C&I visits this fabulous new residential community just outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The four-hour drive from Colorado Springs to Steamboat Springs was beautiful and relaxing. Wildflowers were still in full bloom in late August. Cattle grazed on green grasslands, and a snow-free view of the entire Yampa Valley unfolded before us as we descended over Rabbit Ears pass on U.S. Route 40 and pulled into our destination: Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club.
We were 10 minutes shy of the charming Western-rooted resort town of Steamboat and a world away. Intrigued by the community’s “Dream It — Build It” slogan, my husband and I had made the trip to check out the 5-acre homesites within the 1,200-acre ranch. We were in a dreaming mood, and the location certainly obliged. Bordering the charming ski resort — renowned for its world-class champagne powder and its setting fit for a western film — the community ticked a lot of boxes for us: picturesque and pristine, accessible and amenity-rich.
And there was plenty of water, a precious commodity frequently in short supply in many Colorado mountain communities. Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club boasts two fast-running streams, Priest Creek and Walton Creek, which border much of the ranch, and a stocked fishing lake at the base of the property. When we turned off the main road and entered the property, the lake greeted us and set the tone. Relaxation had already kicked in.
But this was also a place where we could choose to be active. Our two-day visit at Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club started with an authentic bigger-than-Colorado Steak Ride Dinner, where guests arrived to the meal on horseback. The dinner was supposed to be held at a favored homesite at the top of the ranch, but that plan changed with the unpredictable mountain weather. Storm clouds loomed on the horizon, but we mounted up at the Owners’ Barn (more on that terrific place later). A dozen intrepid cowboys for the evening, we rode through a 250-acre hay meadow, up along a dense tree-lined trail, and into a high clearing for cocktails and light appetizers. The view was sweeter than the fresh mountain air — we inhaled deeply and judged it more intoxicating than the cowboy cosmos.
After shuttling down to the Owners’ Barn, we feasted on ranch-hand-sized servings of locally sourced grilled rib-eye and fresh salmon. A guitar-strumming, boot-wearing balladeer took requests around a crackling campfire. Although the evening was specially orchestrated for our group, it was the kind of experience that defines the lifestyle of Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club and is a regular thing for owner-residents. It was easy to imagine living here and celebrating special occasions, milestone birthdays, maybe our next anniversary like this.
We toured the property to get a sense of the possibilities. The 63 5-acre lots are surrounded by 900 acres of non-buildable preserve land, so a feeling of complete privacy and tranquility permeated. Every building site offered an elevated viewing platform from which you could see the entire homesite and what the land around it looked like. One homesite invited as much dreaming as another. Some looked onto wide-open ski-area views, others onto the rolling greens of neighboring Catamount Golf Club.
But my imagination went into overdrive conjuring a future home on one of the homesites that was close to the horse-dotted pastures near the ranch entrance. For me, the closer to horses the better. We were never far from wildlife of all kinds. Throughout the property there were moose, bear, and elk (sometimes a herd of 100 or more) to keep eyes peeled for. The creatures roam freely through the property, retreating to more secluded areas dense with pine trees and other foliage.
Touring two of the already-built custom homes — Sunset Retreat (a mountain-transitional style) and Moonlight Run (a mountain-contemporary) — I loved the dozens of windows in the living and great rooms and their beautiful panoramic views of wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and iconic landmarks like Southern Valley, the Flat Tops, and Emerald Mountain.
We enjoyed a bit of sun at the Owners’ Lodge next to the quaint lake. Canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, relaxing next to the water, exploring the preserve on the groomed trails — residential ranch living never looked so appealing. And I hadn’t even experienced one of the main attractions yet — gold-medal fly-fishing waters on the Yampa River, with private access just a mile and a half beyond the front gate.
From the ski resort, we took the chairlift up (yes, it runs in summer, too) to see the surrounding countryside and Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club from above. Back down in the ski village, we spent some time at Alpine Mountain’s private social club, Alpine Mountain Summit Club. Located within One Steamboat Place, a 5-minute drive from the property, the club spoke to the skier in me: ski-in/ski-out access, valet parking, heated lockers, ski valet, equipment storage, daily happy hour, breakfast, and generally just a comfortable and congenial atmosphere for congregating and hanging out. I could picture the skiing life here — and the golfing life, too: A short golf-cart path away from the ranch, there was more social and sport potential in joining the Catamount Golf Club.
There were miles of horseback riding and mountain biking trails for fair weather. When it snows, the trails are turned into a groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoe course, starting at the Owners’ Barn and meandering up through aspen groves to a hidden backcountry retreat called the Hermitage. At this small, inviting rustic cabin nestled deep in the trees, there were Adirondack chairs on the front porch for kicking back in the summer and a wood-burning stove inside for warming up in the winter.
For me, the heart of the property was the Owners’ Barn. It was like a standing invitation to a family picnic within sight of those wonderful horses and hillsides. I could practically feel the blanket on the ground and taste the pinot grigio, hummus, and goat cheese. On any given day, though, I’d rather ride. And what a place to do it. At the barn I could borrow one of the six well-trained horses or stable my own horse in one of the wooden stalls. I could ask that my steed be saddled and bridled and waiting for me. But this lifelong cowgirl daydreamed of tacking up herself for a ride up the slope. I’d climb from 6,500 feet to the top of the ranch at almost 9,000 and survey what could be my own little piece of paradise.
Dream It — Build It. Yes — Yes. Now I just want to live it.
Ten minutes outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club offers picturesque scenery, a mountainside location, and an amenity-rich Western lifestyle with a smattering of existing custom homes for sale. The property at 34815 Panorama Drive is for sale for just shy of $5 million. If you choose to build your own, the new Design-Build program provides turnkey A-to-Z design-build services. For more information on the property, visit alpinemountainranch.com or call 970.846.0817.
Photography: Images courtesy Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club
From our July 2020 issue.