Owning a condo in Breckenridge, Colo., or Park City, Utah, may be convenient, but the crowds are enough to keep some people away. If you're looking for a quality resort experience-and can live without the nightlife of Aspen-here's the chance to get in on the ground floor at Big Sky, Mont. This Boyne USA resort, 50 miles south of Bozeman, boasts world-class skiing with the second highest vertical drop in North America (4,180 feet) and the legendary Lone Peak (at right). The ski area had only a scattering of development at its base until last April, when construction began on the $45 million, 10-story Summit Hotel Condominium.
Sited on one of the last parcels of slopeside land, this 300,000-square-foot condo/hotel is Big Sky's largest single development since the resort opened in 1974. It will have a total of 106 residential units-eight two-story penthouses and 98 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos-plus underground parking, meeting spaces and two levels of shops and restaurants. Unit prices depend on location, size and views, and start at $337 per square foot for an 857-square-foot condo. That's a bargain compared to The Canyons' new Sundial Lodge in Utah, where units run at least $450 per square foot.
All condos come completely furnished and have total lock-off capability, so that they can be configured into as many as 222 hotel rooms. For example, the two-bedroom condos can be locked off into three hotel units: a studio with a kitchen and two standard hotel rooms. Owners have the option to rent out the units through Big Sky central reservations.
Since they went on sale Feb. 1, 1997, 60 percent of the 98 units have already been sold (penthouses haven't been marketed yet). Developers expect the Summit to be completed by August 2000.
PROS Flexibility: Whether you're looking for a condo or hotel room to rent, your accommodation needs will be met. Stability: The Boyne USA conglomerate isn't as well known as Intrawest or the American Skiing Company, but the company has a five-decade track record of real estate success. It also operates Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan, Crystal Mountain, Wash., and Brighton, Utah.
CONS Difficult access: Unlike Vail, Colo., where travelers from Boston and New York can be on the slopes by noon, Big Sky has no direct flights from the East. Expect a layover in Salt Lake City or Denver, with arrival just in time for dinner. Marketability: When it's time to sell, Big Sky has a smaller pool of buyers than more mainstream resorts.
Location Big Sky Ski & Summer Resort, Mont.
Project Cost $45 million
Total Square Feet 300,000
Total Units 98 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites (accommodating up to 12 people) and eight two-story penthouses.
Prices/Unit Sizes Units vary in price from $289,000 to $1.18 million; Sizes range from 857 to 1,775 square feet. (Prices for the penthouses have not yet been determined.)
Listing Broker Big Sky Properties, Inc., P.O. Box 160515, Big Sky, Mont. 59716; (406) 995-2000.