Series on finding the perfect location for your mountain home

Buying a second home in the mountains has always been a goal for Denver homeowners. Escaping to your own mountain getaway is a big part of the Colorado lifestyle.

Because all of us Denverites dream of leaving the city behind to relax in the mountains, I decided to outline the top places for locals to shop for a mountain home.

I talked with friends, opened up my mountain town rolodex and did research on the top places to search for a mountain home and some relevant information about them.

People are more willing and able to buy a mountain home than ever before. I have noticed a trend — Denver buyers are actually sacrificing size here to budget for a second home in the mountains.

With all this growing interest, I wanted to create a guide to help folks ready to search for their second home west of Denver. First up, Winter Park.

Winter Park

Winter Park has a history of great skiing.

A classic ski town and Colorado’s oldest continually-operating ski resort, Winter Park has been a long-time playground for Denverites. My husband, an avid skier, says the Mary Jane side of the mountain hosts the best moguls in all of Colorado. It is also one of the more family-friendly ski resorts.

Drive from Denver

Winter Park is located in the Fraser Valley, just over the continental divide on US 40. Commute time from Denver is about 90 minutes. Bonus — a big chunk of the I-70 mountain corridor traffic nightmare is avoided by driving here.

What it’s known for

Aside from the skiing, Winter Park is a year-round destination. The resort hosts mountain biking and a great concert series. The Winter Park Jazz Festival has been a local favorite for over thirty years.

Sweeping views of the continental divide are abound and so are fishing, hiking and horseback riding. Leaf peeping here in the fall is some of the best, too.

Real estate

Buyers looking for a more low-key, outdoorsy vibe will find it in Winter Park. The community does offer some more luxurious options, such as a day at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch, but its hallmark is as a quiet, comfortable and casual haven for outdoors enthusiasts.

Out-of-state tourists do visit Winter Park, but it is more likely that your future neighbor is a Denver resident, too.

Entry-level pricing is between $500,000 to $600,000 for a two bedroom, two bathroom condo in town. Single family residences are $1 million and over.

Moving north out of Winter Park and closer to the town of Fraser, single family homes start around $700,000. Homes in Fraser provide a nice, private getaway.

A 1 percent transfer tax is applied to all home sales in Winter Park. This tax is negotiable within the real estate contract. If you are buying, make sure to ask the seller to absorb this additional cost at closing.

Mountain homes in Winter Park have been a staple among Denver residents for a long time. They are relatively affordable, but more secluded. The dining and shopping options are less inspired than other mountain locales, but entertainment and recreation are abound.

***Active Listing – 402 Antler Way, Winter Park, CO 80482 (3 bed, 3 bath, 2,352 square feet). This townhouse was built in 2005. Warm up after a day of skiing in the hot tub with views of the slopes! Listed at $695,000.