Steamboat real estate exceeds $1 billion |

Steamboat real estate exceeds $1 billion

Allen BestVail Co, Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. The real estate news from Steamboat Springs-dominated Routt County echoes that from other resort areas of the West. The town has established a new one-year record for real-estate volume, despite slowing sales during October.Through October, the county had recorded $1.39 billion in real estate sales. The county had not elevated above $1 billion until last year.The Steamboat Pilot & Today notes that this was accomplished despite fewer sales. But there is sharp appreciation, with much of the sales action now in the range between $1 million and $1.5 million. Overall, there is sharp price appreciation across the range of properties.With prices rising rapidly in Steamboat, real estate agents in the town of Craig, 42 miles west, are now starting to shop their lower-priced listings in Steamboat.

KETCHUM, Idaho Its all about location, say the real estate guys, and that can be said about ski mountains.Take Californias Mammoth Mountain. Fifty miles north or south, and the snowfalls are much, much less, says Jeff Dozier, a snow hydrologist from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Mammoth, three seasons ago, got more than 600 inches of snow.But Sun Valley has the opposite problem. The ski area was located there not because the snow was the best around, but rather because the Union Pacific railroad was looking for passengers, and it already had rails to Ketchum, which was a shipping point for sheep.In fact, Bald Mountain gets around 160 inches of snow, while a few dozen miles away are locations, not that much higher, with 210 to even 330 inches of snow per year.

BANFF, Alberta Mike Reid, who lives in Banff, is annoyed to no end about the open door policy of businesses along Banff Avenue, the towns tourist-friendly strip. Many of the doors to those businesses are left wide open during winter, as a way of inviting customers inside.Do the owner/managers of these businesses seriously believe that customers will not venture into their shops unless the doors are left wide open to welcome them? he asks in a letter published in the Rocky Mountain Outlook. It is, he adds, an irresponsible waste of energy.Global warming, Reid said, it starts with warming the air on Banff Avenue.

JACKSON, Wyo. The city council in Jackson has enthusiastically embraced a green agenda. It has signed the mayors agreement on climate change. It is going through an exhaustive in-house process intended to reduce energy use.Still, decisions to support their declarations can be hard. Consider the plan to outfit the new downtown parking garage with photovoltaic solar panels. The panels would generate almost as much power as the facility uses at its peak use, which is during winter.Placing these solar panels on a building, which will act as a community anchor, we have an opportunity to share the message of energy efficiency and independence with the millions of visitors who come here every year, as well as our own citizens, said Larry Pardee, the city public works director.Pardee, who once held the parallel title in Vail, was among several visitors to Aspen in October 2006 attending that citys Canary Initiative program on climate change. But the cost of the facility has inflated from $8.2 million to nearly $10 million. Although not all that is due to the solar component, some council members are questioning whether the solar gains are worth the incremental cost. Also at issue is obtrusiveness of the solar panels.

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