Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Aug. 13 edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. The story contained an error. A corrected version of the story appears below.
Construction is under way on a 1,200-acre subdivision that could add up to 63 luxury homes to a series of ridges just outside the city's southern boundary.
Heavy equipment from Precision Excavating in Hayden has been cutting the subdivision roads for Alpine Mountain Ranch.
"It's good to see it becoming a reality after working on it for more than two years," Peter Patten said. Patten and Associates is the land-use planning firm that designed the layout of roads, building lots and envelopes, and open spaces on the project.
The subdivision encompasses 1,200 acres of land stretching from Walton Creek on the valley floor to above 7,000 feet on timbered slopes looking up to the Priest Creek trails at Steamboat Ski Area.
The homes would be clustered on several groups of 5-acre lots, leaving 900 acres undisturbed in conservation easements. The uppermost 500 acres would be devoted to wildlife habitat.
Prospective buyers are currently shuttled from a historical ranch yard to view the lots from the bench seat of all-terrain vehicles. The first phase of the project offers 19 lots.
Design guidelines require that homes must be between 3,000 and 12,500 square feet. The guidelines also encourage green building, the use of passive solar in careful siting of the homes, and also allow for mountain contemporary design on some of the sites.
First-time visitors are sure to be struck by the views of the South Valley and Flat Top Mountain beyond. Equally striking is the fact that nearby luxury subdivisions such as Catamount Ranch and Storm Mountain Ranch are virtually invisible from the ridges of Alpine Mountain Ranch.
Patten said locating building envelopes on the 5-acre lots involved continually visiting the land, then returning to the office to redraw lot lines, then returning to the land to begin again.
"We returned over and over," Patten said. "It was tremendously iterative."
The roads travel the spine of several ridges that dominate the terrain at Alpine Mountain Ranch. Patten said that by doing that, it was possible to site the homes off the ridge tops, where they will be less noticeable from U.S. Highway 40 and the valley floor.
In a matter of weeks, construction companies working for co-managing partners Andy Daly and Bill Butler will begin work on common buildings at the ranch, including a lodge.
Amenities at Alpine Mountain Ranch will include a fully equipped owners' lodge with a fishing pond, horse barn and pasture, and eight miles of private hiking and biking trails, which will be groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter.
Owners also will have the opportunity to join Catamount Ranch & Club as Premiere Members. This transferable membership includes use of the 18-hole championship golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, as well as year-round amenities at Lake Catamount. These include use of the lake clubhouse with an outdoor pool.
Daly is former president of Vail Associates, and Copper Mountain, and he led the team that developed Red Sky Ranch in Eagle County. He thinks the close proximity of the estate lots at Alpine Mountain to the ski lifts at the ski area make the project stand out from competition at other mountain resorts.
"In other major resort areas, you'd have to drive at least a half an hour to find this kind of property, if it was even still available," Daly said.
Pam Vanatta, one among a team of listing real estate brokers for the project, predicted the pastoral surrounding will appeal to buyers. She is with Prudential Steamboat Realty.
"This community offers that close connection to the natural environment that buyers want, as well as it being very convenient to town and skiing," she said. Cam Boyd, also of Prudential, is co-listing with Vanatta and Tony Walton of High Mountain Sotheby's International Realty.