Wealthy: Aspen, Colo.
Cheaper: Mount Crested Butte
It's a little early to be thinking about ski season, but not if your options are plunking down a median $1.99 million for a place or spending a quarter of that to take a one- to two-hour drive at the height of winter.
Aspen and neighboring Snowmass really want skiers to commit when considering property in either area. That $1.99 million isn't great, but it's a deep discount in Aspen after the housing crisis and recession knocked the frosty wind out of home sales and continued to send prices downhill well afterward. The median cost of a home in Aspen was 25% more at this time last year.
It's a similar story in Snowmass, where the $1.25 million median is almost 22% less than it was in summer 2010. Homebuyers can bet against a comeback and wait for prices to plummet to the six-figure mark, but that kind of self-destructive cynicism isn't necessary when there's already a more budget-friendly option down the road.
Basalt, Colo., isn't exactly bargain basement with its $575,000 median home price, but has more to offer than Aspen and Snowmass. Basalt's roughly 27 minutes from the slopes at Aspen and six minutes from Snowmass, but its position on the Frying Pan River and Ruedi Reservior make it a great trout-fishing and boating spot as well. If so inclined, a homeowner can take some of that savings, invest in a decent mountain bike and spend the summer pedaling through Roaring Fork Valley. It's in the middle of the action without being amid the throngs of tourists, which in itself justifies the commute.
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