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Old 07-30-2007, 11:14 PM
Location: Norman, OK
14 posts, read 77,400 times
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We're trying to decide between these two areas. Have 3 teens and 1 10yo. Looking for a friendly, welcoming and fun place to raise our family. I understand the cost of living there and that is fine.

What are the atmospheres in the schools? Are there problems or conflicts between the income levels?

Any thoughts you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-31-2007, 06:53 AM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,651,014 times
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If you are choosing between those two, I'd say Breckenridge. Breck is a real town, while Vail/Beaver Creek are "manufactured" resort areas with mostly trophy second homes. I can't tell you anything about living in Eagle County, except to say that some of my friends who do live there (full-time), live in Eagle, and not in Vail/BC.

However, keep in mind that even Breck doesn't have many full-time residents. 80% of Breck's housing is second homes and rentals. While the town is trying to change that with the new deed-restricted Wellington neighborhood, it's still mainly part-timers.

If you're looking for a more residential area, look at Silverthorne (also Summit County). 80% of Silverthorne housing is occupied by full-timers as primary residences.

Whether it's friendly, welcoming, and fun will depend a lot on where you live. This is just my opinion based on observation: the lower-cost neighborhoods (lower for Summit County) may be more neighborly -- people know each other and do things together. The more expensive neighborhoods have more second homes and huge mansions set apart from each other, where neighbors don't necessarily see each other that much.

I cannot personally tell you about the schools (our son is only 5 months old), but there are obviously many families who have kids in the schools in the county. For what it's worth, our neighbors on either side have kids in elementary all the way through high school, and they speak highly of them. There is only one high school in the county.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:21 AM
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After reading the host of misinformation posted above ... apparently Fuzz has a thing about the Vail Valley/Vail (which has been posted several times before) ... re: Vail being a "manufactured" town. This might have been true in 1970's, but the town's now been around for awhile (hint: it's now almost 40 years later!). Also, the down-valley towns (which are part of the area community), have been around for mining/railroad/ranching and other interests just as long ... if not longer ... than Breckenridge.

Vail's permanent residents tend to live in East Vail and West Vail, which are friendly and welcoming to other full time residents. Good in town bus service is here (and free!), so the family can virtually park their cars while in the area ... schools, shopping, recreation are all readily accessible.

In fact, Breckenridge is expensive enough to live in that it's also, like Vail, a place where most of the employees commute in from less expensive areas. They even run daily worker shuttles from Leadville to Breckenridge, just like they do to Vail. Breckenridge caters to second home owners no less than Vail.

So be advised that Vail does have a stable permanent year round population community. The schools are pretty good according to my friends that live there and have had children go through that system. With the local Eagle county high tax base, the schools are well funded.

There's just as much to do in Vail as there is for the children to do in Breckenridge ... with the exception that Dillon lake is a few minutes closer via Breckenridge to Frisco than Vail to Frisco or Dillon. So, is this a dealbreaker? I don't think so. In Vail, the ski slopes are right there, too.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:03 PM
Location: New Zealand
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sunsprit, because you own a second home in Vail, I know you have a soft spot for it.

But no matter how much you love Vail, it has still nowhere near the "town" feel that Breck has. And no matter that it was built in the 70's -- Vail Village was manufactured to be a faux European tourist village, and it still is -- once a fake, always a fake. Yes, East and West Vail are different from Vail Village, but again, they also do not have the same "town" feel of Breck.

And before you start refuting alleged statements I've made, it'd be helpful if you actually paid attention to what I wrote. I mentioned that Breck also has a high ratio of second-home owners, 80% in fact. I don't know Vail's ratio, so I can't compare. If Vail has more full-timers than Breck, then I stand corrected.

If it were me, I wouldn't live in either place. In fact, it was me for a "half" -- Breck was one area I was looking at for a primary residence -- I chose elsewhere in Summit County, mainly due to the high cost + high second-home-ownership.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:05 PM
Location: New Zealand
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davara, don't mean to get you embroiled in a Vail vs Breck controversy.

As you can maybe tell, both towns have their good and bad points. Which good points you like better and which bad points you like less will depend on exactly what you're looking for.

Your best option will be to actually come out and visit both towns. They ARE different -- only you can tell which one is right for you.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:20 PM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,651,014 times
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I was trying to Google some images of the areas.


I honestly could not find many good images of East or West Vail that weren't real estate advertisements (showing just a particular house). sunsprit, you may be able to provide more?

Vail Village (as sunsprit mentioned, most full-timers reside in East or West Vail, not in the Village itself):
http://www.destinationpartners.biz/images/properties/vail.jpg (broken link)
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:20 PM
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Both East and West Vail are without a concentration of visitor targeted retail and restaurants. They are substantially residential areas, with a housing density ranging from a closely built up on-site managed condo complex (try the Vail Raquet Club in East Vail), to single family homes on fairly good sized lots. Some back up against the streams, National Forest, or up against other lots down in the trees along the meandering roads through the area. Traffic density is relatively low, like you'd expect in your own neighborhood. There are community parks in these areas for the residents to enjoy.

Even the Ford Park complex, on the West side of East Vail (so it's walking distance close from Vail central, or close to East Vail via bike paths, walkways, or the bus system), has a lot of community "feel" to it. There's soccer fields, baseball diamonds, tenns courts, open park space, the Betty Ford Gardens (spectacular! alpine gardens, water features), creekside hiking/biking, kid's playground with all kinds of outdoor swings and features, and the Amphitheater with a full schedule of performances ... you can sit in the covered amphitheater, or on the open seating on the grass up the hillside adjacent to enjoy the concert or performance. The acoustics are superb throughout for unamplified music, too.

Hence, some of the attractions and benefits for full time residents and families to live in the area, because these sites don't have the immediate amenities of Vail and LionsHead retail development ... which are really targeted to visitors.

West Vail has the advantage of residential areas tucked away up and over the hillside to the North of I-70, ranging from modest condo's to very expensive homes (Potato Patch, etc), with very good access immediately adjacent to the retail shopping and restaurants that is targeted to locals (City Market and other stores catering to full time local residents). Additionally, it's a bit closer to the down valley towns (Avon, etc) where full services and shopping for residents is located (Home Depot, SuperWalMart, many shops and stores for all of your basics, essentials, services, and goods).

That's why I'm astounded when a "fuzz" comes along and insists that the area is a "fake or fabrication" because he obviously doesn't know or recognize the extent of the community size or retail/wholesale services and goods that cater to that large established residential community for the Vail Valley.

The whole thing about Vail being a "fake" european ski town was valid for awhile when Vail was first built and the only development was the start of the ski hill lifts and the Lodge at Vail and some shops and hotels and restaurants going in for the tourist trade ... and was the snobby "attitude" of folks from places like Aspen that had been around for awhile and were poo-poohing the new upstart ski resort.

But, it's simply not the case anymore ... and hasn't been for many years.

I'd put Vail's services and retail targeted to the residential community as being far more accessible and reasonable (many goods are priced the same as Denver prices for the stores) than Breckenridge's. Combine Breck with Frisco/Dillon/Silverthorne (20 miles away) and you still don't have any more of the services/retail/restaurants and commercial development targeted to local full time residents than the immediate Vail area.

The only thing Vail lacks in comparison is the "outlet mall" shopping center .... which is, in reality, just the "new face" of retail marketing. If a Vail resident is seeking that shopping outlet, it's approx 25 minutes from home ... big deal, right? Breckenridge to Silverthorne is about 20 miles, too ... so it's not much faster to get there, either ... than it is from Vail to Silverthorne.

Vail also has a substantial hospital and medical complex in town, with some world famous clinics in house (oncology, trauma, orthopedic). "fuzz" ... tell us about Breckenridge's trauma hospital for the area residents ... oh, it doesn't have one, does it? Is this something that might allow us to define Vail as a "real" town with essential services for the residents?

Please recognize that the "main street" photos of either town are just that ... the main street with a high density of retail and restaurant and art galleries and other shops targeted to tourist trade. It's simply not the heart of the residential community.

Also, please recognize that Vail sits at the base of it's ski lifts ... you literally have ski-in/ski-out lift access or walk over to the lifts from many living quarters right there. You don't have to commute anywhere to get on the mountain, you're already there. But ... for the most part ... this aspect of Vail is targeted to the 2nd homeowner/condo owner who is but a temporary guest of the town. It doesn't represent the real "community" of residents, who have but to hop a free in town bus to get to lifts ....

Yes, I'm a Vail advocate ... not because I own there, but because I faced the same choices and financial aspects when I chose to buy/build in the Colorado mountains many years ago. I looked at the Dillon area, Leadville, Aspen, Copper Mountain, Vail, the foothills above Boulder, the Grand Lake area, etc, and determined that the best value and accessibility was (for me) in Vail. With a long term plan to make my choice my primary residence in due course, Vail had the best combination for me.

Apparently many others have made the same choice because Vail boomed in growth and infrastructure and ski mountain complex over the years while the Frisco/Breck/Dillon/Silverthorne area stayed rather low key in comparison.

Again, I'd refer anyone looking at these areas to read the articles in the ski magazines where they rate the quality of skiing and the ski town experience as being a large part of what you're paying for when you buy in these places. Vail consistently rates at the top. Where does Breckenridge rank, "fuzz"? a long ways down the list, last time I checked ....
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:40 PM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,651,014 times
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Again, I'd refer anyone looking at these areas to read the articles in the ski magazines where they rate the quality of skiing and the ski town experience as being a large part of what you're paying for when you buy in these places. Vail consistently rates at the top.
Yeah, the same surveys that put Alta and Snowbird towards the bottom of the list. That's quite instructive. Go Vail!

And do you have some reading comprehension problems as well? What part of "I can't tell you anything about living in Eagle County" didn't you get?

My god, somebody doesn't like Vail! How could that be!? Get a life!

davara, sorry to have devolved your thread into this. If you want to know anything more from me, please PM. I can tell you about Breck and Summit County, but not about Vail/Eagle County obviously. Vail is obviously the best place in the world to live. I wish I lived there.
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:22 PM
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Well, when you get through with the condescending crap from "fuzz" where he posts insults and mis-information about Vail after acknowledging that he doesn't know squat about the area ...

Again, "fuzz" .... that's why I cannot fathom why you're on such a roll about something you admit you don't know anything about. I certainly didn't miss your admission. I have no issue with you touting the features of your favorite town here, but assailing another place you know nothing about except an unfounded slur from many years ago isn't very enlightening except to reveal your profound ignorance.

I have lived in Frisco, Silverthorne, downriver, in Dillon, and have long term friends in the Breckenridge area, too. I watched the Lake Dillon Dam being built, so I've been around for a reasonably long time, too. I have some first hand knowledge of the area ... in fact, was there last week for the beginning of the Snipe junior nationals at Lake Dillon, and sailed for a few days up there, too.

Davara, you might also consult sources like Wikipedia (since "fuzz" now wants to decry the other sources I've refered you to) ... which reveal that Vail has over twice the resident population of Breckenridge. The same community of people in Vail that has supported 4 private schools in addition to the excellent public school system. I think one might infer that the strong school system is an indicaton of community, not a "fake" town.

Or does Breckenridge have a comparable school system in their community that is hidden, "fuzz"? Do they? In addition to all the medical facilities?

Breckenridge is essentially located by itself, some miles from the closest next community, Frisco. Vail, OTOH, is now essentially a corridor down the Valley of areas that run together ... so you have a much larger overall population and commercial base for the residential community.

You might also compare that Breckenridge is about 1,000' higher in elevation than Vail. The result is a yet shorter warm season, with consequences like the growth cycle of plants being shorter. For those of us who like a summer yard and vegetable garden and summertime outdoor activities, the shorter warm cycle in Breck is significant.

I've never claimed that Vail was the best place in the world to live. But I will state again that it works for me, and in the context of the OP's question about raising a family in a Colorado mountain town ... it has a lot more to offer than Breckenridge. Got it, "fuzz"?

"fuzz" ... your attempt to turn this thread into a farce with "somebody doesn't like Vail" mockery when you admit you know NOTHING about the place just isn't beneficial to the thread. I accept you don't like Vail but ... based upon your total ignorance ... why don't you do as you propose "and get a life?"

Try ... just try, if you can, to be rational enough to tell us what's great about Breckenridge where it could be of value based upon your first hand KNOWLEDGE instead of posting pure BS .....

or is it just illustrative of how little knowlege you have of the virtues of Breckenridge that you simply can't post it here publicly so have now invited the OP to PM you about that thimblefull?

have a nice day, if you can.

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-01-2007 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 08-01-2007, 05:54 PM
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Well, since "fuzz" doesn't look like they're going to continue on this thread ... I'll direct you to their postings about the Breck/Frisco/Silverthorne/Dillon information on the "tour guide -- calling Summit County residents" thread.

The similarity between the two choices posted by the OP here is that all of the amenities of living in the Colorado mountains are available in both places.

The difference is that Vail is a community that is essentially all in a very close proximity to all of the amenities ... the park for your recreation is just across the street or down the block. The hospital is just off the center of town, close by, along with the medical facilities. The school is just around the way, either in walking distance or a very short bus ride. The skiing is just off the bus in the center of town. The hiking, fishing, and bike riding is all right there on your doorstep. Good shopping is right off the bus stop or close by. Restaurants are also close by or off the bus stop, just a very few minutes away. There is a large permanent residential community, about double the size of Breckenridge's.

Now Breck has access to all of those good things, but it's a different paradigm apart. You want good shopping? it's down in Frisco or Silverthorne. You want to ski? it's over at the ski mountain, a distance away by car or bus. You want medical facilities? they're a ways away in Frisco. And so it goes with most of the essentials of living in Breck.

So, what changes the livability factor? When I was spending a lot of time in Vail, I could put my children on the bus at age 10 & 12 to go skiing. I could put them on the bus to go to school just a few minutes away. I could send them shopping a few minutes away. They could go play ball a few minutes away by bicycle on the bike path. Everything was essentially on my doorstep in a safe community.

I didn't have to send them a half hour down the road (or longer) to do things or have recreational activities. And I had neighbors with older chidren ... or the neighbors themselves ... that could keep an eye on the boys when I was at work.

Reading the OP's question ... they've got teenagers and a 10 yr old. IMO, Vail represents a better choice for their needs and family time then Breckenridge. That's strictly my opinion, of course, but it's based in real world experience with living in both areas as opposed to utter ignorance and unfounded slurs from the likes of "fuzz". And, if I read fuzz's posts and questions, I'd bet that's a realtor ... displaying totally unprofessional behavior in promoting their little patch in Colorado.
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