Basalt Teen Launches Local News Service: Aspen Vibes


If you have seen an email called “Aspen Vibes” come across your digital transom, you have Basalt High senior Bear Matthews to blame. Something of a wire service for the year 2020, Vibes is a daily email service akin to The Skimm, only localized, and skimmier. His custom-built, news aggregator compiles goings-on, weather and a friendly salutation. One month in, the pilot program has been a quick success.

Bear, who was Skippy Mesirow’s communications director for his successful council run, grew up in London and Brooklyn before his family moved to Basalt. He’s still figuring out the next steps for Vibes. Lots to do this summer before he attends Franklin University in Switzerland.

Check out to get a sense of the … er … vibe!


Further Thoughts and Numbers on the Market


Real Estate appraiser Randy Gold came out with his annual report and pointed towards a possible down cycle in store for the Aspen market. Gold predicted that overall dollar volume and number of transactions will dip slightly in 2019, coming off of 2018’s decline from 2017.

“If 2019 finishes the way that I am forecasting … then our real estate market will be moving decidedly into the next down market,” said Gold, whose company has conducted over 24,000 appraisals over almost 41 years in business.

That said, home values will be holding steady. Read more in the Daily News. That said, over in Snowmass demand is catching up with all the new inventory. The Viceroy is nearly sold out. Read more here.

Banner Bases, Extended Season and a Resort Report

Sunrise on the Bowl

Sunrise on the Bowl

It’s been snowing pretty much every other day since the beginning of October. There are over nine feet of snow on Highlands (103” have already fallen in March). Of course, that’s nothing compared to the 227”(19 feet) at Squaw Valley, but no complaints here. Aspen Highlands is officially adding two bonus weekends: April 19-21 and April 26-28.  

If you are interested in how real estate faired resort-to-resort, click here for the Sotheby’s Resort Report:

Art First, Then Skiing

Robert Montgomery’s “The City in Their Echo” at The Aspen Art Museum

Robert Montgomery’s “The City in Their Echo” at The Aspen Art Museum

With the longer days, often the best skiing comes after lunch when the frozen snow has   had a chance to soften, leaving mornings free. Above, Robert Montgomery’s “The City in Their Echo”, appears as a mysterious apparition caught in a recent blizzard. 

Margaret Kilgallen_Aspen_Art_Museum

Margaret Kilgallen, who died just as her career was gaining momentum, has a large retrospective on the second floor. This is a very rare chance to see a brilliant artist lost too soon.

Snowmass: Go Before the New York Times Ruins It


Too late! NYT: In Aspen's Shadow, Snowmass Builds an Identity of Its Own

Even though last year was the big 5-0 for Snowmass, this season has seen a real turning point. Many years and many millions of dollars of invest have resulted in all new Base Village that is aiming to give nearby Aspen a run for its money. The once sleepy, family-friendly alternative to tony Aspen has become a destination of its own. Visitors and locals alike are enjoying all the winter activities from tubing to alpine roller coasting, a climbing wall, ice skating, a snowboard park, snowcat dinners, and good old-fashion fabulous skiing.

A significant amount of quality condos have been added to the market.  Here is a list of recent and strong sales in the Base Village area.  Base Village Condo Sales

The Passion of the Uphill


Check out this article in Aspen Peak Magazine about skinning, which seems to get more popular every year. I just finished the Power of Two last weekend in very tough conditions, but it was a great challenge as always.

From Aspen Peak: Even as skinning (a.k.a. uphilling, a.k.a. ski touring, a.k.a. ski mountaineering, a.k.a. SkiMo, a.k.a. pick a name people!) continues to gain popularity – carving swiftly from fad to mainstream – there remains plenty-a-flat-lander who raises a confused eyebrow at what seems a ludicrous endeavor.


Aspen Market Year-End: $1.8B Sold in 2018

New Yorker Cover, 1973

New Yorker Cover, 1973

Even though numbers were a bit soft last year for Aspen, it was hardly doom and gloom, especially considering the massive tumult in the stock market.

As reported by the Aspen Times:

“All of Pitkin County rang up $1.8 billion in sales in 2018, down from $1.9 billion in 2017, based on figures from Land Title Guarantee Co. and Aspen Times research. The first quarter of 2018, however, registered $408 million in sales, well ahead of the $302 million Pitkin County posted in the first quarter of 2017.

But a downward trend ensued in the spring and summer, with some months posting double-digit percentage drops until October, which saw $224.3 billion in sales, 15.7 percent better than October 2017 and the highest sales-volume month of 2018.”

As broker Tim Estin noted in his comprehensive year-end analysis, 2018 was the, "third-best year of the past seven since 2012 in terms of sales dollar volume and unit sales."

In addition, Estin poo-pooed notions of a bubble-burst: "I remain cautiously optimistic, a term much over used, with this caveat. There is plenty of Aspen developer inventory remaining in the active listing pipeline that is aggressively and optimistically priced. It is priced accordingly due to limited inventory within their respective property category. New or new-built product continues to command premium pricing and there are solid comparables to justify the high prices.”

BJ Adams of Berkshire pointed out, “This is one of those relatively rare market cycles when it is a good time for both sellers and buyers to be in the market — sellers because low inventory means there's not a lot of competition, and buyers because prices are still mostly lower than 2008 levels." 

Read the full article here.


Ocean’s Aspen: 3 Thieves Steal $800,000 in Jewels


T’was the week before Christmas, and all through the hotel, not a creature was stirring, not even some Chilean gentleman in puffy jackets and beanies.

Wait … cancel that. As reported by the Aspen Times:

The theft occurred Dec. 21 just after 1 p.m. Video surveillance showed the men parking a Ford Expedition rented in California on Spring Street at 12:11 p.m. that day, then entering The Little Nell and milling around the jewelry case before leaving at 12:40 p.m. The three men returned not long after and clustered around the display case.

Video surveillance showed the man identified as Delgado Escobar using something to help him pry open the case, then bend down and interact with a black backpack being held by one of the other men.

Just before parking the getaway car, video surveillance showed one of the suspects (identified as Donoso Jofre) paying cash for a folding knife at Ute Mountaineer.

While the initial estimate put the value of stolen goods at $800K, it has since been revised to $420K (no one is quoting the wholesale cost …) The three men, aged late-20s to early 40s, are all thought to have fled the country. Read more here.


Aspen’s 5 Best Comfort Meals


It’s cold out there. These dishes will warm you up quick.  


The Cioppino (fish stew) at Clark’s


The Korean Pork Board at Meat & Cheese 


The Curry Bowl at Pyramid Bistro  


The Dan Dan Noodle from the new Szechuan Chef Menu at Little Ollie’s (Seriously, it’s great!) 

Hot Chocolate EMP Winter House

The Hot Chocolate at EMP Winter House with fernet branca, green chartreuse & angostura marshmallows (it’s practically a meal)