Imagine if you could bask in the glow of the Mediterranean sunshine, embrace the tranquility of the Dutch woodlands or behold the drama of the Rocky Mountains, all while reducing environmental impact and saving money?
Good news: With the following eco-friendly properties, you can. Located around the globe, each is on the cutting edge of living green by utilizing a range of technologies to increase energy efficiency and reuse valuable resources. At the same time, these properties offer the highest standards of luxury, proving that living with an environmental conscience doesn’t have to mean living without comfort.
851 Wilson Way, Telluride, Colorado, 81435 United States
Gracefully set upon one of the most dramatic 35-acre sites in the spectacular Telluride region, this masterpiece of eco-friendly design is exceptional in its setting, quality and accommodation. The home overlooks a reflective pond that mirrors views of a towering cirque of rolling meadows and 14,000-foot peaks, and its soaring spaces showcase the very best in sophisticated mountain living.
It’s the result of a collaboration between its owners and a team of talented design and build professionals. Featuring the very finest materials from all over the world, including custom-quarried marble from Italy, limestone from India, exotic granites, bluestone and native rock, the construction process was uncompromising in its commitment to efficiency and quality. In addition, the property leverages low-voltage lighting, recirculating water features and rooftop gardens with native plants to maximize efficiency.
Aesthetically, center-pivot glass doors wrap the home and give way to large outdoor spaces ideally suited for entertaining or quiet reflection. Sumptuous master and guest suites seamlessly blend intimate living areas with epic outdoor spaces. Amenities include a fitness room, spas, salon, home theater, wine room and outdoor fire pits. The kitchen is fit for a top chef with its suite of top-of-the-line appliances.
The sum of these remarkable efforts has created a striking and efficient sanctuary nestled gracefully in the mountains — the perfect balance between privacy and proximity.
This modern, spacious villa has stunning views that stretch beyond Ibiza’s Morna Valley to the island of Formentera in the distance. Located on a magnificent 64-acre plot, the property offers an eco-conscious approach to luxury living combined with absolute privacy and tranquility.
The property’s meticulously designed layout consists of seven bedroom suites structured around a substantial open-plan living area. State-of- the-art sliding window systems open on extensive terracing — complete with infinity pool — that provides breathtaking views of the Mediterranean landscape. Only the highest-quality fixtures, fittings and materials were selected to ensure luxurious standards of living. The property is largely self-sufficient, as it uses solar power and a private well. Native fruits and vegetables on the property are produced organically.
It consists of a double bedroom, living room and kitchen, and it offers an even more comprehensive view of the surrounding valley and the sea in the distance. The property’s other features include an outdoor bar, a barbecue and an all-around security system, adding up to the perfect blend of seclusion, efficiency and comfort.
IJzeren Veldweg 3, North Holland, 1272 PZ, Netherlands
Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam, on the edge of Huizen and in the Gooi Nature Reserve, lies one of the most unique houses in Holland. Built into the side of a hill called Mol’s Hoop, the home seamlessly blends with its woodland surroundings. The name is a play on words that references both the Dutch term for molehill and the hope for a greener future.
Garnering international press, the house is commonly referred to as Dutch Mountain. Due to its unique form and hyper-sustainable functionality, it’s been the subject of a documentary and has been featured in TV shows, as well as news articles. Now, eight years since the owners — a couple who work in architecture and art history — drafted the original plans, they are offering it for sale in order to take on a new project.
This self-sufficient house remains ahead of its time. With their creative and humorous approach to design, the owners used things that few would consider to create a state-of-the-art, but timeless, interior. Much of the home’s efficiency comes from being built into the adjacent hill, which allows it to store energy while using passive solar technology to heat the house through the prominent glass facade. Less obvious eco-friendly features include photovoltaics, LED lighting, wood pellet heating and more.
This, combined with the owners’ collection of acquired or created art and design — often made from recycled materials — complete the home’s organic aesthetic. A prominent feature is the 30-year-old Daimler Double Six automobile. After being driven by the owners for years, it has now been repurposed as a kitchen cupboard. The property also includes other custom-made furniture. With such a focus on its natural surroundings, wildlife is plentiful: foxes, owls, buzzards, woodpeckers, moles and bee colonies all live nearby. On three sides, the spacious garden merges with the woods and heaths of the Gooi Nature Reserve.
Built among the mysterious boulders of Spring Bay National Park, this property seems to melt into its stunning natural surroundings. Toad Hall Estate is graced with international character and charm, and it currently operates as a popular, secluded vacation rental. While conveniently located 10 minutes from the main ferry dock in Spanish Town, the estate imbues its guests with a sense of escape via the long private driveway.
Built in the original West Indian style with covered outdoor spaces, Toad Hall includes three enclosed bed/bathroom pavilions and one smaller studio pavilion. You’ll feel part of nature as the property’s unique indoor/outdoor layout allows for naturally cooling air flow. Rainwater is collected off the roof for greater efficiency, while water captured from the driveway is used for irrigation.
The estate was designed to allow guests their privacy inside personal pavilions, while having the option of congregating outside in the shared spaces, just steps from their bedroom doors. Inside these Caribbean-style houses, the rooms have been tastefully decorated with elegant, contemporary furnishings. Each pavilion features an outdoor shower built between large boulders, and fenced in for privacy. Kitchen and living areas are open-plan.
Taken as a whole, Toad Hall Estate is more than just an investment opportunity for deluxe rental accommodations: It is also a possible business venture for entrepreneurs who want to expand on an existing vacation villa. The villa includes its own on-site restaurant, Mad Dog. While the establishment is owned by Toad Hall Estate, the daily operations, finance and logistics of the business are managed by restaurateurs.
Renowned Residence at Troon Village
10989 E Tusayan Trl., Scottsdale, Arizona, 85255 United States
At an elevation of 2,600 feet, this eco-friendly masterpiece seamlessly integrates with the natural, boulder-strewn landscape of Troon Mountain. The 5,000-square- foot residence is located within the private gated community of Tusayan at Troon Village, and features extensive use of green technology. It is constructed of steel, concrete, stone and glass at different levels on the five-acre cul-de- sac lot. It boasts jaw-dropping views of the valley and mountain ranges, and it also features rooftop gardens and solar panels to increase energy efficiency.
Interwoven between the buildings are walkways, staircases surrounded by foliage, exterior patios, pergolas and cabanas. A canal-like waterway feeds the pool, which features a cantilevered negative-edge water feature, spa and rope swing. In keeping with its luxurious setting, the home’s rooms — including four bedrooms, den, library, separate workshop and game room — are comfortably and elegantly appointed. The large kitchen/dining room features vinegar-stained walnut cabinets, limestone counter tops, modern kitchen appliances and dual islands. Outdoor dining is a breeze, with multiple outdoor lounge areas that include a full outdoor bar with grill.
Among the eco-friendly features: clay walls, maximum ventilation with roof openings and transom windows, interior and exterior spaces designed to channel natural mountain air, solar energy, tankless water heater and decomposed granite driveway.
A true example of collaboration, research and forward-thinking eco-design, this is a one-of-a-kind property in North Scottsdale.
Whether it’s the comfort offered in a classic flavor or a famed modernist masterpieceby Andy Warhol, the Campbell Soup Company and their iconic can are pop-cultural and culinary staples. The Dorrance family represents the heirs to the aforementioned household name brand and, as recently covered by Mansion Globaland The Wall Street Journal, three of the family’s homes have recently come to market in the Northeastern United States.
$12,500,000 USD | Newport, Rhode Island | Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty
The first, known as “The Bird House,” is the former home Dorrance Hill Hamilton and can be found at one of the highest points in Newport, Rhode Island. State-of-the-art in every aspect, from geothermal heating and cooling to exquisitely crafted details and top-of-the-line amenities, the soaring two-story entrance hall and living room with floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace enjoy panoramic ocean views.
Dorrance, or “Dodo” as she was known by her closest friends, passed away this past April at 88. Before her death, she spared no expense to create a beautiful sanctuary using all that modern technology can provide including Tischler custom windows and doors, three-stop elevator, radiant heated floors, whole house generator, and exquisite landscaping.
At nearly 10,000 square-feet of living space on over three-and-one-half-acres, the home bears it’s ornithological moniker from its many bird-inspired design elements throughout.
$16,500,000 USD | Gladwyne, Pennsylvania | Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty
The second home, named “Linden Hill,” can be found in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Designed between 1928 and 1931 by Edmund B. Gilchrist for stockbroker Rodman Ellison Griscom, this French Norman-Style home was owned by the Dorrance family for over 50 years.
Sprawling 67 acres, discover an initial courtyard formed by turreted caretaker’s quarters, a 10-car garage, stables and additional staff houses leads to the crest of a hill. At the end of a narrow-walled lane, the magnificent manor house reveals itself, a majestic example of inspired design of breathtaking scale and symmetry. Pass through the courtyard entry where brick chimney stacks on guest houses cleverly frame the main house, and behold a truly historic mansion, beautifully maintained with complete respect for its origins, yet offering every modern amenity.
Its grand-scale formal rooms offer elegant and easy, expansive or intimate entertaining spaces. Private quarters are equally inviting with family living quarters that accommodate guests for short-term or extended stays. Beyond the main house are two pools, a pool house, tennis court and a beautiful aviary, all set within absolutely stunning gardens and grounds.
$6,295,000 USD | Bar Harbor, Maine | The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty
Lastly, we find ourselves in Bar Harbor, Maine at “La Rochelle” – a captivating waterfront retreat and one of the village’s most treasured addresses. As covered in Mansion Global, the home is truly an iconic piece of Bar Harbor’s legacy.
In the early 1940s, the home belonged to Tristram and Ethel Colket; before marrying Tristram, Ethel bore the surname Dorrance as she was daughter of John Thompson Dorrance, co-founder of the Campbell Soup Company. Built in 1902, this Georgian Revival masterpiece was the village’s first brick summer cottage.
Looking out over Frenchman Bay, this sprawling home is an architectural and historic masterpiece; among its features are forty-one rooms in the 13,000 plus square-feet of living space, manicured gardens and lawn, and nearly three oceanfront acres.
Telluride Ski Resort just unveiled its “Winter Anthem” for the 2017-2018 ski season. Click above to play a beautiful and inspiring video of the many great things Telluride has to offer in the winter season…come join us this winter for another season that promises magic and wonder! For more information and to visit Telluride Ski Resort click here
From a one-of-a-kind Mediterranean-inspired estate in St. Barthelemy to an enthralling Chalet in Italy’s Dolomites, this month’s collection of exceptional properties for sale feature homes from some of the world’s finest locales.
Price Upon Request | Pointe Milou, St. Barthelemy | St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
Located on the craggy hillside of Pointe Milou, this one-of-a-kind home faces east and boasts sensational views and wonderful breezes. All white, with Greek, Croatian, Moroccan and Mediterranean inspirations, this villa is often featured in magazines and is suited for the discriminating buyer who requires luxury and privacy. This four-bedroom villa with pool and Jacuzzi extends over 5,400 square-meters and overlooks a bay, accessible by private path.
$44,975,000 USD | Rancho Santa Fe, California | Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty
Designed by world-renowned architect Guy Dreier and located in the exclusive covenant of Rancho Santa Fe, two-story walls of glass highlight the magnificent water features surrounding the home and showcase spectacular sculptures. A thoughtful design that perfectly melds technology, art, and natures create an unforgettable ambience; indoor and outdoor living spaces, tennis courts, zero-edge pool, staff quarters, master suite with fireplace, and meticulous landscaping are only part of what defines this masterpiece.
UF403.500 | Chilean Patagonia | Chile Sotheby’s International Realty
Hacienda Three Lagos is one of the most exclusive properties in Chilean Patagonia; with more than 2,000 square-meters of living space on over 1,000 hectares of Patagonian land, the home features direct access to three different lakes. One of the property’s signature features is a two-bedroom floating cabin on one of its lakes, said to be the only floating cabin of its kind in South America.
14.700.000 € EUR | Salzburg, Austria | Austria Sotheby’s International Realty
Known as the “Fondachhof,” this home finds itself if one of the finest locales within Salzburg. Located at the foot of the Gaisberg and embedded in a private park, this palatial residence can reach the center of Salzburg in minutes by foot. Grand landscaping, fountains, and an enclosed gazebo dot the grounds of this remarkable property.
This extraordinary chalet offers the beauty and comfort found in five-star resorts. Located in the area closest to the famous “promenade” in Cortina, it offers a breathtaking view of the Dolomites and Cortina. The 870-square-meter chalet is arranged over four floors served by a private elevator and a service staircase. The atmosphere is designed to welcome guests and make its host comfortable; the modern interior design elegantly combines a combination of high-grade materials and finishes. A soundproofed private cinema, home theater sound system, and ultra-ergonomic chairs brings the Hollywood experience to the privacy of your own dwelling.
From the Summer 2017 edition of Art & Home, Iyna Bort Caruso takes us through the looking glass and into a world of homes that feature captivating glass structures.
For the last 16 years, Thomas Roszak has lived with his family in a glass home of his own design, and he’s already thinking of his next one. “I don’t see any other way to live.”
Price Upon Request | Auckland, New Zealand | New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty
Roszak, a Chicago, Illinois-based architect, built his see-through home in the suburbs on an acre of land screened by 60 to 80-foot maples, oaks and honeylocusts to block the sun–and block prying eyes. It was his dream house, combining his ideas about how space flows from one room to the next and the changing play of light. At times the home is transparent, other times it is reflective, mirroring the environment and creating a habitat where the outside and inside become one.
Glass walls frame scenery like a mural. The more dramatic the backdrop, the greater the role glass plays as a design element. Mike Shapiro, chairman of HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty in Newport Beach, California, says, “Homeowners here spend millions for the view, so the more glass the happier they are.”
$19,995,000 USD | Bridgehampton, New York | Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage
Glass brings homeowners into nature with an aesthetic that fits in perfectly with the simplicity of modern design. Light, airiness and a sense of abundance are at the very essence of contemporary architecture.
Glass buildings are modern, but they’re not new. Today’s generation pay homage to icons like the Glass House by Philip Johnson built in 1949 in Canaan, Connecticut, and the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, completed in 1951 by Mies van der Rohe. Both are now operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and look as fresh and relevant as the day they were built.
$24,000,000 USD | Carpinteria, California | Sotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – Upper Village Road Brokerage
The difference is that today’s glass structures are no longer plagued by the problems of earlier models such as condensation, leakage and energy waste. They don’t suffer heat loss in winter or heat gain in summer. Glass homes are now high performance structures. Thanks to advancements, glass is also being incorporated into residences in inventive new ways. Shapiro has seen a surge in glass used in interior bridges, flooring surfaces and negative edge pool walls. “The technology is extraordinary,” he says.
Glass homes as architectural curiosities are a thing of the past. “When we first moved in nobody on our street liked the house,” recalls Roszak. “Now 15 years later, everybody loves it. They talk about how they live on the road that has the glass house, so now they kind of made it their own.” Roszak says it’s about education. “People don’t understand modern houses until they see them on the timeline of architectural history. As technology advances, aesthetics advance. Art and architecture should always look forward.”
From a historic nineteenth century castle in Cannes, France, to a modern villa on Frond M of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, this month’s collection of exceptional properties for sale features some of the world’s finest locales.
Price Upon Request | Cannes, France | Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty
Ideally located on the prestigious Avenue du Roi Albert, east of ‘la Californie’ in Cannes, this unique nineteenth century castle was completely renovated and expanded, and faces the Lérins Islands, offering a magnificent view of the sea. Witness of a golden era, the house, by architect Rimbaud was completed in 1872, when Aristide Boucicaut, founder of “Bon Marche,” built two additional wings and various annexes such as a chapel and the winter garden.
$27,900,000 USD | Southampton, New York | Sotheby’s International Realty – Southampton Brokerage
Nestled on more than six-acres with over 400 feet of frontage on Taylor Creek, this waterfront home offers access to Shinnecock Bay and the Atlantic Ocean from its private dock. Discreetly located on a highly prized and quiet lane, 11 bedrooms and ten baths are offered in the main house and attached cottages. Among the property’s features are a pool house and 50-foot heated pool, room for tennis, paddle board, kayak, sail or motor.
$25,000,000 USD | Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas | Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
Deep Water Cay, a world-renowned bone fishing resort is located on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas – just 130 miles from the east coast of Florida. The property sits on a unique 91-acre island with its own private, paved 4,200-foot airstrip, three beaches (totaling more than two miles), and is surrounded by beautiful ocean, islands and mangroves, with some of the best fishing and diving in the world.
$27,500,000 USD | Hamilton, Montana | Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty
In the Southwest corner of Montana, in the heart of the Bitterroot Valley, rests the exclusive Stock Farm Club. Within this private community, nestled on a stunning 17-acre plot, you will find the ultimate western farmhouse – the breathtaking 25,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom home features a four-stall horse barn, pond and artisan creek, grotto-style pool, and underground shooting range.
This modern villa on Frond M of The Palm Jumeirah encompasses over 13,000 square-feet of living space, offering one of the largest available villas on the Palm. Significantly higher than the standard Nakheel offerings, this home is very prestigious; the location has its own private access gate, so in essence, the villa enjoys two points of security to keep your home safe, secure, and private.
Pristine alpine skiing meets luxury in Telluride, a picturesque former mining town. Grab a Local’s Lager at the Telluride Brewing Company, or learn more about the town’s history at the Telluride Historical Museum, located in a converted hospital built in 1896. Return in summer for the world-renowned Bluegrass Festival, where you can listen to live performances against the backdrop of the San Juan mountains.
A concept by firm LTL Architects for the Telluride Transfer Warehouse. (Courtesy photo)
Posted: Friday, June 2, 2017 1:44 pm
PLANET STAFF REPORT
New York City firm LTL Architects won the hearts of community members and the Telluride Arts selection committee for its conceptual Telluride Transfer Warehouse design.
The designs of three architects were presented during a public open house Tuesday, according to a Telluride Arts news release. The LTL firm emerged the winner in a months-long design competition for the historic space.
All three finalists (Gluckman Tang, NADAAA and LTL) were in Telluride this week for the final stretch of the competition, which began in January. Each firm shared preliminary conceptual designs during the open house.
The priorities set forth for the competition by Telluride Arts included creating a flexible space within the warehouse for exhibitions and events, while allowing the historic stone to be exposed, and generating a flow between the inside and outside. The three designs were very diverse, but shared a similar approach in building a box within the walls to maximize the exposure of the historic stone on the inside, the news release explained.
Hundreds from the public, including Telluride Town Council members, attended the open house to view the drawings, models and computer animations. Those who attended were allowed to ask the architects questions before submitting their personal comments for consideration during the final decision process. The selection committee heard formal presentations by each firm, weighed the submitted public opinions and selected the winning team Tuesday evening.
“This is the most important building in Telluride of the modern era and the biggest asset to this community,” Telluride Realtor Rosie Cusack said in a previous interview with the Daily Planet.
“It’s the single, largest facility to provide space to gather and present artistic and community events. There is nothing else: The school is built, the library’s been built. This is it.”
It was clear both the public and committee members favored the LTL (Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis) design, according to the news release.
“Most of these firms have worked on much larger projects,” Telluride Arts Director Kate Jones said in a previous Planet interview. “But this one is so special, and in such a spectacular setting, that it attracted a lot of interest. It was something we were hoping for, but not counting on.”
In reference to the tree that has been growing inside the roofless ruin for almost 40 years, LTL’s concept included an open atrium at the east entry of the warehouse, exposing the large tree through a retractable roof section that opens to the mountain views and air. Such sensitivity to the recent history of the building, combined with a warm, welcoming, intuitive design that uses a sustainably harvested wood material, won the favor of the community.
The LTL design is both contemporary and warm, with a wooden arc-type structure inserted into the interior of the stone walls that provides appealing spaces throughout the building, including a roof top deck, an underground event space, galleries and an entry courtyard that opens into the building at the first-floor level.
Steven Gluckstern, a local proponent of the project and selection committee member, aptly described the structure as a “cultural arc for our community,” the news release said.
The LTL team — represented by the firm’s principal architects, twin brothers David and Paul Lewis, and partner Marc Tsumuraki — also included Nancy Hudson, a structural engineer with Silman, who spoke in depth about the coordination of the historic restoration of the existing structure with the construction of the new interior.
Silman is a structural engineering firm that specializes in historic stabilization, that kept Frank Lloyd Wrights “Falling Water from falling into the water,” according to the news release. LTL’s projects include the Center for Contemporary Art in Austin, Texas, which shares some similarities with the Transfer Warehouse.
Over the next few months, the LTL team will be visiting Telluride to hone their designs through charrettes with the community. Restoration of the historic walls is planned to begin this summer, with construction slated for 2018-19. The designs will be on display at the Telluride Arts main office at 135 W. Pacific St. throughout next week.
Before its roof collapsed in 1979, due to too much snow, the building was a downtown garage and filling station. Farther back in time, in 1906, before the advent of the automobile, this cavernous, two-story space housed another form of horsepower. It was the barn for the local livery.
It was “the center of the Warehouse District that served the mining industry,” according to the story of the building’s history on Telluride Arts’ website. “It was a bustling hub where people and goods flowed from the trains, through the building, and out into the towns and the mines.”
$49,000,000 USD | Florida, USA | Sotheby’s International Realty – Palm Beach Brokerage
This newly-built British Colonial oceanfront estate is situated on over three-and-one-half acres with 142 feet of ocean frontage. The elegant residence, designed by Smith and Moore Architects, o ers 28,500 square-feet of luxurious living space and spectacular ocean views. Combined, the main house, guest house and cabana have eight bedrooms, 12 full-baths and three half-baths. Other features include a wine cellar, movie theater, gym, sauna, steam room, elevator, full house generator, walk-in refrigerator and freezer, four replaces, six-car garage and much more.
Price Undisclosed | Wyoming, USA | Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty
In a setting that boasts Jackson Hole’s most exquisite features, this incomparable 265-acre property encompasses both Fish Creek and Snake River frontages. Scenic ponds dot the property and red-tailed hawks are often seen on its custom wood perches, or soaring in the skies above. Moose nibble the willow buds along the creek while elk laze in the wide-open meadows. The property features eight parcels with develop- ment potential, and a riparian parcel. The main residence enjoys beautiful Fish Creek frontage and features a separate studio beneath a porte-cochere. Additional improvements include a guest house, a multi-use barn and a large equipment barn. The balance of the property features large swaths of pristine raw land.
$30,000,000 USD | California, USA | Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty
Nestled in the heart of Sonoma County’s renowned wine country approximately 70 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Lytton Springs is an exceptional over 560-acre parcel with premier locality and historic signi cance. Last sold in 1904, this expansive property features a private 27-acre lake, 90,000 square-feet of existing buildings, and three natural springs which include Soda Spring, Mineral Spring, and Sweet Water Spring.
AUD $5,600,000 | Australia | Melbourne Sotheby’s International Realty
Brivana – Designed and constructed to the highest standards by Gabor Hubay Esq, all rooms of this truly exceptional three-bedroom penthouse open seamlessly to a beautiful terrace with panoramic city views. The residence comprises a grand entrance hall that leads to formal sitting room and dining room, fitted study, magnificent kitchen, and family room. The penthouse also features a luxurious master suite with dressing room and bathroom, two additional bedrooms and bathrooms, powder room, laundry, triple parking plus store room with secure lift access. Situated only moments from the heart of Toorak Village.
€3,625,000 | France | Bordeaux Sotheby’s International Realty
Situated next to Bordeaux’s beautiful Public Garden, one of the most sought after areas in the city today, this hidden gem sits behind a classical 18th century façade. This rare 600-square-meter, one-family luxury townhouse, light filled and spacious, comprises 12 rooms, including seven bedrooms or full suites, three bathrooms, a den, a gourmet dine-in kitchen, a playroom, and workshop. It also features a heated swimming pool, a pool house, a caretaker’s house, a sizable garage, a suspended garden, and several terraces. The renovation was done tastefully in a dramatically contemporary style.
2016 Telluride Balloon Festival. Photo by Ryan Bonneau
Flying in the mountains is different than hot air ballooning across flat land. Even though the air is invisible, if you could see it, it would look a lot like water. And similarly to the way water interacts with varying terrain, swirling or “eddying,” currents rising and falling, so too does the wind when it travels across the rugged mountain landscape. So experienced pilots fly only in the very early hours after dawn, when the winds are still light and the passengers in the basket below the hot air balloon can enjoy a safe voyage. “Early in the morning, the winds are gentle and predictable,” says Gary Woods, the owner of San Juan Balloon Adventures and a longtime balloon pilot. “It’s a gentle adventure. We’re not riding the rapids.”
For most passengers, it’s an experience of a lifetime. It is sort of the opposite of the adrenaline rush of skydiving or bungee jumping—instead of falling out of the sky, you are floating aloft. There’s no steering wheel, so the only controls the pilot has is a valve and hot air to let the balloon go up or down, and the wind carries the balloon in whatever direction it’s going. Skilled pilots can read the winds and make small adjustments to the altitude to shift direction, but basically, the balloon is beholden to the sky.
A few passengers have a different kind of experience. Decades ago, Gary Woods was the sponsor of a balloon at a rally, and he was invited to take a flight with the pilot. He says it took about 30 seconds of that inaugural 10-minute flight for it to kick in, that obsession with the sport that inhabits certain people. “I was so captivated, I bought a balloon and started taking lessons immediately.”
Woods was indoctrinated into a tribe of enthusiasts, people who travel all across the country to balloon rallies, with crews of people to help them with the task of setting up and inflating the balloon and deflating and de-rigging it after the flights. They haul the baskets and the balloons, which can made up of 3,000 yards of fabric and weigh close to 1,000 pounds. But for the intrepid people who are fascinated by the sport of ballooning, the wanderlust comes naturally. Woods was the founder and producer of the Ridgway Balloon Festival, and was the “balloonmeister” of the Telluride Balloon Festival in 89-90, but he has participated in balloon rallies all over the San Juan Skyway and beyond: the invitation-only event in Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Phoenix, Gallup Red Rock Rally, and the world’s biggest ballooning event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He still travels to a lot of events in the fall and winter, but since he operates the commercial business out of Ridgway, he spends his summer sharing that special feeling he gets from flying with his passengers. “Everyone should at least see one of these festivals. They’re really special, so scenic, so photogenic. The pictures just don’t do it justice.”
WSJ Top US Real Estate Brokers
#115 Nationally - 2013
#11 Nationally - 2010
#38 in Colorado - 2016
#19 in Colorado - 2015
#19 in Colorado - 2014
#3 in Colorado - 2013
#13 in Colorado - 2012
#2 in Colorado - 2010
Top 38 Sotheby's Brokers, US - 2013
WSJ Top US Real Estate Brokers
#115 Nationally - 2013
#11 Nationally - 2010
#38 in Colorado - 2016
#19 in Colorado - 2015
#19 in Colorado - 2014
#3 in Colorado - 2013
#13 in Colorado - 2012
#2 in Colorado - 2010
Top 38 Sotheby's Brokers, US - 2013