Shopping for Cool Mountain Towns

Brief by Central Staff

Invasion – August 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Shopping for Cool Mountain Towns

The August edition of Men’s Journal featured “America’s 25 coolest mountain towns.”

At first we thought they were talking about climate, and we wondered whether Fraser or Gunnison would be among “the coolest.”

Fraser’s growing season is only 4 days, as compared to tropical Gunnison’s 52 days, but then again, in February of 1985, a friend who then lived in Fraser acquired some nasty frostbite in the Gunnison Country. Another point for Gunnison in this Coolness Contest: We have a daughter who has wintered in both Gunnison and Iceland, 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, and she says Iceland has milder winters.

But it turns out that in Men’s Journal, “a cool mountain town is not a glitterati hangout for boutique shopping and name dropping. Truly cool mountain towns are authentic, unhyped places tucked away in scenic alpine settings where you can spend the day wearing yourself out with the best summer sports the terrain has to offer, then double back to town afterward for a first-rate meal and a couple of pints of the local microbrew.”

Among those authentic and unhyped spots on the list were Park City, Utah ($590,000 average price for a three-bedroom house), and Crested Butte (a mere $315,000).

Most of Central Colorado fortunately escaped notice, with one exception in the list of a dozen runners-up: “Leadville: Buy a house in this former mining town before the world finds out that this offers the access to wilderness that lots of other Colorado towns have, without the glitz and high prices.”