The Everist Companies carved its name into Summit County in the 1960s when it provided construction materials for the Eisenhower Tunnel. This year, the family business unveils its first residential development. But unlike the two-mile burrow beneath the Continental Divide, Silverthorne’s Summit Sky Ranch aims to move as little earth as possible: The 240-home community places a premium on outdoor activities, with a private network of trails and a lake complete with stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. Construction on the first 47 homes (which start in the low $600,000s) began this year, so we sat down with Tom Everist, owner of the Everist Companies, to talk about his clan’s latest addition to the area—and his mission to bolster Silverthorne’s reputation.

5280 Home: The Everist Companies bought this property in 1995. Why did you wait so long to develop it?

Tom Everist: We thought the early 2000s was the time. Real estate was hot. We had a design that included fewer lots than we currently have. It was designed for the mega-homes that were popular back then. Then the Great Recession hit in 2008. We put a stop on everything and waited for better times. We see better times coming, so we reinvigorated the plan. Besides adding more units, the units themselves are smaller, with more human-size rooms. We call them mountain modern. It’s a cleaner look, but with exposed beams and lots of glass to take in the views.

Tom Everist, courtesy Summit Sky Ranch

By March, you had already sold 41 of the 47 houses available in phase one. Why did they move so fast?

I think it’s because of my good looks and personality. No—we think we hit the sweet spot in the market. Millennials are really into sustainability, functionality, and a modern look. Baby boomers are downsizing so they don’t have to do as much maintenance.

So who’s buying the homes?

Some of the buyers are people who already live in Summit County. Plus, we’re an hour from downtown Denver, depending on traffic. Maybe this will be their primary residence, and they will either commute to Denver or they’ll have an apartment in Denver for two or three nights a week. They want to take advantage of living in the mountains, which is why everyone comes to Colorado in the first place.

Did you experience any pushback from locals?

We had some pushback on the re-entitlements for our [increased] density. But we think we addressed all of those concerns—traffic concerns, wildlife-impact concerns, visual-impact concerns—a year and a half ago to the point that when we had our final approval, there were no objections. People realized that this is a tremendous addition to Silverthorne. It really builds into what Silverthorne is trying to do: strengthen its sense of community and rebrand itself as a center for recreation, arts, and culture.

Property rendering, courtesy Summit Sky Ranch

Summit Sky Ranch, By The Numbers

5: The length of trails (in miles) inside the development, all of which meet at the 7,000-square-foot Aspen House, a community space featuring a pool and hot tub, a yoga studio and fitness center, and a catering and event space.

1.72: Acres per residence in the development, the lowest density of any residential development in Silverthorne.

60%: The portion of Summit Sky Ranch’s 416 acres that will remain open space.