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cheapest real estate for big mountain skiing?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi all, 

I'm hooked on big mountain living now that I've spent a month in Whistler. Unfortunately the prices here are completely unaffordable for me--I don't want to pay 170k to live in a 240sqft hovel. I am happy, however, to buy land near a ski hill and put in sweat equity to build a house. I do have friends whose parents bought land in Whistler for $3,000 back in the day--and their houses are now worth millions. 

Where would people recommend for low cost land near a big mountain? I'd love something right on a hill, but I'm guessing that's unlikely... something within a 10 minute drive to the hill would be ideal. Surely there are some up-and-coming hills, or some hidden gems out there... 

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 31
Just returned from four nights at Telluride.  While it is one of the most beautitul places I have ever skied (rivals Whistler and Lake Tahoe imho) I would not call it cheap.  That 240 sqft hovel you referenced above would be $350K+ in Telluride!

Good luck in your search...
post #3 of 31
Town of T-ride minimum =$500/ft.  Mountain Village=$400/ft. min., unless of course you are looking at <3,000 sq. ft.)
post #4 of 31
350-400K entry point to be within bike distance of anything big in the west is about how id sum it up..If you can live in a oneroom kitchenet you can ski in ski out for 150K at few. Good luck
post #5 of 31
I was just in big sky and there are condos in the Meadow Village (in the town itself not at the mountain base) about 10 min from the slopes for like $170K which for out there is pretty good, might be the right time to buy. Pretty much everything out west is expensive, despite popular belief that "there's just so much land!"

Reasons:
1) severe shortage of flat, buildable land that's on stable soil and not in a flood plain, rockfall area, etc, with a nearby road

2) high construction costs due to transportation cost of materials, high labor cost for specialized and short supply laborers, short construction season due to the long winter. A carton of Fig Newtons cost me $6 instead of $2... how much do you think it costs to transport lumber and concrete out there? lol

3) severe shortage of land not owned by Ted (you think I'm joking, I'm really not, there's a reason almost everyone out West can claim to be "Ted's neighbor")
post #6 of 31
 I was just looking in Big Sky were those the condos by the pond?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sosumi View Post

I was just in big sky and there are condos in the Meadow Village (in the town itself not at the mountain base) about 10 min from the slopes for like $170K which for out there is pretty good, might be the right time to buy. Pretty much everything out west is expensive, despite popular belief that "there's just so much land!"

Reasons:
1) severe shortage of flat, buildable land that's on stable soil and not in a flood plain, rockfall area, etc, with a nearby road

2) high construction costs due to transportation cost of materials, high labor cost for specialized and short supply laborers, short construction season due to the long winter. A carton of Fig Newtons cost me $6 instead of $2... how much do you think it costs to transport lumber and concrete out there? lol

3) severe shortage of land not owned by Ted (you think I'm joking, I'm really not, there's a reason almost everyone out West can claim to be "Ted's neighbor")
post #7 of 31
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post #8 of 31
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post #9 of 31
Well, how about Big Mountain.  ().

Of course, they've changed the name to Whitefish....

http://www.nmar.com

You have to like fog, of course.  But seriously, just use that link and narrow it down using the area labeled Greater Whitefish and you'll be within a half hour.  52x will bring you in even closer, not just Big Mountain.  (includes Whitefish Range, upper and lower Big Mountain Rd, Big Mountain Rural, etc.)

I looked at under $400,000 and there were 100 listings in the 52x area. 
post #10 of 31
 I understand that Revelstoke is still relatively less expensive and it's a heck of a big mountain.
post #11 of 31
i'm not sure where the 'pond' is. it's in the plaza closer to gallatin gateway, the one with Lone Peak Brewery, the church and post office. The road is called Ousel Falls Rd.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosumi View Post

i'm not sure where the 'pond' is. it's in the plaza closer to gallatin gateway, the one with Lone Peak Brewery, the church and post office. The road is called Ousel Falls Rd.

 


Ousel Falls is a pretty area, but quite a distance from the mountain.
post #13 of 31
Thing is, your in Canada, so I am assuming a Canuk, so replies on the US RE market don't do you much good, correct? I too would be curious if there is anything in BC within an hour of good/great skiing that is still affordable, as I am a in the US, but thinking of returning home before the Zombie Financial Apocalypse hits down here.
Not that the skiing is great, but Bend Oregon has lot's of RE for $90 a sq ft that is really damn nice within an hour of Mt bachelor.
post #14 of 31
Check out Golden & Kicking Horse in BC.  I have been up there a couple of times, if they can survive the poor economy the potential there is pretty attractive.
JF
Edited by 4ster - 3/22/10 at 6:08pm
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hey, if there were a cheap ski area in the western US, that'd be great! Sounds like there isn't really anything though... 

The best I can come up with for cheap year-round living is Red Mountain in BC near Rossland. But still not cheap for me. You can find Canadian real estate at http://www.mls.ca by the way. Is there a similar system in the US? 
post #16 of 31
????   The link I gave you is the type of link you are asking for in the Whitefish area.  I checked listings for $170,000 and lower close to the mountain.  Found 34 of them.  This place doesn't look like a hovel to me.  Neither does this one.  Not sure what else I can do for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hey, if there were a cheap ski area in the western US, that'd be great! Sounds like there isn't really anything though... 

The best I can come up with for cheap year-round living is Red Mountain in BC near Rossland. But still not cheap for me. You can find Canadian real estate at http://www.mls.ca by the way. Is there a similar system in the US? 
post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 


Oh jeeze--sorry for the blonde moment! That's exactly what I wanted. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

????   The link I gave you is the type of link you are asking for in the Whitefish area.  I checked listings for $170,000 and lower close to the mountain.  Found 34 of them.  This place doesn't look like a hovel to me.  Neither does this one.  Not sure what else I can do for you.
 


 
post #18 of 31

I moved from Steamboat to Utah for just that reason. I've been shopping around the market and there are a ton of houses, not just condos for well under $200K. The houses in the $150 to $200K range are about 1,500 to 2,500 square feet with several bedrooms. The areas I've been looking at are about 20-30 minutes from Snowbasin and Powder Mountain and within an hour/ hour fifteen from the Cottonwoods and Park City.

I think real estate is a little more expensive in SLC, but still more affordable than most ski areas.
 

I have no clue about land prices, but you could save yourself some work and buy a nice, new house; a number of houses I've seen were built in the 90's or early 2000's.
 

post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

I moved from Steamboat to Utah for just that reason. I've been shopping around the market and there are a ton of houses, not just condos for well under $200K. The houses in the $150 to $200K range are about 1,500 to 2,500 square feet with several bedrooms. The areas I've been looking at are about 20-30 minutes from Snowbasin and Powder Mountain and within an hour/ hour fifteen from the Cottonwoods and Park City.

I think real estate is a little more expensive in SLC, but still more affordable than most ski areas.
 

I have no clue about land prices, but you could save yourself some work and buy a nice, new house; a number of houses I've seen were built in the 90's or early 2000's.
 

I was thinking the same thing.  Real estate in Utah seems to have more realistic values that the rest of the west especially considering the close proximity to world class skiing.  I am trying (rather unsuccessfully) to get my wife to move to Utah.  We were in Utah a few weeks ago while my wife was a business trip and my company has offices and facilities in Tooele, Clive, and Aragonite and while not ideal for skiing it would be much better tha Ohio.
post #20 of 31
I'm always amazed at mountain area real estate prices. Utah seems to be the most reasonable but they are all high. I live in the southeast.Costs per square foot are much less than cost per square foot in Bozeman or similar near mountain towns. $120 a sq foot will buy you a beautiful home in a good location in the south. Near beach property is less expensive than near mountain property. TPC and equivalent golf course development homes cost a third less per square foot than similar quality golf course developments near the mountains. With nothing but mostly open spaces, the "views" in the west are prized greatly over the "views" in the east. Along the southeast coast if you run out of land you just move a half mile farther inland and build some more. If you want to see the sun set over the ocean you drive 10 minutes and sit on the public beach. Seems to be a different mindset in the mountains.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

I'm always amazed at mountain area real estate prices. Utah seems to be the most reasonable but they are all high. I live in the southeast.Costs per square foot are much less than cost per square foot in Bozeman or similar near mountain towns. $120 a sq foot will buy you a beautiful home in a good location in the south. Near beach property is less expensive than near mountain property. TPC and equivalent golf course development homes cost a third less per square foot than similar quality golf course developments near the mountains. With nothing but mostly open spaces, the "views" in the west are prized greatly over the "views" in the east. Along the southeast coast if you run out of land you just move a half mile farther inland and build some more. If you want to see the sun set over the ocean you drive 10 minutes and sit on the public beach. Seems to be a different mindset in the mountains.
 
I don't know about that.

Cost per square feet is not just a factor of "view" but also a factor of construction quality. I'm not saying all houses in the south are cheaply build. But I've "toured" some of the beach/golf course developements in the south. And I wouldn't build my own house that way!

The mountain homes I've seen in resorts seems to be much higher quality.

Maybe it's a market thing. There're relatively few "down market" housing in mountain towns.

Or maybe it's just I've LIVED in the south and have seen the low end of the market. But have only "visited" mountain towns and only seen up market housing? 
post #22 of 31
You can also take a look at Blue River near Breck. 10 minutes into town and half an hour to get on the mountain, including change/boot-up/gondola ride. 45 minutes puts you in Keystone/A-Basin and an hour+ makes Vail/Beaver Creek completely doable as well, so long as you're cool with parking forever away or shelling out $25 a day for the close stuff.

In between all that, you can usually find fairly decent prices in Silverthorne/Dillon, which, while they're not nearly as scenic give you the best access to everything on the epic pass. Or Copper, if you're not into the whole Vail Resorts thing.

And if you don't like mega mountains at all, Leadville's practically giving away houses in the hopes that someone, anyone (please!) will stop its freefalling fortunes. Plus, you get to ski Ski Cooper--all 400 acres of it. 
post #23 of 31
 I was gonna write something as a joke, then the more I thought about it, it's not too far fetched at all.

Build your own mountain.  

Seriously, it's not that hard.  Buy some land on any ol' mountain and put in your own lift, especially a surface lift.  Used lifts aren't that expensive and acreage on mountains is pretty cheap.  When you get tired of your mountain, get out the chainsaw and make a new run.
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post



I don't know about that.

Cost per square feet is not just a factor of "view" but also a factor of construction quality. I'm not saying all houses in the south are cheaply build. But I've "toured" some of the beach/golf course developements in the south. And I wouldn't build my own house that way!

The mountain homes I've seen in resorts seems to be much higher quality.

Maybe it's a market thing. There're relatively few "down market" housing in mountain towns.

Or maybe it's just I've LIVED in the south and have seen the low end of the market. But have only "visited" mountain towns and only seen up market housing? 

 

Good point.  My adobe house in Taos is much more expensive to construct than a house in the south.  While some of the materials are inexpensive, extensive labor is required.  The 12 inch walls, wooden ceilings, vigas, and all of the finishing touches are very expensive.  I have a water well, which isn't cheap to drill.  Also, the house has a boiler for the hot water radiant heat in the floor.  $250 per square foot in my area is a good value.
post #25 of 31
Just wondered about this.  Maybe it's because we have to support the weight of snow on the roof that the houses are sturdier?  I know walking around our condo in NJ and even the condo in PA at the mountain the floor would shake.  Of course, we had a much better builder here, but this place you can't even call someone down to dinner, let alone the floor shaking.  The roof is built to support a SUBSTANTIAL snow load due to its location in NW Montana.  That means more support in all the walls, etc.  

Of course, we also have radiant floor heating because we frequently lose electricity and we wanted something to retain heat for hours even though we have a very efficient wood fireplace.  That also added weight to things.  I couldn't say what our square foot costs were because we built in 3 stages over a number of years and I notice that the architectural floor plans don't seem to quite add up to what I would consider the floor footage of the house.  (I tried to figure out what the numbers on the plans were including and just couldn't come up with it at all.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post



I don't know about that.

Cost per square feet is not just a factor of "view" but also a factor of construction quality. I'm not saying all houses in the south are cheaply build. But I've "toured" some of the beach/golf course developements in the south. And I wouldn't build my own house that way!

The mountain homes I've seen in resorts seems to be much higher quality.

Maybe it's a market thing. There're relatively few "down market" housing in mountain towns.

Or maybe it's just I've LIVED in the south and have seen the low end of the market. But have only "visited" mountain towns and only seen up market housing? 
 
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

 I understand that Revelstoke is still relatively less expensive and it's a heck of a big mountain.

Revelstoke has grossly inflated prices that make real estate more expensive than Whistler. However this is not sustainable so in a few years there should be some bargains.

According to a friend of mine who is looking, you can purchase a room in a condo hotel at Sun Peaks for as little as $27k, but then you have to add on strata fees, tourism fees, and the most expensive water in Canada. My friend has decided to try and rent a basement suite year round for $500 or so per month instead.

There are also cheap condo hotel rooms at Big White as it seems the family sized accommodations are way more popular at these family resorts. BTW Sun Peaks has 100 used units and serviced lots for sale and Big White has 500 properties for sale.
post #27 of 31
Agreed on Revelstoke. I recently looked up prices there, and they are strikingly similar to what is found in Whistler proper. My biggest concern there is that if the ski resort was to go belly up, the town would go back to being a 3-season area (at best) and prices would be adjusted accordingly.

Not saying it is going to happen, but the resort has struggled with finances once already. With Whistler, you are paying a huge premium but also getting a safety net in knowing that the resort is firmly established and not going anywhere.
post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
There are also cheap condo hotel rooms at Big White as it seems the family sized accommodations are way more popular at these family resorts. BTW Sun Peaks has 100 used units and serviced lots for sale and Big White has 500 properties for sale.

I looked at big white as well; pricing seems in line with what you get: skiing for four and a half months of the year. Last I checked there wasn't much going on at Big White outside of the ski season--I may have forgotten to mention that I'd like to make this a permanent base of operations... the US options are looking pretty appealing. Sun Peaks looks ok but the snowfall's limited. Too bad Revelstoke, KH and Silver Star are pricier. It may end up being Red Mountain... gotta check out the towns nearby first.
post #29 of 31
Metaphor, don't be fooled by Sun Peaks low amount of snow because they do more with less by utilizing snow making early season and there are few rocks and no stumps and very light dry snow.. Also there are fewer people per acre which means less impact on the snow pack and there is way less competition for powder than most resorts.

On the other hand the village at SP is nice but very small with less than 400 year round residents. Personally, I would not choose to live at SP in the summer but I think Rossland is a great little town and Red Mtn. has some of the best tree skiing anywhere and excellent back country access. The negatives for Red are that on powder days the locals all show up, ski the mountain off in a couple hours, and then go back to town and the businesses open up 2 hours late. IMO Red is not all that great if there is no fresh snow and it can get pretty mild.

IMO the ski towns in the USA are better than Canada but unless you have dual citizenship you will not be able to stay in the US longer than 6 months at a time and will have trouble finding any legal employment.
post #30 of 31
I don't know about what it takes to keep the floor warm or shed the snow off the roof but I see homes in the mountains with electric strip wallboard heaters, electric water heaters, electric ovens and ranges, Formica counter tops, linoleum kitchen and bath floors, fiberglass tubs, no overhead lighting in any room, painted overlap siding and no landscaping selling in the mountain west for 50% more per square foot than air conditioned, gas heated, gas kitchen, tile bath and kitchen, granite or marble counter tops, brick exteriors and landscaped lots sell for all over the southeast. I also see golf course development lots sell for twice as much in the mountain west than in the southeast. Both golf courses were farms or ranches before they were developed but in the west once they're called a golf course development prices go up astronomically. I know something about these prices because I'm fortunate enough to own one in each area. I have not built a building in the west but I have built several homes and numerous commercial buildings in the south so I'm not a complete babe in the woods. Maybe it's due to the cost of land but I've tried to factor that in and I can't make it explain the difference. Maybe it's the cost of labor but I just can't believe it's that much more difficult to build a house in the mountain west. I do know that if it were easy there would be thousands of builders (supply and demand) from all over the country moving out to show the folks in the mountains how to build a good home at a fair price. There is evidently something about the mountain west housing market I just do not understand.
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