In the coming years, Eagle County’s ski-proximate neighborhoods will be again poised for continuing success, as defined by lifestyle enhancement and financial performance. This should not be confused with the ups and downs associated with primary home residential real estate. Although one might argue that the two sectors appear similar, they are actually driven by completely different forces. To help you more clearly understand these distinctions, we offer the following commentary focused on the demand elements for world-class resort properties, which by their very definition are rare and limited in global supply.

Population Demographics: 78 million baby boomers, representing one of every four Americans, are increasingly demanding more travel, leisure, recreation, and vacation home ownership in their never-ending search for lifestyle enhancement and extended family activities. In a 2017 survey of 25,000 households with incomes in excess of $200,000, American Demographics magazine listed a vacation home as the number-one desired asset for the nation’s most affluent households, and as wealth continues to concentrate, these top 10% families will drive demand for best-of-the-best resort living.

Socioeconomic Profile: A National Association of Realtors® study of the most expensive resorts in the US concluded that because of “price elasticity characteristics,” appreciation of world-class destination resorts had outpaced the national average rates by 2:1. Affluent enthusiasts will always seek out sophisticated, diverse communities such as Vail and Beaver Creek that can satisfy their recreational passions and quality-of-life criteria in a personally safe and politically stable environment.

The Vail Renaissance: The worldwide ski industry, which began in the 1960s, has crossed the 50-year threshold, and like any of us in middle age, it suffers from tired infrastructure and deteriorating physical amenities. The best and most desirable locations often have the oldest and most obsolete structures, out of sync with a discriminating clientele who value new, attractive, well-designed properties not typically found within our industry.

Vail is leading the way in modernizing and redeveloping its core areas, with more than $2.5 billion ($2,500,000,000) in market improvements. This is unprecedented in the worldwide marketplace. These capital investments will have significant value-added implications and represent a staggering level of property creation and overall community improvements that are unlikely to be replicated by any competitor within the industry.

Vail Resorts: The operator of Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Park City, The Canyons, and Heavenly Valley, Vail Resorts is the recognized industry leader in both ski mountain operations and resort real estate development. As the industry matures and consolidates, Vail Resorts’ long-running corporate strategy of stripping market share through massive capital expenditures on resort products, goods, and services is a proven success formula that will continue in the years ahead.

It is important to recognize that the economic engine driving most ski towns is ultimately the ski mountain and the successes or failures of the ski company. Therefore, if the operator is vibrant and responsive and delivers a reliably high-quality experience, demand increases and the community at large prospers. But if the corporation hurts demand (as when the American Ski Company laid off 1,100 employees at Steamboat Springs more than a decade ago), surrounding towns suffer and property values fall. Because Vail Resorts is a financially strong and a forward-thinking company, we expect continued success and dominance in this competitive industry, with Vail Resorts’ continued undisputed dominance of the worldwide destination ski and mountain lifestyle business.