March 3, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Owning and Managing a Park City Condo with Ski-In, Ski-Out Access

I hail from a family of skiers, so it was only logical that we would acquire a vacation house in the mountains with ski-in and ski-out access. Our home was at the edge of a ski trail that was popular among cross-country skiers and a well-known ski resort was situated a few football fields away from our property line.

So cross-country skiers could ski to some of the most popular trails, while downhill skiers could ski directly onto the property of one of the area’s most popular ski resorts. But with the ski-in and ski-out access came some unique issues that we had to address with the help of our property management team.

Park City, Utah, is home to many condominiums with ski-in and ski-out access, but that said, they aren’t quite right for everyone. So let’s explore the pros and cons of this type of property and how it can affect both owners and property managers.

Defining Ski-in, Ski-out Access

The definition of ski-in, ski-out access is open to some interpretation. Generally speaking, ski-in, ski-out access means you can literally click into your skis and ski to the slopes or lifts without the need to drive, walk, or haul gear.

True ski-in, ski-out access, where the property directly abuts the ski trail, is most common for cross-country skiing trails because ski resorts often acquire a lot of the land surrounding their developed ski trails, making it impossible to ski directly onto the trails from private property. This is generally true for Park City ski resorts, although there many condominiums and other private vacation rental homes that do have very close access to the ski resorts’ grounds and lifts.

Therefore, a property with ski-in, ski-out access can take a few different forms:

  • Easy ski-in, ski-out access to the lifts.
  • Direct access to the actual downhill skiing trails.
  • Direct or easy access to cross-country skiing trails.
  • It’s important that your property manager understands what type of access your condo has because otherwise, your marketing materials and advertisements could be somewhat deceptive, resulting in negative reviews that could harm your ability to secure new rental guests in the future.

Additionally, a small number of properties can have ski-out access only. One example would be a property that’s located atop a hill that leads to a field where the ski lodge and lifts are situated. With this type of property, you could easily ski out, but skiing back home could be a challenge, forcing guests to click off their skis and walk up the roadway to the vacation rental.

Clear Markings for Condos With Ski-in, Ski-out Access

It’s important that you have clear, easy-to-recognize signage at the point where your property opens onto the ski trails. This is especially important for properties with ski-out access to downhill skiing trails, as these skiers will need to visualize the access point from a fair distance so they can slow down sufficiently to turn in safely.

If they miss the entrance, your guests will either be forced to climb the hill on foot or they may need to ski down to the base and catch a lift back up to the top of the trail, which can be quite dangerous in dusk conditions.

For these reasons, you must have a fairly large piece of signage that’s easy to visualize and recognize at a distance. And your property manager must check on this signage on a regular basis to ensure it’s not obstructed by snow and ice or damaged by the elements, downed limbs, or an out-of-control skier.

Many vacation homeowners will design a logo and name for their rental property. So you might use this as the basis of your signage, so it will be memorable and easy to recognize at a distance. You should ensure the sign is two-sided, so it can be viewed from both directions on the trail. The same signage should also be located elsewhere on or in your condo unit so it becomes familiar and easy to recognize.

If your property opens onto a trail with night skiing access, then your sign should be illuminated. Illuminating the sign is good practice as it ensures guests can find your property even if darkness looms.
Condominiums have an added challenge since you have many units that look similar or identical. This makes it even more important to add some sort of unique signage or marking to your home — something that is both memorable and easy to visualize at a distance. You may also need approval from the condo association if you wish to display a sign on the exterior or at the ski trail access point.

Grooming the Access Points to Ensure Safe, Easy Skiing

Your property manager will need to take measures to ensure your property’s access point to the trails is well-groomed and free of obstructions.

Ensuring good snow coverage at the ski-in, ski-out access point (and the area leading up to this access point) is important for purposes of convenience. It’s also wise to ensure the mouth of the access point is wide and free of large trees or other obstacles. This is especially important if this area will be used by downhill skiers who may be coming in at high speeds. A small miscalculation can result in a skid or collision, so removing obstacles can prevent injuries.

You may need to determine what areas are maintained by the condo association and which areas fall within your property manager’s duties. Many Park City vacation properties with ski-in, ski-out access are condominiums, so it’s important to understand which areas are maintained by the association and which regions are your responsibility in terms of maintenance. This can have a major impact on your property manager’s scope of duties and thus, the terms of your property management contract.

Notably, one of the major “cons” of getting a condominium with ski-in, ski-out access is the price both of the actual property and the condominium association fees, which will be higher if there are ski areas and access points that need to be maintained. Property management fees may also be a bit higher if your property management team has to perform additional tasks related to the ski-in, ski-out access.

So this is an important consideration to keep in mind when deciding if a Park City condo with ski-in, ski-out access if right for your needs. Although it should be noted that the added expenses are often counterbalanced by the ability to charge higher rental fees. Guests are generally very willing to pay a bit more if they know that they will have easy access to the ski trails.
The actual entry area to your condo may also have some extra maintenance and care. This is something that will need to be addressed when considering your property management requirements.

Finding the right Park City property manager can be a challenge, but that’s where can assist. We help homeowners find fabulous local property managers. Many of the property managers we work with offer a guaranteed income model, which means you could receive a monthly profit regardless of actual bookings. Sign up for a free account today by visiting

Lead image: Pixabay user rolfvandewal

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