This expert real estate team in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, specializes in making dream properties reality.
Nestled in the Yampa Valley in northwestern Colorado, Steamboat Springs boasts sweeping vistas, world-class skiing, and historic hot springs bubbling with geothermal mineral water. Considered “medicinal,” the springs made the town a perfect resting place for the Ute Indian population and early settlers and gave it its poetic name.
The idea that you could come to Steamboat Springs to rest and heal prevails today, and visitors continue to be drawn to the area not just for the legendary powder skiing but for relaxation and recreation — as well as a growing foodie scene and other offerings of the revitalized downtown.
A lot of people end up never leaving.
That’s exactly what happened with Chris Paoli and his family. As young professionals, Paoli and his wife, Jennifer, lived a half-hour north of New York City, where he worked as a trader on the stock market, and she worked as a teacher. Then tragedy unfolded on September 11, 2001, darkening life in their neighborhood.
“[September 11th] definitely impacted our area a lot harder than a lot of other places,” Paoli says. “For us it was neighbors and friends that were firemen and policemen and people that worked down there, so it was definitely a strange time and seemed like a good time for us to go on a little trip. The trip just never ended.”
The Paolis, who had had a ski home in Vermont, settled in Steamboat Springs, because the town was both a ski resort destination and a normal community where they could raise their children.
“We did not want to be right on the main pathway to a city. We wanted a real community that was not transient with getting flooded by people every weekend, and geographically Steamboat checked the box for that,” Paoli says. “Then when we got here, we realized it really is as good a community as we thought. It is a town first, and then it also happens to have a ski resort and a ton of other great recreation.”
Steamboat Springs has found a way to preserve its rich ranching and Native American heritages, while growing with modern-day luxuries.
Recognizing the benefits of living in the area, Paoli was drawn first to being a property developer, then a real estate broker. He started The Paoli Group, which took off in 2007, to help others discover their dream home just as he had. Under its parent company, Colorado Group Realty, The Paoli Group has grown to a team of eight skilled professionals serving Steamboat Springs and surrounding areas.
Whether that home is a ski condo, a single-family home, a large ranch, or other luxury estate, the company covers a broad spectrum of property types for buyers and sellers.
“Our business has really been able to thrive, because we basically sell what we do every day,” Paoli says. “I would say the area where we definitely offer a lot of value is in the more unique parcels and our ability to communicate with buyers and explain to them how those properties will integrate with their goals.” He meets a lot of city people who have a dream of reinventing their lives in the country. “They have a dream about what it would be like to live in the mountains, and I think we have a really good ability to align their dreams with the right type of property in a realistic manner so they know what they’re getting, and they understand all of the moving parts.”
The Paoli Group (left to right): Chris Sias, Randi Fox, Brian Ripley, Kelly Conway, Amy Brown, Chris Paoli, Jessica Whalen.
Understanding those “moving parts” is especially important when purchasing a property with large acreage. Because it has built up a staff of experts, The Paoli Group is equipped to guide a buyer through the intricate process.
Meet Brian Ripley. A Colorado native, he has a master’s degree in animal science and management systems and spent 16 years as a ranch manager in both the hospitality-guest and large private-ranching sectors before joining The Paoli Group. If you’re buying a ranch and you want to know what that really entails, Ripley is your guy.
Ripley moved to Steamboat Springs with his family from a more rural setting to gain access to the town’s great school system and athletic programs for his athlete sons; he also wanted to be closer to cultural and entertainment amenities.
“There’s something different about owning ranch property because there’s a connection to the land,” Ripley says. “I think that’s part of the American dream and frankly something bigger than that in terms of how we are wired as humans to have that connection. At the core, people have this goal to, if they’re able, own a property that they can connect with and then ultimately steward and shape and enjoy.”
With ranch properties, clients may have different goals: something agricultural, running a horse or cattle operation, or just a desire to have a piece of land to recreate on. “As a broker, my priority is to make sure I understand those goals and help people achieve them,” he says. Considerations for owning these types of properties include everything from grazing practices and permits to animal-waste disposal, water resources to hunting practices — and much more.
“When you buy a ranch property, I think you do inherently have a responsibility to be a good steward of that property,” Ripley says. “A lot of people who have the dream and the goal to own a ranch don’t always have the background to know exactly what that entails. The lands are working landscapes and ecosystems. There are components that need to be considered and managed.”
There’s something different about owning ranch property because there’s a connection to the land. - Brian Ripley
Ripley utilizes his experience to help guide buyers through the learning process, educating them on resources available to them for help or information.
The process has been central in growing Paoli’s business, as he has shaped the company to be the practical resource clients need. “We get tons of calls from people who want our opinion, our advice, and they know we’re just going to shoot them straight,” Paoli says. “The biggest thing that we strive for is that we genuinely do care, and there’s a lot of communication that goes on, especially with a more complicated property.”
Clients, he says, appreciate the fact that staff are always accessible and available to answer questions. “We know the process, and we understand the market. When you need to get something done, we have a fairly good ability to get people to call you back. You need a survey, you need a boiler fixed, a roof repaired — you name it.”
A recent influx of investment dollars into the town after the ski resort changed ownership has Paoli looking forward to the future.
“I would say that Steamboat has really rounded itself out as a year-round resort,” he says. And if you should visit and find you don’t want to leave, The Paoli Group can help you with that.
For more information, visit thepaoligroup.com
Photography: (All images) courtesy the Paoli Group
From our May/June 2021 issue