Why do people move to or buy second homes in Summit County? And why do they choose here instead of in Vail or somewhere else?
Despite the fact that about 30,000 people live here, there aren’t 30,000 different reasons for choosing to be here.
All Colorado resort areas offer many of the same things: recreation, solitude, small town atmosphere, access to wild places.
But Summit County offers these things in a location much closer and more accessible to Denver International Airport and the big city amenities of Denver itself.
This opens up the possibility of living here and working remotely until the need to travel arises and then being able to get on direct flights to most of the world.
Since the advent of the internet and remote working, more locals are working in the world economy instead of being tied to the resort service economy.
And in the reverse situation, people can live and work in Denver or Front Range and still get to their mountain retreat fairly easily, depending on traffic. (More on this later.)
Vail is one more mountain pass away from Denver for both locals and Front Range owners. Sure Vail, Aspen and Steamboat and other resorts have their own airports, but to get anywhere (unless you own a jet) it takes at least one transfer and always at a much higher price.
In addition, Summit County is a commercial hub for the region with supermarkets, big box stores and factory outlet stores with prices comparable to Denver but without the extra travel time.
And yet, with all this development and visitation generated by proximity to the huge Front Range population, you can still get into the mountains in minutes and completely forget the busy towns.
So far all of this has worked out nicely for us, but a time is coming when Summit County and Colorado as a whole will have to make some changes to keep our advantages from being outweighed by problems.
The foremost problem is transportation to and from Summit County. I-70 is way over capacity and any weather or traffic issues shut it down several times per year. Many second home owners buy for specifically this reason.
It doesn’t seem to matter that Switzerland has developed routine and dependable transport and communication in terrain worse than ours. We are continually told that these “European solutions” won’t work in America.
Well, we need to borrow some solutions to this stuff from somewhere or eventually we’ll find that people won’t put up with the problems.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to spend some money on new ones.