What Happens To Ski Areas When They Die? They Become Real Estate Plays

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SAM Magazine - Steamboat Springs, Colo., January 13, 2007 - Observers of the industry will remember Colorado's Stagecoach ski area. The resort, outside of Steamboat, never got off the ground, although a cat skiing operation did find modest success on the resort's trails in the 1990s. Today, however, the resort is booming, with three times as many homes in the area as it had in 1971.

Back in 1971, the resort was expected to be the state's sixth-largest ski area, with more than 2,000 housing units and extensive infrastructure. However, the developers of the project, the Woodmoor Corporation, filed bankruptcy at the end of that decade, dooming the ski area.

Today, growth has taken off in the area, fueled by Steamboat's hot real estate market and the relative affordability of Stagecoach land.

In all, there are 421 single family homes at Stagecoach, compared to a mere 133 in 1971. In 2007 alone, 54 homes were built in the area, and county officials expect that there could be as many as 640 homes by 2010.

Stagecoach's story isn't unique. Connecticut's Powder Ridge remains closed for this winter and may end up much like Stagecoach, if a purchaser for the resort can't be found. The future of Powder Ridge is a point of concern with local politicians, who don't want to see development on the resort, which could accommodate approximately 77 homes.