Welcome to Selling The Mountains — a podcast about the booming mountain town real estate economy and unique personalities fueling it. Your host is Christian Knapp, a lifelong mountain town enthusiast and resort marketing leader based in Aspen, Colorado who has worked for the top destinations in North America. Each episode is an insider’s perspective on market trends, lifestyle, success stories, and the business of buying and selling property in the mountains.
Ep. 22: Inside The Affordable Housing Crisis
Ep. 22 takes a deep-dive on the affordable housing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic-fueled mountain town housing boom. The issue is currently playing out in towns across the west and is on the minds of workers, longtime locals, elected officials, and regional housing authorities. The lack of affordable housing is more acute than ever and has transitioned into a labor crisis. Guests Jason Blevins and Skippy Mesirow offer their deep understanding of the topic coupled with first-hand knowledge. We honed in on the problem and offered potential solutions to this volatile issue that is truly an existential threat to the character that makes our mountain communities so special.
Jason Blevins is an award-winning writer at The Colorado Sun, a digital media outlet focused on local journalism directed by readers and owned by journalists. Jason has been covering Colorado business – sports, tourism, mountain culture, and the resort industry – for decades and recently penned several in-depth stories on the affordable mountain town housing crisis currently impacting Colorado.
Skippy Mesirow is serving his first term as Aspen’s youngest City Councilperson and has served as a political intern, staffer, campaign manager, activist, and organizer at the national, state, and now hyper-local levels. To subsidize his public service habit, he is the general manager of SkyRun Aspen, a vacation rental and property management business. Skippy is an outspoken advocate for affordable housing in Aspen and chairman of the board for the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority.
Ep. 21: Tim Belinski — Timing is Everything
Tim Belinski is president of IND Ventures, one of the most successful developers in the Roaring Fork Valley. Prior to moving into residential and commercial real estate, Tim was CFO at Sport Obermeyer, a storied Aspen company started by Klaus Obermeyer. Tim’s financial acumen, communication, vision, and community relations led to the resurrection, and eventual build-out, of Willits Town Center in Basalt. Now he has his sights set on old town with multiple projects in the works including Basalt River Park and a new mixed-use building and neighborhood grocery story with a residential component to create vibrancy in the downtown core.
In our conversation we talked about the importance of timing with every real estate project, especially as it relates to community acceptance. We also discussed the need for workforce housing in mixed-use developments representing a component of the project that not only has demand, but makes for great year-round neighbors. Lastly, we dove into the maturation of the mid-valley around Basalt driven by residential housing first and now being followed by commercial and business — ultimately creating vitality and less need for commuting.
Ep. 20: Leah & Walker Moriarty — Becoming Part of People’s Lives
Leah Moriarty brings over 35 years of experience representing buyers and sellers in the Roaring Fork Valley. She loves sharing her community with clients and has been voted the #1 broker and served as president of the Aspen Board of Realtors. Walker Moriarty was born and raised in Aspen and moved to New York City after college and worked at a privately backed software company. With an innate desire to get back to the mountains, Walker recently made the move home and partnered with his mom to create Team Moriarty.
In our conversation we discussed the trust and ground rules necessary to forge a successful broker partnership, perhaps even more so when it’s family. We also talked about revamping and modernizing the Team Moriarty brand utilizing lessons from Walker’s digital marketing and sales experience working in New York City. Lastly, we covered the importance of giving back, showing up, volunteering, and supporting the local community — but most importantly, the notion of a successful realtor ultimately becoming part of their clients lives.
Ep. 19: Tom Sherlock — Steering Everybody's Efforts
Tom Sherlock has been building and remodeling homes in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 20 years and is the founder and principal of SH Building Group. As a boutique firm, SH Built limits the number of projects they take on each year, allowing them to stay focused on their clients’ needs to ensure every project is held to a rigorous standard. Tom is involved in daily operations and oversees the successful completion of every project. Together with his team, SH Built has remodeled over 400,000 square feet of commercial and residential spaces in Aspen, Snowmass Village, and the Roaring Fork Valley.
In our conversation we discussed the challenges of the pandemic-fueled construction boom and what it takes to transition from a start-up to a successful firm that can compete with established builders. We also talked about how planning ahead for a major project, before permits are issued, can make a huge difference when it comes to organization, preparation, timelines, and creativity of the finished product.
Ep. 18: Doug Leibinger — It’s the Whole Package
With over 25 years of real estate experience, Doug Leibinger has proudly helped some of the most accomplished people from around the world find their place in the Roaring Fork Valley. Doug is known for his business acumen, affinity for technology, and professionalism. He is a founding broker of Compass Aspen and the Wall Street Journal recognized him as one of the Top 125 Brokers in the U.S. His focus and dedication has placed him in the top 1% of brokers in Aspen and all of Colorado for many years and he recently surpassed $1 billion in career sales volume. An avid skier, fly-fisherman, and cyclist, Doug has combined his passion for people and the mountain lifestyle and melded them together to be a true expert in the field of luxury real estate.
In our conversation we discussed the current housing cycle and whether or not it’s the right time to consider buying or selling a mountain home. We also touched on the unique financing and taxation challenges of working with an international client. Lastly, we talked about Doug’s passion for sharing the mountain lifestyle with his clients and what sets the Aspen Valley apart from other mountain communities.
Ep. 17: Ali Phillips — Chief Problem Solver
Ali Phillips is an executive vice president and partner at Obermeyer Wood Investment Council, an independent registered investment advisor and financial planning firm based in Aspen and Denver, Colorado. Ali manages client relationships, working closely with individuals and multigenerational families, as well as advises on asset allocation and investment strategy. Prior to joining Obermeyer Wood in 2005, Ali was a vice president at Goldman Sachs and worked at Salomon Brothers in the US and London.
In our conversation we discussed the concept of human capital and how our best savings and investment is taking our profession and leveraging it. We also talked about the challenge of finding a fulfilling non-traditional career in the mountains, but that it may take flexibility, patience, and focus to find the right fit. Lastly, we dove into investment strategy and the importance of a slow and steady approach versus taking a big gamble with your hard earned wealth.
Christian is such a great listener and a natural on-air. Looking forward to learning more about all the players in the real estate mix and hoping he expands beyond Aspen into other mountain towns.
Great podcast for anyone interested in resort Real Estste
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Christian interview these top agents in the Aspen area.
He was well prepared and his interviewing style brought out the best in his guests.
Can’t wait for the next episode.