You belong among the wildflowers…
Gunnison County has a lot going for it, even in the recreational mecca we call Colorado. The tucked-away mountain enclave retains a true-to-its-roots feel, and locals love their laid-back lifestyles. Given the area’s spirited mix of history, culture and activity, it’s no surprise that many visitors decide they want to own a slice of this unique spot, which might be a very good idea: As state and national markets have dragged and dipped, Gunnison County has remained relatively padded from the bumps.
The county is a patchwork of sorts: historic mining settlements and well-preserved ghost towns (43 total), the populous hubs of Gunnison and Crested Butte and troves of outdoor treasure: Colorado’s largest man-made lake, Blue Mesa Reservoir, is here, as are 3,900 miles of fishable streams and nearly 2 million acres of wilderness.
In the town of Crested Butte, charming storefronts and a quaint main street haven’t given way to shopping malls and bustling intersections. There are 54 one-of-a-kind boutiques, no fur shops or franchises and more local cows than residents. Top-notch athletes flock here to play, and between legendary parades and a nonstop schedule of festivals, there’s always a reason to celebrate.
Whether you want to meet a cowboy, see the wildflowers or head for the mountains, Gunnison County has room for you.
The Gunnison County market offers a varied selection for buyers who want to relish the outdoors and live in luxury. Grand ranches inspire the robust Western lifestyle with immediate access to fly-fishing, wildlife, and horse and cattle operations, while ski developments near Crested Butte Mountain Resort deliver the finest in slopeside living.
Crested Butte, famously dubbed “the last great ski town in Colorado,” is in a league of its own. Over the past nine years, properties in Crested Butte have appreciated on an aggregate level more than any other ski resort in the West, while harboring prices that are still 25-33 percent less than other destination ski towns, according to a recent study by National Valuation Consultants. This appealing combination of growth and relative affordability makes the Crested Butte scene unique among destination ski resorts. “There are some amazing ski resorts out there,” says Bo Stambaugh of Crested Butte Mountain Resort Real Estate, “but none have done as well as we have. We still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of potential.” The resort is taking on a new versatility, too. Extreme skiers who branded it a hardcore hangout still linger, but the recent batch of luxury lodges, hotels and groomed terrain have enticed a new generation of skiers. It’s a place for both breeds.
Even though markets statewide have sputtered here and there, Gunnison County has held steady, says Tammy Scott, executive director of Gunnison Chamber of Commerce. “The market’s slower to react in the center of the country.” Plus, the county’s high percentage of preserved lands stabilizes inventory and curbs sprawl. “It’s a simple issue of supply and demand,” says Stambaugh. “There’s a scarce resource in terms of land that can be developed, which creates a place where people want to be.”
For more information on living and buying in Gunnison County, including top property listings and a spotlight on countywide preservation efforts, turn to the June/July issue of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles.