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Need something to do in Summit County this mud season? Start here...

by Summit Daily Heather Jarvis

Mud season. The name says it all. While the sloppy trails keep some tourists away, the spring off-season is actually a time to break out and try some new adventures. After most of the resorts stop spinning their lifts in April, there’s a quietness around Summit County where residents have a chance to recharge and enjoy the season before summer hits.

While we call it the off-season, there are still plenty of activities and things to do around the county. In fact, it’s one of the best times of the year to find deals at local eateries and businesses. It’s also one of the best times to get outside and revel in the solitude.


Hike along Lake Dillon (free)

While most of the trails are a muddy mess, the Summit County recpath system is a great option to stretch the legs. The recpath has plenty of routes to choose from with a variety of difficulty levels. For pathway locations, rules, regulations, etiquette guidelines and ADA accessibility information, go to:

Road biking (free with your own bike)

Bring your bike and cruise along the recpath system or on the roads. For a challenge, ride the 18-mile, 1,100-foot climb around Lake Dillon. The route has one significant climb and descent over Swan Mountain Road on the south side of the lake. A round trip from Breckenridge will extend the ride even further, for 31 miles with 1,600 feet of climb.

Bike and ski (free/$)

Bike and ski all in the same day by packing your gear and riding eastbound up Highway 6 to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, the resort in Summit County that stays open the longest. Expect A-Basin to be open through at least May, but depending on snow conditions it sometimes stays open through the month of June. In a really good snow year, you might even be able to ski into June or July, making a ski-in-the-morning, golf-in-the-afternoon day possible.

Guided bike tours ($)

Discover Breckenridge on a bike with a guided tour from Breck Bike Guides ( or Colorado Adventure Guides ( Kick it up a notch and take a guided fat bike beer and distillery tour with Ridden Breckenridge (

Ski and music (free/$)

Ski during the day or just come for the free music on Saturdays at Arapahoe Basin. The ski area’s Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert series begins April 27 with music from 1–4 p.m. in the Mountain Goat Plaza base area. For more information, go to

Take the Summit Stage from Keystone or town, visit for route information and times.

Guided fly-fishing on the Blue ($)

While the spring runoff can make the temperatures in the Blue River downright chilly, those willing to suit up and brave the water will be rewarded. Water temperature fluctuates from February through March or April, and the bugs begin to hatch, according to the crew at Cutthroat Anglers. Fish such as rainbow trout and cutthroat trout are very active this time of year feeding on the bugs before they start to spawn.

“You definitely want to wear waders, that’s the main difference,” a Cutthroat Anglers manager said about fly-fishing in the spring compared to the summer. “Don’t hesitate to get out and give it a try.”

Don’t have your own gear or just want to find the best fishing holes? Check out these local shops for guided trips:

Cutthroat Anglers: 400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne. 970-262-2878

The Colorado Angler: 249 Summit Place, Silverthorne. 970-513-8055

Mountain Angler: 311 S. Main St., Breckenridge. 800-453-4669

Trouts Fly Fishing: 309 Main St., Frisco. 970-668-2583

Breckenridge Outfitters: 101 N. Main St. B, Breckenridge. 970-453-4135

Early season rafting ($)

May can be a fantastic time to go rafting: river flow is high, there are less people on the water and some outfitters offer early season discounts. Weather does play a part in early season rafting and May in Colorado is unpredictable, said Lauren Swanson, marketing and relations manager for Performance Tours Rafting.

“Weather in Colorado varies minute-by-minute and sometimes mile-by-mile,” she said. “We recommend getting the gear to prepare for colder water and changing conditions. Opt for the wetsuit, splash jacket and bootie rentals. You can also bring additional layers made from quick-dry outdoor materials like wool, fleece, micro-fleece, polyester and waterproof layers.”

While bigger spring flows equal more excitement, they aren’t always for beginners. Check with your local rafting company on river flows, which can vary from day to day in May. Swanson said sometimes they will raise the minimum age on specific trips or pull off some of the class 4+ sections during peak flows for safety.

“We will always communicate these changes with our guests and offer alternative options customized to their experience and expectations,” she said. “Because we are able to make these decisions for the safety of our guests, we are confident that early season rafting is a great experience for all skill levels and abilities.”


Escape rooms ($)

The weather in the spring can be variable, with warm temperatures and sunny skies one day and dumping snow the next. For those looking to stay indoors but still be entertained, check out Summit County’s escape rooms. The game involves getting a group of players together to solve puzzles and riddles using clues hidden around a room in order to “escape” within the allowed time.

“Escape Rooms are such a unique experience for all ages — everybody can have fun,” said Nicolette Cusick, owner of Escape Room Breckenridge. “They are a great way for family, friends or co-workers to work together and bond. It is also great during mud season because it is indoors so weather is not a factor.”

Voted “best indoor activity” in the Summit Daily’s annual Best of Summit contest, Escape Room Breckenridge was the first escape room to open in the county.

Brewery tour ($)

There are an abundance of breweries in Summit County, requiring a designated driver and multiple days to try them all. Here’s the list by town:


Broken Compass Brewing: 68 Continental Court Unit B-12

Breckernridge Brewery & Pub: 600 S. Main St.


HighSide Brewing: 720 Main St.

Outer Range Brewing Company: 182 Lusher Court, Frisco


The Bakers’ Brewery: 531 Silverthorne Lane

Angry James Brewing Company: 421 Adams Ave.


Pug Ryan’s Brewery: 104 Village Place

Dillon Dam Brewery: 100 Little Dam St.

Recreation Center ($)

Get a day pass at either the Breckenridge or Silverthorne recreation centers and let the kids run loose. The recently remodeled Breckenridge Recreation Center offers all the traditional workout spaces plus a gymnasium, racquetball court, indoor rock-climbing wall and aerobic/dance studios. The aquatics area features lap and leisure pools, the Summit Plummit water slide, coed sauna, and indoor and outdoor hot tubs. 880 Airport Road. 970-453-1734.

The Silverthorne Recreation Center has a large aquatics area, gymnasium, indoor track, fitness equipment and offers classes for all levels. The rec center also offers on-site child care for parents using the facility. 430 Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne. 970-272-7370.


[email protected]

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

Spring has officially sprung in Summit County - The lake is thawed! 

The Rotary Club of Summit County announced the winners for the 33rd annual Ice Melt Contest on Tuesday. Locals finished in the top three spots in a competition that often comes down to the second.

The ice device dropped on May 7 at 16:44:35. Darlena Marmins took first place, Robert Feuerriagel was second and Melissa Greenwood took third. The winner will receive $4,000, second place gets $2,000 and third place takes home $1,000.

Summer is around the corner - the Tiki bar will be open in Dillon for Memorial Day weekend! 

What is the real estate market doing in Summit County? We have had an active first quarter that has been comparable in number of sales to last year.  Interestingly, the number of sales is flat, but the sales volume continues to climb - an indicator that prices continue to rise 

You've heard me say it before - In Summit County, our real estate market historically tends to lag behind the Denver and national markets by 18-24 months.  There is some consensus from national economists that real estate prices will likely increase around 4% this year.  So far, we are following that trend here. 

Give us a call at 970-468-6800 or text at 970-389-1234 or go to for an instant valuation of your property.  

The summer sales season is fast approaching. Let us know if you are ready to sell and would like to take advantage of this great time to sell! 




See you on the trails! 

Allison Simson | Broker/Owner

Summit Real Estate

Fight over nightly rentals, Summit County leads


As nightly rentals balloon throughout Colorado so have issues and regulations.  Summit County (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain) is the most recent county to get on the bandwagon of regulating rentals.  Why are the regulations so important that are coming down the pipe?  What are the implications on real estate?  Why is this “fight” just beginning and what number radically changes the debate.

Nightly Rentals are not a new phenomenon

Nightly rentals didn’t just appear yesterday but for whatever reason the “issues” with nightly rentals seems to be reaching a crescendo in many mountain communities as their usage continues to grow.  As nightly rentals grow, the inherent conflicts with homeowners also seems to be growing.

In December 2014 there were approximately 6000 listings throughout Colorado, that number has increased to 36,000 in December 2018, a 6 times increase in only 4 years.  This rapid increase has led to a sense of urgency to better regulate nightly rentals.

What is Summit County’s plan?

Summit county has seen their nightly rentals balloon and have proposed the following changes to regulations:

Permitting system: 150/year
Limits on occupancy: 2 occupants per bedroom + 2 more occupants/unit or 1 person/300 square feet
Limitation on parking (location/quantity
Ability to revoke a permit for up to 2 years for violations

What number has changed the nightly rental discussions?

Remember, the only ones who can vote are full time residents.  In Routt County, home to Steamboat, over half the properties are owned by non residents.  I would suspect in Summit County that the ratio of full-time residents to non-residents is around 30% full time vs 70% part time/out of area owners.  This means the 30% can decide quite a bit about the fate of nightly rentals in the area.  The voters elect the city council members who are spearheading the change in regulations.

Many resort markets are changing/have changed substantially

Resort markets have evolved throughout Colorado with many location neutral workers opting to work and live full time in places like Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat, etc… These location neutral workers are buying homes and working full time jobs.  Many don’t want to be surrounded by nightly rentals for various reasons.  These are the same faces that are now voting.


This is just the beginning

I do not see the trend of increased regulation slowing down anytime soon.  Nightly rentals are way ahead of any regulations in many communities throughout Colorado and cities/counties throughout the state will be playing “catch up” for a while.

For example, the state recently evaluated a proposal to change the zoning of nightly rentals and tax them as commercial properties.  The amendment didn’t make it into law, but proposals like this are just the beginning of the changes in store.

How does this impact real estate?

Nightly rentals have soaked up quite a bit of supply in many resort communities. The owners of these properties have become accustomed to the incremental income.  Let’s say someone had a house in Breckenridge and rented it every weekend when they weren’t using it.  With the regulation changes, this house might not rent for the same amount each night (if the number of occupants is capped) or might not be rentable for short term periods.  Many mountain towns are banning short term rentals in certain areas to preserve the character of the neighborhoods and to try to “encourage” longer term rentals.

For example, if regulations go too far in limiting nightly rentals the values of some properties could be reduced.  If there is no additional income (or greatly reduced income) on a property a prospective purchaser might not be as apt to buy the property as the numbers would no longer make sense.


The huge growth in nightly rentals has brought the issue to the forefront in many communities.  This trend will continue as cities and counties grapple with the right mix of regulation.  Many resort communities will begin setting the trends in regulation as most homes are now investment properties; this gives full time residents much greater sway over policies.  This trend will not only continue but accelerate and could have long term impacts on property owners and the value of their real estate.

Top 10 locations for nightly rentals in Colorado (source Airbnb)

Denver County, 477,100 arrivals
Summit County, 275,300
El Paso County, 146,800
Boulder County, 115,100
Larimer County, 93,000
Jefferson County, 89,500
Grand County, 78,600
Eagle County, 60,600
Routt County, 54,600
Adams County, 52,800


Resources/Additional Reading

Dillon Considers Fireworks display

by Summit Daily

July Fourth, Frisco, Colorado
Todd Powell

The door isn’t completely closed on a fireworks show in the county on the Fourth of July.

Following the cancellations of fireworks displays in Frisco and Breckenridge — citing public safety concerns about both wildfires and large-scale issues surrounding traffic and crowds — the town of Dillon is considering stepping in to fill the void.

The subject was brought up at the Dillon Town Council workshop on Tuesday evening, as officials discussed several topics related to safety, crowding, funding, the community’s desires and potential impacts on other towns like Frisco.

No decision was made at the meeting, and the town is expected to revisit the topic in an upcoming council workshop on April 16.

“It’s a big question, and a big topic and it’s worth some discussion,” said Councilman Mark Nickel. “I think we have to keep an open mind, look at the environment and the span of the county, and if we feel we can accommodate all of these people around the lake.”


The Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is boasting the release of the Colorado Trail Explorer — or COTREX for short — as Colorado’s official trails app.

COTREX is a free application for website and mobile users with over 39,000 miles of public Colorado trails in the database, and people can use the app to navigate trails on federal, state, local and private lands with public access.

COTREX was also reportedly built for all trail users, meaning that hiking, mountain biking, equestrian riding and motorized recreation are included.

“The COTREX app is a marriage of Coloradans’ love of the outdoors and using the latest technology to discover more of our beautiful state,” said Alex Dean, trails and recreation project manager for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “We are excited for Coloradans to download the COTREX app. It’s a great tool for exploring our wide diversity of trails and encouraging more Coloradans to spend time outdoors.”

For adventurists planning on heading in no-man’s land for cellphone service, they can download maps ahead of time for a continuous experience that doesn’t depend on a network. Find the app by searching for “COTREX” in your smartphone’s app store.

A new smart phone app called “COTREX” offers more information about than 39,000 miles in Colorado. It was released by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.


Swan River Restoration Project

by Summit Daily

The Swan River Restoration project is seeing success two seasons after completion on a one-mile stretch of the stream. Breckenridge's Tenmile Range can be spotted beyond.
Hugh Carey / [email protected]

Summit County’s Open Space & Trails Department gave the board of county commissioners its annual update on the Swan River Restoration project on Tuesday, as required by the county’s permit for gravel excavation. The restoration is a radical reclaiming of a broken, dry stretch of the Swan River that had been ravaged by dredge mining in the twilight days of the gold rush.

Open space & trails director Brian Lorch and senior resource specialist Jason Lederer were on hand to present developments on the project over the past year. The two spoke to the positive ecological and riparian development at the upper portion of the project, and addressed residents’ concerns about truck traffic volume created by the crushing and shipping of gravel from the site.

Things are looking up on the environmental front. Reach A, the first portion of the project already completed, is now in a monitoring phase to see how the local ecology is developing. Soil, channel development, flora and fauna are all thriving two seasons after the mile-long stretch of river was reclaimed.

“Even though we’ve been pretty dry, we’ve seen the site develop in a very natural way,” Lederer said.

However, certain bare patches on the stretch, particularly on south-facing areas of the stream banks, are not growing as well as hoped. The county has been reseeding and putting more focus on growth in those areas to maintain vegetation growth consistency.

The department also conducted a fishery survey on the reclaimed waterway, and the results are promising. Brook trout of all sizes and maturity have been found in the stream, as well as mottled sculpin. In fact, this new stretch of waterway is now home to the largest concentration of mottled sculpin anywhere upstream of the Dillon Reservoir, which is a sign of a healthy stream.

As far as recreational access, the county is also starting to look at creating a trail that connects the restoration site to the wider trail network, which would include a rock road for access.

The project’s success has been noted state and nationwide. In October 2018, the project received an Outstanding Ecological Management Program award from the Colorado Open Space Alliance. The award recognizes outstanding, innovative and successful research, restoration or monitoring programs targeted at ecological resource management.

In just the past week, open space & trails received the 2019 International Erosion Control Association Presenters of the Year award for a presentation about the project called “Turning the River Right-Side-Up – Restoring the Swan River After a Century of Mining Impacts.”

While the ecological success is good news for the project, neighborhood concerns remain. Just shy of a dozen Breckenridge residents attended the work session, with some raising concerns about how much longer the gravel exporting will go on, as well as a lack of compliance by companies running trucks up and down Tiger Road when it comes to things like noise levels and quiet hours.

The county, with its conditional use permit for excavation and gravel crushing for rocks on-site, has assigned a timeline to Schofield Excavation where gravel milling operations will be complete by May 2021 and gravel removal operations will end by May 2022.

In the three years until then, the excavators are required to export nearly 100,000 tons of gravel off-site. For comparison, 100,000 tons of gravel were exported last year alone. However, due to the fluctuations in the construction materials market, it is still unclear how much gravel will be exported this year and how much will be left to go.

Lorch and Lederer said that they had been working with Breckenridge Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to step up enforcement for non-compliant truck traffic. The department is also working with the public works department to improve signage and street markings in the area to improve safety for residents and drivers alike.

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Contact Information

Photo of Summit Real Estate Real Estate
Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker