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It marks the official kick-off of summer in Telluride! Mountainfilm takes place every Memorial Day Weekend and coincides with the opening of the Gondola, re-opening of businesses and the Telluride Golf Club for the season. Because of this and the amazing alpine programming of environmental and action adventure films; it's one of my favorite festivals of the year.
Today, the annual Mountainfilm festival occupies dozens of venues in Telluride and Mountain Village and fills the two towns with inspiring thinkers and doers. In addition to showcasing leading independent films and filmmakers, the weekend now includes symposia and panels, gallery exhibits of art and photography, book signings, coffee talks, student programs, music, outdoor programs and street parties. The essential combination that first set the festival apart, though — friends, adventure, passion and powerful ideas — remains firmly intact.
The Mountainfilm festival began in 1979, a time when Telluride was completing its transition from a hard-rock gold and silver mining community to a destination resort and ski town. The new era ushered a vital fresh energy and economic life into Telluride’s beautiful box canyon, and the area's rugged mountains remained the leading attraction.
It was Lito Tejada-Flores, fresh from screening his now-classic adventure and mountaineering film Fitzroyat the Trento festival in Italy, and Bill Kees, a local climber and avid outdoorsman, who inaugurated Mountainfilm. Over three nights at the historic Sheridan Opera House, they screened a dozen films, all about mountains: mountain sports, mountain cultures, mountain issues. During the days, the audiences took to the mountains themselves, climbing the thirteen- and fourteen-thousand-foot peaks with skis; kayaking the San Miguel River; and engaging in spirited conversations about the importance of wild places, adventure, art and action.
The first festivals attracted leading names in mountaineering and exploration: Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, David Breashears and others. With their help, the Memorial Day weekend event quickly became a not-to-be-missed tradition for an ever-expanding circle of pioneers in diverse fields — from athletes to environmentalists and scientists to poets. Mountains soon became as much a metaphorical theme as a literal one and, as the festival expanded in size and recognition, its programming readily stretched to the leading edges of contemporary issues.
In 1999, Mountainfilm grew the scope of its operation significantly with the introduction of Mountainfilm on Tour. By taking festival films to theaters across the country and internationally, Mountainfilm accessed large and diverse new audiences that would otherwise have no window into the filmmakers’ unique and important work.
External factors well beyond our boutique regional market (volatile equities, China trade concerns,
national political gridlock, etc.) have imposed some uncertainty in the minds of some of those seeking
the sanctuary of a second home mountain investment. On the other hand, there are still those that
place family lifestyle and a solid real estate investment a notch above a “zip lock” on paper liquidity.
The first quarter of 2019 yielded a 4% increase in gross dollar sales ($114.8M vs. $110.3M) over that
same period of 2018, despite that quarter riding the “coat tails” of the new tax law and a burgeoning
economy. In fact, March sales demonstrated a 16% increase in gross dollar sales over the prior
March, suggesting that momentum is on an upswing. Overall, transactional numbers are almost
exactly the same quarter to quarter. Sales in the Town of Telluride ($48.1M vs. $37.8M) continue to
demonstrate strength with an increase of 27% (Gross Dollars). Although Telluride Mountain Village
condominium sales remained stable with $27.2M in sales, the lack of sales of single-family homes
was a factor in that market’s decline of 20%. The balance of the Telluride Region received renewed
investor focus with a 32% increase (Gross Dollars --- $22.37M vs. $16.9M).
It is certainly noteworthy that, looking back March to March over a two-year period, sales on the
upper end of the pricing spectrum in the Town of Telluride homes (above $1000 PSF) are holding
value with 18 sales during each of those periods at nearly identical average PSF’s in excess of $1200.
The sale of Telluride condominiums experienced almost identical results for these time periods with
12 sales each at an average PSF of $1172. This would certainly lead one to believe that values are
stable, and with several condo projects under construction garnering higher contracted prices, values
could very well be on the rise.
The 2018/2019 Telluride real estate market continues to roll. We are still seeing great values in Mountain Village and the occasional hot deal in the Town of Telluride. The surrounding Mesa's and Ranches saw increased demand and pricing pressure as well.
YTD Transactions Down 19%
YTD Dollar Volume Down 13%
Data Excludes Deed Restricted and Fractional Properties
Smaller more affordable inventory have sold leaving larger more expensive properties for sale in general
I Update and Distribute This Report Quarterly - Please Contact Me with Questions
Mountain Village is being transformed once again into the North Pole for this year’s Holiday Prelude celebration. This year promises a whole day of holiday movies, train rides, Santa and his workshop, live reindeer, ice skating and children’s holiday surprises around every corner.
Throughout the weekend, children of all ages will delight in the decorations and lights galore as Santa’s elves send them up the Gondola to visit Santa’s Workshop at the Telluride Conference Center. Children can share their Christmas List with Santa, make holiday crafts with the elves, and enjoy Holiday Movies with free hot chocolate and popcorn. This year’s holiday films include “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Polar Express” and “Elf.” The parents’ lounge and cash bar will be available for parents who want to put their feet up. In addition, a curling demo will be held to demonstrate how the sport is played and help folks learn to curl.
Children and adults can expect many surprises on the Train Ride throughout the twinkling Mountain Village. This year the train will be making some very special stops through town to visit the live reindeer petting area and participating shops will be giving gifts and treats to all children.
On Saturday, the culmination of this year’s event will be a tree lighting ceremony with Santa and carolers in Heritage Plaza at 6 p.m. Following the lighting, head back to the ice skating rink because the Telluride Figure Skating Club will be presenting North Pole on Ice. After our local pros leave the ice, stick around for the “coolest” ice skating party ever — all set to your favorite tunes.
For those who need to get some last-minute Christmas shopping done, Mountain Village merchants are extending discounts and specials to customers. Shoppers will receive some of the best discounts of the year, along with raffles, giveaways, food and drink specials and more. And, in the true spirit of giving, Franz Klammer Lodge will host an Angel Baskets Charity Drive for donations and will be offering complimentary treats and beverages in their lodge.
Affordable Housing Proposals see Mixed Results on Election Day.
Three issues specifically facing voters in Telluride on Election Day saw mixed results. The hotly debated proposals for a property tax increase for Affordable Housing seem to have passed by the narrowest of margins. Measure 2A, which levies a 2 mil increase on Telluride residential properties seems to have passed by about 32 votes. 2C, which requires voter approval to bond the money collected passed by a slightly larger margin. One affordable housing measure that did not pass was measure 2B, which proposed a sales tax increase and would have likely raised more money for affordable housing than the property tax measure.
The Telluride Association of REALTORS® will continue to monitor new developments in the affordable housing discussion and will always be an advocate for housing for all.
Property Tax Proposals Pass in Telluride, other Local Areas
In addition to the ballot questions regarding affordable housing, a number of different property tax proposals that raised money for specific needs/purposes all received approval from area voters.
Voters said yes to property tax hikes requested on this election’s ballots that will help support the fire, school and hospital districts. Each of those measures passed with convincing margins, ensuring that voter approved funding will be in place to compensate for funding shortfalls brought about by declining property tax revenues.
The Telluride Fire District won a 2 mil increase and a Gallagher Amendment adjustment that makes up for revenue gaps in lean tax years. The proposal won by a 70-30 margin.
The Telluride Hospital District won a similar increase and adjustment by a slightly larger margin. Officials say the revenue will assist with better emergency facilities and better overall service to the public.
Finally, the Telluride School District won their question by a slightly smaller 64-36 margin. The $1.2 million in annual revenue the district will receive as a result of the approval of Ballot Issue 4A will be used for attracting and retaining high quality teachers, general operations, programming, and maintaining class sizes.
Business Improvement District Plan Fails for Third Time
The third time was definitely not a charm for supporters of the creation of a Downtown Improvement District. The third go round at this issue was defeated by a count of 64 supporting and 108 against.
The BID funding would have been spent on improvements within the district, including snow removal, more frequent trash pick-up, marketing, way-finding signage and other services.
Under the BID plan, downtown was split into two zones. Businesses on Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue and the side streets between them were in the premium zone. If the BID funding were approved, these businesses would have paid a special frontage assessment of $10.29 per linear foot and a mill levy of 2.22 mills. Nonprofits in the areas of Lincoln and Yampa would only have paid the special assessment and could have applied to waive or reduce what they paid on the special assessment. Nonprofits on Oak Street would not have paid any additional taxes. All other businesses in the district would have been in the standard zone and would only have paid the 2.22 mill levy.
It is unclear what will happen moving forward.
State News: Colorado Legislature Turns More Blue, Most Statewide Ballot Issues Fail
Colorado Democrats had a huge night on Tuesday, gaining control of all houses of the Colorado General Assembly. Jarod Polis becomes Colorado’s Governor, Democrats held their majority in the House of Representatives, and were able to gain three seats in the Senate to gain a 19-16 advantage. For the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, there were many wins and losses across the state. Groups like CAR are always hoping for a split legislature, which makes it tougher for bad ideas to make it all the way through the legislature. However, CAR remains excited to greet and work with the many new members of the legislature and work with them to insure that housing issues remain high on their lists of priorities.
On the ballot measure side, Colorado voters rejected nearly every proposal put in front of them that included tax increases. Both transportation funding measures (Prop 109 and the CAR supported Prop 110) failed to gain approval by similar 40-60 margins of defeat. Amendment 73 (Opposed by CAR) would have significantly raised taxes for education funding was defeated by a 55-45 margin. Proposition 112 was opposed by CAR and would have significantly increased restrictions on the oil and gas industry was also defeated by a 56-44 measure.
National News: The Election Shows Political Divide Still Strong Across the Country
As is the case in almost every mid-term election in the modern area, the party not in the White House experienced large gains across the country on Election Night. However, the party in the White House actually strengthened its majority in the Senate, a phenomenon that does not usually occur in the midterms.
The end result is that the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives after 10 years of Republican control and the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate. While it’s easy to lament these results as a forbearance of gridlock for the next two years, it's important to remember that balance between the parties isn’t a bad thing. The founding fathers of this country sought balance in the structure of our government and gave us a system to fully debate and vet all ideas before they become law. It might feel like gridlock, but it is actually our country at work making sure bad ideas don’t get fast tracked into law.
Opportunity Zone Proposed Rules Released
On October 19, the Treasury Department released proposed rules for Qualified Opportunity Zones, a federal program created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. The program incentivizes investment and development in distressed communities, designated as “Qualified Opportunity Zones” (QOZs) through tax benefits for investors. These benefits include deferral of federal capital gains tax on qualified capital gains reinvested into a QOZ (via an “Opportunity Fund”), and potential reduction in the tax ultimately paid on those gains (if held for five years they receive a step-up in basis of 10%; if held for seven, 15%). In addition, gains accrued on investments while in an Opportunity Fund and invested into a QOZ may be exempted from federal capital gains tax, if the investments are from a proper deferral election (reinvested capital gains that the tax is deferred on) and held for at least ten years.
The proposed rules provide important clarifications for interested investors, including the type of gains eligible for tax deferral (capital only), how investments into Opportunity Funds made of both capital gains proceeds and non-gains funds are treated, the overall timeline for the program, how to certify an Opportunity Fund and meet the “90% asset requirement” (that 90% of a fund’s assets be held in a QOZ), and how they will determine that an Opportunity Fund has “substantially improved” a QOZ business property. Further proposed rules are expected on other aspects of the program, and the IRS will hold a hearing on the issue on January 10, 2019.
Source: Telluride Association of Realtors - Government Affairs
- Only Vail Resorts’ customers with the premium Epic Pass, Epic 4-Day and Epic 7-Day receive the Telluride benefit: up to 7 days of complimentary access in Telluride.
- All discount or value Epic products exclude the access benefit in Telluride, including but not limited to the Epic Local Pass, Epic Australia Pass, Summit Value Pass, Tahoe Value Pass.
- Full Epic Pass holders receive (7) days of ski access in Telluride. Days do not need to be used consecutively. No blackouts or restrictions.
- Epic 7-Day Pass holders receive a total of (7) days of mountain access of which up to (7) days can be used in Telluride. Days do not need to be used consecutively. No blackouts. i.e. if the Pass holder uses 3 days in Vail, they have up to the remaining 4 days to use in Telluride
- Epic 4-Day Pass holders receive a total of (4) days of mountain access of which up to (4) days can be used in Telluride. Days do not need to be used consecutively. No blackouts. i.e. if the Pass holder uses 3 days in Vail, they have the remaining 1 day to use in Telluride.
- All Epic Pass holders with questions about the benefit in Telluride should be referred to Vail Resorts: (970) 754-0005. Hours of operation are 8 am - 6 pm MST daily.
For guests who are trying to do the math to find the most cost-effective options, here are links for Epic Pass, Telluride Season Pass and Lift Ticket Pricing:
- Epic Passes: https://www.epicpass.
- Telluride Season Passes: https://www.
tellurideskiresort.com/ pricing-products/season- passes/
- Telluride Lift Tickets: https://www.
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