Engel & Völkers Intelligence

Ski properties

Engel & Völkers ski properties

When it comes to finding the perfect luxury ski property, buyers have different priorities. Some are focused on the nearest Black Diamond, while others want the best spot for lounging, or a sophisticated local dining scene. Still others simply want privacy, and the ability to take advantage of their own runs from a ski-in, ski-out property.

Whether you’d like a remote lodge, an in-town condo with a mountain view or you’re hoping to sell your ski property, our Engel and Völkers Private Office Advisors can guide you through a seamless, thoughtful and professional transaction.

The rising popularity of ski towns

For decades, skiers have left behind their urban and suburban homes and headed to resorts or small cabin retreats for long weekends and a chance to hit the slopes. But as more workers are given permission to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule, these ski enthusiasts are looking for more permanent accommodations.

“It’s been remarkable to see the new and renewed appreciation of our area,” said Whistler Private Office Advisor Maggi Thornhill. Her business partner Max Thornhill added, “We’re seeing a lot of interested buyers coming from Vancouver and Seattle. In Whistler, it’s possible to continue your life, to have a hybrid work-life, with easy proximity to your workplace.”

Fully remote workers are also on the rise, and many are considering less accessible ski towns like Sun Valley, Idaho. Travis Jones, a local Private Office Advisor explains, “Even though Sun Valley is hard to get to, it also feels less discovered than some other more polished or planned ski communities. We’ve seen a quadrupling of $5 million-and-above properties over the last year.”

“Now that people aren’t tied down to an office, they’re looking for an opportunity to truly put down roots. In many cases, they want out of the city and into the mountains.”

— Travis Jones, Private Office Advisor, Sun Valley, Idaho

What ski property buyers are looking for

When looking at property in a ski town, high-end buyers tend to prioritize privacy, views, and land, say our ski property Advisors. For the towns that allow ski-in, ski-out properties, those listings tend to be priced higher and are always in high demand from buyers.

The town itself is also a selling point, says Paul Benson of Park City, Utah. “Now that buyers are setting down permanent roots, they’re asking a lot more about the summer amenities or off-season culture. They want to know if there’s a mud season, and if restaurants and shopping will remain open year-round.”

Buyers who are seeking a full-time residence may also pay attention to the local schools, and to amenities such as:

  • Home gyms

  • Wellness rooms

  • Massage rooms

  • Guest accommodations

  • Larger office space

“Some of these ski properties are almost like camp for grownups. Buyers want the ability to have a great workout, conduct their business, and still have a connection to nature and the outdoors.”

— Erik Berg, Private Office Advisor, Aspen, Colorado

Marketing and selling high-end ski property

While buyers are eager to snap up a property in their desired ski town, they’re also highly discerning. Our Advisors create comprehensive marketing plans, and network with other agents, in order to find the right buyer.

Typical marketing activities include:

  • Drone or aerial photography

  • Video footage or mini-movie

  • Still photography, with winter and summer views

  • Local and international press releases

  • GG Magazine ads

  • Social media campaigns and ads

  • Luxury magazine ads

Transactions at this level can be complex and require a certain amount of savvy. While agents commonly work with buyers and sellers, our Private Office Advisors recognize that high net-worth individuals often have a staff or third-party financial advisors working on their behalf — and they welcome that opportunity.

“Everybody can do simple,” Sven Müller of Tirol, Austria. “In the end, the most complicated and challenging deals are for me most enjoyable and satisfying. There are often properties that are quite difficult to sell, or that require more attention from a Family Office’s staff. Deals that may seem impossible can still succeed — if you work with the right Advisor.”

“Through our Private Office Portal, we’re able to speak with advisors in every part of the world, making it easier for us to facilitate relationships and transactions.”

— Maggi and Max Thornhill, Private Office Advisors, Whistler, British Columbia

Working with low inventory in a ski town

Advisors say that the low inventory affecting the general home market is extending to ski resorts and ski towns as well. In order to satisfy their buyer clients, many top agents are working overtime to find off-market listings that could meet their needs.

Benson works to keep in touch with all his past clients, understanding that sellers often have plans to list their homes well before they’ve contacted an agent. “I’m not doing anything different than I normally do,” he explained, “But it is clear that everyone wants to talk about the market right now. And people like to know, ‘What does that mean for me?’ So, I help them understand their equity position and what it could mean for them to sell now.”

Meanwhile, Aspen-based Berg has been speaking with a small number of investors who are ready to move on from the area. Some are excited about their boost in equity and want to take advantage by selling now; others are looking for a more simplified life with fewer homes. In speaking with these local owners, Berg is able to better understand the flow of the market, and to help his buyers get access to properties that aren’t yet on the market.

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