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5 Surprising Things to Consider When Searching For A Mountain Home


5 Surprising Things to Consider When Searching For A Mountain Home

When buying a home in Breckenridge and Summit county you’ll want to consider that weather and altitude vary county-wide, proximity to resorts vs. stores, and how you’re going to get around up here.

Does it snow more in Breckenridge or Keystone?

Weather varies across the county with Silverthorne & Dillon experiencing about a month less “winter” than Breckenridge and Blue River.  Breckenridge gets more snow on average than Keystone, but both resorts get plenty of snow for great skiing.

So if there is plenty of snow for skiing and snowboarding why do you care that the weather is different is different parts of the county?

If you’d like to enjoy snow on the slopes but hate shoveling your driveway or enjoy sitting on your deck in the Summer but think that 65 is cold you might want to consider buying a home in the northern part of the county. Silverthorne and Dillon are called the “banana belt” by locals because that part of the county has about a month less Winter and a month more Summer than Breckenridge. In fact Heeney in the very northern tip of the county has the highest temperatures.

Blue River, just south of Breckenridge, is known for being the snowiest part of the county. While listed averages only vary about 5 degree across the county, I found that Blue River tends to be about 7 or 8 degrees colder than Silverthorne. When you comparing 75 to 68 during the Summer that can be a big difference. 

What is the altitude in Blue River vs Silverthorne?

The altitude in Summit County varies from 7,947 at Green Mountain Resevoir to 14,270 at Gray’s Peak.

Altitude by town: 

Silverthorne 9,035

Frisco 9,097

Keystone 9,173

Dillon 9,111

Breck 9,600

Blue River 10,036

Why do you care about the altitude of your home? Altitude has an effect on how much oxygen is in the air and it can affect some people more than others. 

Personally, when I used to visit often I’d find that even the 1,500 ft difference between the house where we would stay and Main St in Breck made a difference in how easy it was to concentrate on my work. 

On the flip side, there are some real health benefits from living at a high altitude. But if you aren’t going to be living here full time and have found that the higher altitude does affect you, the altitude of your house might be something you want to take into account. Or you can just invest in an oxygen concentrator, that works too. 

Fun fact: Summit County has the highest neighborhoods in the country with the homes at the top of NorthStar Village, just before Hoosier Pass, sitting at 11,500 ft above sea level


Is it more important to be close to the highway or close to a ski resort?

This a question that you’ll have to consider for yourself.  You might find it more beneficial to live in Silverthorne or Dillon so you can pop right off the highway and through the grocery store to cut down on the time you spend on the car on the trip up the hill.  Or you might prefer to drive a little farther on the day you arrive if it means cutting down on the time it take to get on the slope in the morning. 

Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne are right off the highway with more stores for easy shopping and less traffic on a Friday night. 

Breckenridge and Keystone, well that’s where the ski resorts are but you’ll fight more crowds at the grocery store. 

Blue River?  Buy a house there is you want to feel like you’re really in the mountains and don’t care about driving a little farther to get that feeling.


Where will my guests park?

In general, you want to have enough parking for all of the vehicles that will need to park at your home. There is NO STREET PARKING allowed by the towns or the county, except in a designated parking spots in the downtown areas.  Many condo units only have one designated parking spot.

Additionally, there are very few public overnight parking spots. The parking lots and designated parking spots in each town are for daytime use only with most of the parking only being available from 6am-2am.  

These rules mean that any guests that you have visit will need to park on your property. If you regularly plan on having people join you at your mountain home you’ll want to make sure that you have the space for their vehicles too. 

If you do find that you need an extra spot for a night there are three specific lots in Frisco that allow for overnight but for a max of 24 hrs.


What is the Summit Stage bus route?

Public transit, busses specifically, might not be something that you use regularly where you live. So adding “must be on the Summit Stage route” to your list of property requirements might not have been something you thought about, but it should be. 

Living on the Summit Stage route can mean that different members of your house can head to the slopes at different times without you having to pay for parking for multiple vehicles.

It can be a way to ALMOST get a ski in ski out experience if you live near one of the stops.  The bus drops off much closer to the gondolas at Keystone and Breckenridge than you usually are able to park. I say this as someone who loves to ski but hates walking in ski boots. 

Since most of the towns don’t allow overnight parking taking the bus when you plan on going out can be a safe way to make a plan to NOT drink and drive.  Summit County takes drunk driving very seriously.

We do have ride-sharing services up here but it is usually faster to catch the bus into town.

Plus it’s free! 

Images courtesy of:  Photo by Eric Miller on Unsplash