Archive for November, 2010

Local Lodges Report Brisk Business for Early Season

The Vail Daily reported on 11/27/10 that bookings in the local lodges in the Vail Valley including Beaver Creek are up significantly from last season.  The numbers:

14.6 % increase from last year in November bookings taken in October by Western mountain resorts.

12% increase in Vail on Sale Internet reservations from last year. 

Let’s hope this trend keeps up as we enter the ski season.  Clearly, the great early season snow has helped.

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Local Lodges Report Brisk Business for Early Season – Vail Daily

By Scott N. Miller










“The buzz on the Front Range about early-

season snow is palpable,” said Ralf Garrison,

director of the Mountain Travel

Research Program, a consulting company

that analyzes business at Western mountain

resorts. “It’s been a dominant subject of conversation


Garrison added that the “timing couldn’t

be better” for the early-season storms that

have come to the mountain resorts.

“There’s snow you ski on, and there’s snow

you market with,” Garrison said. “Early snow

creates buzz — it gets people excited.”

And people who ski on great early snow

also tend to make reservations for later in

the season, Garrison said.

While the snow is driving early-season

business, reservation numbers were starting

to perk up even before the weather turned


Garrison’s company reports that reservations

taken in October for stays in November

were up more than 14 percent from last year.

Reservations for the rest of the winter taken

in October also were running ahead of last

year’s pace.

While the country remains mired in an

economic slump, Garrison said Americans

still view vacation travel as a “birthright.”

“We don’t have to create market demand,”

Garrison said. “But the extra time and money

is needed to get people to move.”

That helps explain the continued trend of

people making reservations closer to the

dates they’ll travel.

“The experts don’t expect that to change

for a couple of years anyway,” Trotter said,

adding that a couple of major factors are at

work — financial uncertainty along with the

knowledge there will be rooms available

when they call.

Still, people are calling and seem to be

more willing to pay higher prices.

At the Mountain Haus, general manager

Steve Hawkins said while bookings are up

from last year, money collected is down.

“Some people don’t want to pay the 50

percent deposit we’ve required,” Hawkins


On the other side of that, though,

Hawkins said that his lodge is using fewer

discounts than it did last year.

While the Mountain Haus has a strong

core of return customers, the relatively new

Westin Riverwalk is still building a fan base,

so it’s being careful about its room rates.

“We’re raising rates incrementally —

we’re still a maturing resort,” Trotter said.

“And, of course, there are deals out there.”

While mountain resorts overall seem to

be on a gradual climb up, Garrison said Vail

and Beaver Creek may be poised to take

advantage of the day when consumers feel

better because those resorts are close

enough to draw Front Range skiers but tony

enough to draw destination guests, too.

“Resorts are getting better about (drawing

guests), and consumers are getting better

about doing the things they’re passionate

about,” Garrison said. “Everyone’s learning

how to cope, and it’s giving us a bit of

EAGLE COUNTY — Snow is good.

As local ski resorts revel in the best earlyseason

snow in years, local lodges are

reporting good news from their reservation

desks. It’s not 2007-type good news, of

course, but after the past couple of years,

most of us now accept that any numbers

better than those posted in 2009 are welcome

signs of progress.

Vail on Sale, a website run by the Vail Valley

Partnership for hotel deals booked no

more than three weeks in advance, is up 12

percent over the same period last year.

Bookings at the Mountain Haus in Vail

Village are up, too, as are reservations at the

Westin Riverwalk in Avon.

“We’re very pleased with the way the season

is shaping up,” Westin general manager

Bob Trotter said, adding that reservations at

his place are “significantly ahead” of last year.

Snow is a big part of the equation, of


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Eagle County Community Updates | Prudential Colorado Properties

Each quarter Prudential Colorado Properties publishes Community Updates in the Vail Valley.  These colorful, informative brochures are mailed out to owners in the Vail Valley. If you wish to be added to our snail mail list to receive any of the community updates, send me your request at and I’ll make sure you get on the mailing list. 

There are also electronic versions.  Click on the links below to get the latest real estate news on your community in the Vail Valley.

Beaver Creek Update

Vail Update

Edwards Update

Minturn & Avon Update

Eagle & Gypsum Update

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Rates on Fixed Mortgages Go Slightly Higher – The Denver Post

Rates on fixed mortgages go slightly higher

The Denver Post

Posted: 11/25/2010 01:00:00 AM MST

(Amy Sancetta, The Associated Press)NEW YORK — Rates on fixed-rate mortgages edged up again from the lowest levels in decades, making it slightly less attractive for Americans to buy or refinance in a market that’s struggling to recover.

Freddie Mac said Wednesday the average rate for 30- year fixed-rate loans rose to 4.40 percent this week from 4.39 percent last week. Two weeks ago, the rate hit 4.17 percent, the lowest level on records dating to 1971.

The 15-year loan also increased, to 3.77 percent from 3.76 percent.

It hit its lowest point since the survey began in 1991 two weeks earlier at 3.57 percent.

via Rates on fixed mortgages go slightly higher – The Denver Post.

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A Phenomenal Opening Day for Beaver Creek

It was cold and overcast and snowing, but that didn’t keep Jennifer Buck and I from joining many other skiers and snowboarders on Beaver Creek’s opening day yesterday. 

There was lots of new snow.  It was pretty amazing for late November.  If this keeps up, it could be one of those years!

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The New World of Short Sales

I recently attended a fascinating clinic with Richard Evans, District Manager, Stewart Title, on the subject of short sales.  Short sales are becoming more popular with lenders as an alternative to foreclosures.  A short sale occurs when the proceeds from the sale of a property are not sufficient to pay the lien holder(s) in full.  There are many advantages to the lender when considering a short sale versus a foreclosure:

  1. Saves most of the costs associated with a foreclosure.
  2. Removes the property from the lender’s books more quickly.
  3. Reduces Federal regulatory pressure on the lender.
  4. It is estimated that a short sale will result in a 25% higher return versus the foreclosure.

Richard heads up Stewart Title’s short sale division in Colorado.  He is highly knowledgable about the short sale process and what the major lenders are doing to make it easier on the owner and all parties involved.  Historically, the short sale process has been inefficient and unpredictable.  Many real estate brokers (such as myself) have avoided short sale properties because you can never be sure if you could get a deal done.

That appears to be changing. According to Richard, lenders are becoming more proactive and are starting to work more closely with clients to make the process more user-friendly.  I still have my doubts but anything that can be done to ease the process will be a welcome change.

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Mortgage Rates Still Low but Starting to Creep Up

We knew this was going to happen.  We have been enjoying record low interest rates for several years but there are signs this is about to end.  The average rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumped to 4.39% from 4.17% last week.  The 4.17% rate was the lowest level on record dating to 1971.  This rise in rates had a snowball effect on the mortgage market.  The number of people applying to mortgages slumped last week as a result.  So those folks hoping for lower rates probably missed their chance.  Of course, 4.39% for a 30-year fixed mortgage is still a very nice rate.

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A Dining Recommendation in Santa Fe

This is slightly out of the Vail Valley but Kim and I recently travelled to Santa Fe for a long, restful weekend.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but in particular, enjoyed eating at Galisteo Bistro.  I highly recommend this restaurant.  It is just off the historic square.  It is a small, intimate space.  The owner/chef takes personal interest in all his guests.  He seats you and checks on you while you are dining to ensure everything is to his high standards.  The food was excellent.  I thought the spices made the entrees special.  What I really liked was that the prices were reasonable and the wine list had several tasty, affordable wines.  The staff was very attentive without being intrusive.  I would return the next time we are in Santa Fe.

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Vail Resorts Updates Ever Vail Plans

Recently Vail Resorts presented a revised plan for its Ever Vail project to the Town of Vail.  There were several changes to the plan including lower building heights and a larger park.  Probably the most significant change was the 30% reduction in retail space, which only makes sense with the glut of retail in Vail already. 

Tom Miller, Ever Vail’s project manager, made the statement that “We think it’s a better project today than it was two years ago when we submitted it.”  Well, I sure hope so.  It would be a little odd if it were a worse project after working for two years with the town staff.  That being said, I think Ever Vail will ultimately be an excellent addition to Vail.  I’m confident Vail Resorts will get it right.  They have tons of experience in resort development and their results speak for themselves.  To see the article in the Vail Daily, click here.

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It’s Official: Vail to Open with 550 Acres on Friday!

Vail Resorts announced that it will open as scheduled on Friday, November 19, 2010 with 550 acres of terrain and 7 lifts.  The lifts that are opening are the Vista Bahn Express (#16), the Born Free Express (#8), the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19), the Avanti Express (#2), the Wildwood Express (#3), the Mountain-top Express (#4), and the Little Eagle Lift (#15).  In an unofficial observation of the amount of snow on Vail Mountain, a colleague who had recently hiked up the mountain to ski, reported at least 5 feet of snow above Lionshead.  It looks to be a great season opening.

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