Nestled in a peak-surrounded bowl on the western slope of Vail Pass, East Vail’s high-alpine vibe (think Garmisch-Partenkirchen or The Sound of Music), long winters, and short summers—and especially its isolation from the bustle and crowds of Vail Village—appeal to Front Range weekenders and longtime locals. East Vailite Kate Cocchiarella is at once appreciative of her neighbors and proud of their shared sort-of-hardscrabble existence.
“We are still shoveling snow in April,” says Cocchiarella, board president of the local school district, which includes Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (the only public ski school in the U.S., which her daughter attends). She and her husband, Carl, a former ski patroller whose intended move to Utah was serendipitously foiled when his car broke down in Vail, own a painting business together and love their small enclave of friends. “As far as the people who live by us, it’s quality over quantity,” Cocchiarella says.
Unlike the offerings in its well-heeled neighbor to the west, the inventory here is a mixed bag that includes everything from an alpine-modern log chalet listed at nearly $6 million to drafty, disco-era cottages to midsize ’80s duplexes—most with three and four bedrooms—and town homes that back up to the White River National Forest or Gore Creek, which bisects the community as it delivers snowmelt—and kayakers—from on high. It all makes East Vail an attractive investment for young families who can take on advisable upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, as well as for resort workers looking for affordable housing split four-or-more ways.
Amenities include the Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort (with a 2,800-square-foot fitness center, a pool, and 10 USTA-approved tennis courts, plus après fave Blu’s) and, crucially, a bus route with direct service to Vail Village and Lionshead (with connecting service to Beaver Creek), enabling residents here to bypass the ski-season hassle (and expense) of parking. Some residents (Carl Cocchiarella included) even ski home via the steep (and avalanche-prone) sidecountry terrain of the East Vail chutes. In the summertime, a wide, paved bicycle path along the banks of Gore Creek shunts cycling enthusiasts east to Vail Pass and Frisco and west to the Village and beyond.
And hikers have their pick of a half-dozen trailheads, including Booth Creek Falls, a four-mile circuit to a backcountry cascade and wildflower meadows that gains 3,000 feet of elevation. It may make your lungs and legs burn, but your heart will sing like Maria.
Number of active listings [at press time]: 55
Active median home price: $1.19 million
Number of homes sold in 2016: 32
Median price of homes sold here in 2016: $797k
Average number of days on the market: 193
*MLS statistics courtesy Vail Board of Realtors