Colorado Housing, the Ski Town Life

Is Living in a Ski Town Expensive?

Yes, living in a ski town is costly. The main reason is simple supply and demand economics; the demand for Colorado housing and good jobs out weights what’s available. However, the real problem is housing. Even if you have a good job or have the resources to buy expensive real estate, finding a place to live or buy in a resort town is not easy. However, there are ways in which you can find the right fit. Follow along to understand better what’s happening in Colorado’s resort towns. 

The Dreamy Colorado Vacation

Colorado’s popular resort towns have many attractions, such as ski and snowboard areas, rivers, national and state parks, and cosmopolitan-type communities, all set in dramatic Rocky Mountain landscapes. Indeed, many tourists have had a dreamy Colorado vacation experience and are left with an appeal for the mountain lifestyle. It must be that fantastic vacation, which sets in motion, people’s vision of moving to Colorado someday. However, living and working in a resort community is entirely different from vacationing there. The best-case scenario is to move to your favorite Colorado town and not have to work.

COVID, the Digital Age, and Real Estate in Coloradocolorado housing

From the onset of the digital age, more and more people can work from home. Location-neutral people have been moving into resort communities for a while now, enabling living and working in a resort community but not relying on the local economy.

Couple this with COVID and Colorado’s resort towns have experienced another population boom. COVID accelerated the home office work scenario as going to the office suddenly became “unsafe.” For many, this transition to the home office became permanent and inspired the move to more desirable locations such as Colorado. 

This influx of population had a significant impact on Colorado’s resort communities. With favorite outdoor recreation activities out the backdoor essentially. Colorado’s resort towns became even more desirable than they already were. The result of this population shift just made housing in Colorado’s resort communities even more expensive, less available for local workers, and hard to find for newcomers.

To make matters worse, many locals who own mother-in-law-suits, have discovered that nightly rental income is much more profitable than housing a long-term renter. This has added to the challenge of finding a rental unit close to the lifts.

Set Me Up With a Ski Chalet 

If you are lucky enough to have parents or relatives who own a ski chalet or a condominium in a Colorado resort town, and some are that lucky. You can quickly draw a radius from the ski lifts to an area where you can afford to live. In other words, if you have deep pockets, you can live closer to the ski lifts than if your pockets are relatively shallow.

If you’re not that fortunate, here are some ideas for finding Colorado housing.

Colorado Housing Opportunities

Finding the perfect place to live in Colorado is challenging at best. The main problem is that you are competing with many others who want to live the ski town lifestyle. There are options If you are persistent and willing to work your way into a community. Eventually, you will find a good fit. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your housing search. Unfortunately, the "ski bum" lifestyle is not available anymore.

Social Media and other platforms

Facebook is a great place to look for rental places. Or, check out other similar types of online websites for rental opportunities. Finding a place to live has moved way beyond the want ads, (that happen a while ago) but try there too.

skiers getting on ski lift

Ski Resort Housing Option

Getting a job at a ski resort is relatively easy.  Finding a place to live is the hard part. 

If you take a job at a resort, many offer a housing option. If you accept the housing option, consider that you are just going on a staycation. As the housing is more like a dormitory environment where you share your bedroom and living space with people, you don’t necessarily know. These situations do give you time to explore other housing options, though. Often the best way to find a better living situation in a highly desirable resort community is to get to know the locals. Anymore, local residents don’t need to advertise to fill a vacant room or guest house; it’s usually a word-of-mouth opportunity.

Live on-site Property Caretaker

Being a caretaker for a second homeowner (as there are many second homeowners in resort towns) can be ideal. However, finding this situation can be challenging as these scenarios are sought after. Most caretaker positions include an expected amount of work in exchange for housing. The work is usually property maintenance, such as handy work, carpentry, remodeling, painting, housekeeping, yard work, and the like. Anymore, property management companies have stepped up to the plate and taken over property management care. So, finding these opportunities has become even more difficult and defines a unique situation. Working for a property management company may be a path to finding possibilities. Or, advertising your handy skills might open some doors for you.

Live in Nanny

Nanny positions are another possibility. Many affluent families need help with the kids and housework. Check out a variety of places to see what’s available. Usually, these positions come with housing and can be long or short-term.

Colorado Housing Authorities

Due to the housing issue in Colorado’s resort towns, local governments have become increasingly involved with HUD or Colorado Housing and Urban Development. As you may know, this organization is dedicated to providing and developing affordable housing for low-income residents. However, there is a set of guidelines and qualifications to be met.

Colorado Housing, Nearby Towns

Living in a nearby mountain town might be your best option for Colorado housing. There are many small towns surrounding the more popular resort communities in Colorado. Often these towns have much to offer and are worth checking out. The ski areas are never that far away when you live in Colorado to start with. You might even discover that these other towns are more your style.

The reality is that finding affordable housing in Colorado’s resort communities is difficult, especially if you need something affordable. In that case, you will most likely be looking at towns further away and commuting to a resort town job, where jobs are plentiful. Once you make the commitment to live in or near the area you like. Keep your feelers out as housing opportunities can pop up such as HUD programs or rental units. The more you get to know the locals the better your chances are in finding a super sweet place. 

 by Kathleen Fitzsimmons

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