Embracing the Authentic

AT ALPINE MOUNTAIN RANCH & CLUB— a gated, 1,216-acre residential enclave of five-acre homesites that showcase the natural splendor of Steamboat Springs—one of the most desirable locations is a stone-and-wood cabin. This is a real cabin, not a three-bedroom guest house that goes by the name. It measures 375 square feet—no bigger than the master bathroom in any of the 63 luxury homes that will eventually comprise the development. 

Known as the Hermitage, the wee structure tucks into the aspen groves climbing toward the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. It sports a wood fireplace, stocked bar, leather chairs and an outdoor deck—all of which residents can access by foot, snowshoe, horse or skis. 

“The Hermitage is so special,” says Fred Taylor, the president and co-founder of Denver-based Northstar Investment Advisors. “We’ve been multiple times, even spent the night drinking hot chocolate there with our daughter and her friends. It just made you fall in love with the place.” 

Taylor and his wife, Claudia Garza, fell so hard for Alpine Mountain Ranch that they are breaking ground this fall on a 6,200-square-foot home with sweeping westerly and northerly views of the surrounding mountains and the lush, undulant meadows of the South Valley. They plan on hosting Christmas 2022 there with their children and grandchildren, and, Taylor says, “down the road, we’ll probably spend all our time here.” 

Like many of AMRC’s current and future homeowners, Taylor previously owned condos in other Colorado ski towns closer to Denver before buying one in Steamboat in 2006. “I’d always had a love affair with the town and its low-key Western flavor,” the Denver native says, noting that both he and his son chose the town to have their weddings. 

One of his eventual neighbors, Michael Stokes of Greenwood Village, echoes those sentiments. He says he and his wife, Miranda, “were searching for a location that was away from the crowds you typically see at other resorts.” They also found themselves drawn to AMRC’s elevation of 6,700-feet—nearly 3,000 feet lower than that of Breckenridge, where the skiers have had “a super condo” for years. 

“It’s a genuine place. There’s a reason why it’s home to more Olympians than any other town in America, and it’s not just the great powder,” Taylor says. “Let’s just say you don’t see 30 jets lined up at the airport. Steamboat doesn’t have that vibe.” 


That seductive, unpretentious vibe radiates throughout AMRC, providing residents and their guests with “authentic luxury” in the form of catered food-and-wine experiences at the rustic Owner’s Barn (where residents can also outfit themselves with snowshoes, skis, fishing poles and even a Polaris RZR), barbecues, guided hikes, sunset horseback rides, campfire dinners and other events. 

“As owners build their homes and settle in, we want to foster that sense of community,” says the Director of Marketing Brittanny Havard. “They’re really down-to-earth, cool and forward-thinking people.” 

They’re also hungry for both food and social connection. Although no on-property restaurant exists, the spacious Owners’ Lodge features a kitchen and dining area, and an eight-minute drive north to downtown Steamboat or Steamboat Ski Resort delivers a staggering range of gastronomic options. 

Conveniently, the golf-cart path on the property’s southwestern corner leads to the private Catamount Golf Club and The Periodic Table, its highly regarded public restaurant that reopens every summer and winter with a different theme. Last winter’s “New Orleans Classics” has yielded to this summer’s “European Riviera”—a collection of flavors from Southern France, Italy and Spain. 

Golf at Catamount requires a separate $45,000 membership, but one of the state’s best daily-fee layouts—Haymaker Golf Course—lies just west across U.S. 40. So do AMRC’s own 1.5 miles of private, Gold Medal fly-fishing along the Yampa River. 

Anglers can also wet a line in a stocked onsite lake, on which residents can also canoe, kayak, swim or paddleboard. Equestrian facilities include a community barn, tack room and staging area. The ranch’s 220 acres of pasture house horses that are available for trail rides and to stable resident’s horses. 

More than five miles of trails for hiking or biking meander through the ribbed property, with some leading to the adjacent Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. In winter, those trails and the pasture welcome cross-country skiers and snowshoers, while the hills near the Owner’s Barn are alive with the happy sounds of children sledding on innertubes. 

Of course, nearly 3,000 acres of steeper hills covered in champagne powder await at Steamboat Ski Resort, where AMRC residents can opt for a $100,000 membership at the lavish Alpine Mountain Summit Club at One Steamboat Place. Free underground valet parking, private ski lockers, instant gondola access and other five-star amenities and slopeside services await, as do wine tastings, après-ski food and drink, spa treatments, workout facilities, pool/hot-tub access and social events. 


While such white-glove appurtenances ostensibly belie Steamboat’s leather-gauntlet authenticity, some value the Alpine Mountain Summit Club membership option for its sheer convenience. 

“It’s become a great benefit,” homeowner Steve Speer says. “We drive up, and they park our car. We’re in the locker room and on the gondola just like that.” 

Speer built the very first home at Alpine Mountain Ranch in 2012. That was five years after Bill Butler of Corporex—the Kentucky-headquartered developer that also produced Denver’s Museum Residences—purchased the land, and eight years before the pandemic spurred a spike in sales that has claimed more than one-third of the available inventory. 

“Half of them are full-time residents who saw they could live and work from anywhere,” says Havard, who observed a “do-or-die mentality” among prospective buyers. 

“The pandemic has driven buyers to want it now,” confirms AMRC’s Senior Vice President and Director of Sales Suzanne Schlicht. “This has been a reminder that life is short.” 

True, but homes that average 6,500 square feet don’t just sprout overnight. Schlicht says it currently will take two years for Alpine Master Builders, the in-house design-build team, to turn a $1.5 million homesite into a $5.5 million home. To shorten the wait, the team is building three “market homes” that will be ready by this time next year. 

Meanwhile, plans call for a community center— replete with a children’s activity room, fitness studio, infinity-edge pool and outdoor jacuzzi— to complement the well-appointed Owners’ Lodge, as well as additional, well-stocked Guest Cabins to join the lone building where visiting owners and guests can currently stay. 

No date has been set for the release of the final 13 homesites in the Upland Preserve, an enclave situated high on the property’s southeastern corner, near the beloved Hermitage. 

When those lots hit the market, they likely won’t fetch less than the current average price of nearly $2 million. Even during the recession, Butler never cut lot prices or sold off parcels. He maintained value for other early investors, and that track record gives purchasers confidence. “As an investor, I feel like he’s got my back,” Fred Taylor says. 

Moreover, he continues, “When you analyze these kinds of properties in comparable areas— like Vail, Aspen and Jackson Hole—it would cost five to ten times as much to buy and build. The annual homeowners’ fees of $7,420 are also comparably lower. That makes Alpine Mountain Ranch an incredible value.” 

It also makes it even easier to fall in love with a place.