New metal walkway railings will be among the most visible improvements to be made this summer to the venerable Ski Time Square Condominiums, which were built in 1973.

Michael JK Olsen Architects/courtesy

New metal walkway railings will be among the most visible improvements to be made this summer to the venerable Ski Time Square Condominiums, which were built in 1973.

40-year-old condo project in Steamboat Springs' Ski Time Square to be refreshed

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— One of Steamboat’s venerable resort condominium buildings in the heart of the ski base is on schedule for a million dollar exterior renovation this summer.

The 80-unit Ski Time Square Condominiums will gain a more contemporary look in the process of making the 40-year-old project more affordable for its owners to maintain.

“We’re really going to give it a face-lift,” Donna Downing, a member of the board of the homeowners association said. “We’re trying to get the building so we spend less on maintenance and make it look more up to date.”

Steamboat architect Michael JK Olsen, who will serve as the owners’ representative on the construction project, said a significant portion of the work on the building will involve replacing original wooden railings with more durable, low-maintenance metal railings that also will impart a more contemporary look.

The five-story building has an unusual amount of railings because access to all but a few of the condos is via exterior doors reached by covered walkways that wrap all of the upper floors.

The covering of the walkways also will be waterproofed at considerable expense. And the walkways themselves will be resurfaced to deaden the clomping noise of people returning to their units while wearing ski boots.

Longtime HOA President Joe Somers said his board has planned carefully to make the upkeep of the building affordable for owners. They will have the option of financing through one of four local banks or paying for their share of the work in a lump sum to save on interest costs.

Somers has been president of the board for 25 years and said the HOA’s capital fund anticipates maintenance costs 20 to 25 years into the future.

For example, they anticipate replacing the roof every 20 years, and the owners’ dues include a capital fund for predictable maintenance. When the roof was replaced just a few years ago, Somers said, there was no need to make an assessment on the owners because the money was in the bank.

Built in 1973 along Burgess Creek and set back from the upper end of Ski Time Square Drive, Ski Time Square Condominiums has an ideal location — not quite ski-in, ski-out but an easy walk to the Christie triple chairlift and just as close to some of the best fine dining Steamboat has to offer.

Of course, floor plans and exterior finishes on a 40-year-old condominium are dated by definition, but Downing said a large number of the condo interiors have been upgraded — some of them stripped to the studs to permit a full luxury treatment.

Owners who purchased their condos there a decade ago received good value. A one-bedroom, one-bath unit there with 824 square feet sold for $135,000 in 2003 and a bi-level, two-bedroom, two-bath condo totaling 1,120 square feet sold for $221,800 that same year.

The large majority of the condominiums are in the nightly rental pool, Downing said, but there also are a few full-time residents.

For vacationers, the project has ski lockers, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and gas fireplaces. In summer, guests enjoy mature landscaping and a pocket picnic area on the creek.

Downing and her husband, Harold “Lynn” Downing, are among those who tried living in a one-bedroom condo in Ski Time Square after becoming hooked on Steamboat during an extended ski vacation. They purchased their condo in 2006.

“We came in the winter of 2007-08, and it snowed every day,” Donna recalled. “We had so much fun, we hated the thought of leaving. So we went back to our big house on a golf course in Austin (Texas), and you’ve never seen two more depressed people in your life.”

The couple missed Steamboat so much that when Donna suggested to Lynn that they could survive for a winter in a one-bedroom condo, they made the move, eventually selling their home in Austin. They have since purchased a more spacious townhome in Cornerstone at the Moraine for their permanent Steamboat residence and kept the smaller condo as a rental unit.

Ski Time Square has changed dramatically since 2008, when Atira Group was tearing down all of the commercial buildings there with the exception of The Tugboat Grill & Pup. The Thunderhead Lodge, slopeside on the south side of Ski Time Square, also was torn down.

“We’ve had fabulous views from the fourth floor since Thunderhead was torn down,” Downing said.

Downing said the owners at Ski Time Square Condominiums understand the value they have in the modest condominiums with the great location. That perception is strengthened by the fact they still have 60 years remaining on a 100-year lease in the underground parking garage behind the Tugboat.

“It’s a great old building,” she said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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