growth right there,” Gibbs said. It also reflects the successful new image the development has created.
“Fred was looking for that very exclusive, high-end club — people-who-would-fly-in, exclusive. That clearly didn’t work,” Gibbs said.
Shortly after obtaining the property, Brue Capital brought a team to look at the property and its potential clientele. The verdict was simple — Frost Creek needed to broaden its appeal, expand its amenities and welcome families. That’s what’s happened.
“We are Eagle. We are friendly, we are outdoorsy and we are family-oriented,” Gibbs said.
While Frost Creek identifies more with the Eagle community than the Adam’s Mountain Country Club model, the project remains an upscale product. There are 137 residential lots on the property and all of the eventual owners will be club members. The initiation fee for local members is $35,000 and for national members the initiation fee is $30,000. Annual dues are $86,90 for local members and $5,790 for national members. Local members pay more because their proximity to Frost Creek means they are more likely to take advantage of its offerings.
The big change, Gibbs noted, is value that the memberships now offer.
“The golf here was always wonderful,” Gibbs said. “But not every person and not every family are golfers. To keep people excited about Frost Creek, we needed to add other amenities.”
The list of options is expansive and inclusive. There are activities that appeal to kids and others that appeal to retirees. Frost Creek offers a spa, fitness options, swimming, tennis, mountain bike and hiking trails, disc golf, an archery range, off-road trekking, paddle boarding and more.
“The fishing here is phenomenal and we continue to stock 2.5 miles of stream and our ponds,” Gibbs said. There are five fishing ponds on-site and additional ponds on the golf course.
Around the clubhouse there are game options including bocce, corn hole, a kids putt-put course and croquet. “We put in a 75-foot slip and slide, which was the best money we ever spent,” Gibbs said with a laugh.
In the winter months, members enjoy Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating with equipment available on site.
“Our driving range is the best sledding hill you have ever seen,” Gibbs said. “Our outdoor fire pit is used year-round, but it really gets its workout in the winter when it’s a s’mores station.”
Bob and Liane Clasen were among of the original 32 members of Adam’s Mountain Country Club. For about a dozen years, they were the only residents at the development. Bob noted that he and his wife bought into a concept that no longer exists, but they aren’t upset about that change.
“I don’t remember when we first came here that there was much talk about this being a family place,” Bob said.
“It was very high-end home and a golf club. It didn’t work out that way,” Liane added. “The new owners have been so much more creative and thoughtful in their approach. They also understood the market.”
The Clasens enjoy the new vitality at Frost Creek, interacting with people at the clubhouse and taking advantage of new activity offerings. But what they love most about their neighborhood hasn’t changed. Frost Creek remains a mountain paradise, surrounded by public lands.
“When Bob first took me to the property and we started driving up the valley, I said ‘You had me at Brush Creek Road.” It was so beautiful,” said Liane. “I have called this, right from the beginning, Shangri La.”
The Clausens said they enjoy the energy and excitement provided by the new neighbors.
“We are having a great time,” Bob said. “You just had to assume that this project, at some time, would find its right maker.”
“We feel like we have had the best of both worlds here,” Liane added.
Best of times?
As 2020 dawned, Frost Creek was poised for big growth in its fifth year. Then, like every other business and person on the planet, the development was hit with COVID-19 uncertainty.
Then something unexpected happened.
“Who knew a pandemic would be a huge boon for golf, private clubs and rural real estate?” Gibbs said.
After they emerged from quarantine, Gibbs said people wanted to come to the mountains.
“Once June 1 hit and the county dropped its non-resident travel restrictions and lodging was available again, the floodgates opened. Each week we think it can’t get any busier and then it does,” he said. “We will probably do 9,000 rounds of golf this year.”
There has been high rental demand for the eight member cabins on site and Gibbs noted the new owners also leased two spec homes for member rentals. Additionally, the Frost Creek crew has erected and outfitted two yurts designed for family “glamping.”
As Frost Creek experiences its busiest summer ever, Gibbs reasoned that COVID-19 has redefined the idea of going to work. Many people have discovered that home can be the office and it that’s the case, you can live and work anywhere including an exclusive corner of the Brush Creek Valley.
“People really love the outdoors and the wildlife. The solitude here is just priceless. There are so many places in the world that are so busy. Frost Creek is this little oasis,” Gibbs concluded
To learn more about Frost Creek visit the development’s website at http://www.frostcreek.com