PREMIER SKI IN SKI OUT SNOWMASS VILLAGE
House Tour: Rocky Mountain High
An elegant Snowmass home brings the harmony of ski-in/ski-out access and a storied musical past at the highest point in the Divide.
Two decades ago, Kenn Roberts sat atop the plot of alpine land and surveyed the portrait spread across Aspen groves, pine trees and down below to Snowmass Village. The words of acclaimed songwriter John Denver echoed in his mind: “He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below. He saw everything as far as you can see.” It was a fitting reaction to the piece of property where he eventually built his dream house, now listed with Jim and Anita Bineau of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. He had summited improbable odds after all, being one of the first to choose the most expensive and best located lot available for sale in the coveted Divide neighborhood back in 1997.
“It was a superior lot,” he recalls. “It rested at a convergence of two different ski runs. It ended being the highest lot in the Divide, and having the best ski-in, ski-out access.”
A prominent Maryland-based residential developer, philanthropist, musician and skier, Roberts had fallen for Aspen back in 1969 – at the peak of Denver’s popularity. He bought his first Aspen condo in 1972. “When I first skied here, I skied the Big Burn,” he remembers. Like ski trails, his memories zigzag across time. “I caught up to a fellow by the name of John Wayne. And he said to me, ‘This is where I want to be.’ That’s true for anyone who comes to Aspen. It’s a destination. You have to want to be here. I come back here again and again because that mountain is going to be there and it’s always going to be the same.”
Roberts is a local legend, known to most Snowmass and Aspen residents as the founding member of the country music band, The Hard Travelers. Even if people don’t immediately recognize him by name, they most likely know his house – a local landmark of sorts as the site of numerous fundraisers and music benefits for Cystic Fibrosis hosted by his charity, M.US.E. Foundation. Countless country and folk music stars have entertained in the elegant mountain home. Even American government leaders have sought refuge in its 5,481 square feet. Thanks to the home’s secluded location in the White River National Forest – 27 miles away from the nearest population.
Conceived by architect, T. Michael Manchester, and built by Mark Norris and Associates, the residence was oriented on the mountain to maximize the views sweeping across the landscape. The unpretentious character of the home unfolds in interiors that gracefully meld rustic and refined elements. Anchored by a massive stone fireplace and 17-foot vaulted ceilings, the great room feels voluminous and open, bringing in majestic views of mountain, aspen groves and pine trees via a large arched window – a hallmark that is repeated throughout Manchester’s design.
“In the evenings, you can see ‘Aspen Glow’ on the opposite side of the mountain, where the sun sets,” says Roberts of his great room. “I always think of John Denver when I look at it, ‘I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky.’ Every night is different in one glorious way or another. That’s the thing I like best about the house.”
Roberts wanted the home to be a multi-generational home, where he could host his extended family of children and grandchildren. He and Manchester made sure to create a floorplan that accommodated entertaining with a voluminous sweep of living, dining and kitchen spaces set on varying elevations. The result is a balanced harmony between openness and separation. “There is a light and airy feeling to the living spaces,” says Anita Bineau. “The stunning beauty of nature captured from the large windows give you a feeling of floating in your very own private tree house.” An updated kitchen – graced by granite countertops, modern appliances, a large sit-up bar for six and expansive sun-lit windows bring the glorious outdoors inside. Adds Jim Bineau: “You can watch the sunset over the mountains or enjoy Après ski on your private deck overlooking the Snowmass Ski area. After a day of skiing or hiking, soak your cares away in your indoor/outdoor hot tub.” Five bedrooms and six baths offer just the right amount of privacy. The dramatic master suite is touched by a warm fireplace and arched picture windows facing the mountain. Explains Roberts: “When I wake up in the morning, I throw open the windows and I see every run for my view.” The best part for Roberts, is of course, the premier access to two trails – Dawdler to Village Express 6-pack or Campground Lift via Slot. But there are other geographical pluses. For example, the house is just minutes from Base Village and all of its acclaimed new restaurants, music and fun. Concludes Anita Bineau: “Few Snowmass residences tie privacy, views and ski-in/ski-out access so beautifully together.” Some people might call that “perfect harmony.”