The Newbie Checklist – Our guide to moving to Summit County

You’ve decided it’s time for a change and the mountains are calling. Great! Welcome to Colorful Colorado and our amazing community of Summit County.

Before you hit the slopes or the park, there are a few things to know before going from newbie to full-fledged local. Here’s our guide on getting settled in, networking and finding the right trails to explore in Summit County.

Before you move:

Have a realistic expense report and budget. The cost of living is higher in mountain towns. Make sure you’ve saved up and have a cushion in case there are some extra unexpected expenses. You don’t want to get blindsided. It’s recommended to save for at least six months of expenses just in case.

Be prepared with a chunk of change upfront. The first month rent payment plus the last month rent payment plus a deposit is usually required to move in to a new place up here. Moving into a competitive housing market means higher upfront cost so be prepared to put down more upfront then usual. For example If your rent is $800 a month you’ll need $2,400 just to move in.

Your first “crash pad” in the county doesn’t need to be your last. Do your research and check out the towns, neighborhoods and options. Figure out what’s important to you. Would you rather be stumbling distance to the bars and restaurants and sacrifice your living space and a garage? If so, check out Breckenridge or Frisco. Do you prefer a backyard and a coveted garage? Look at Summit Cove or Willowbrook. Want a hassle-free condo or townhouse that’s affordable? Boreas Pass or Wildernest might be the right option. Or, are you seeking a family-friendly ‘hood where everyone knows your name? Wellington Neighborhood, Summit Cove or Peak One might be right up your alley.

Make sure to research the average price of homes, condos, apartments and townhouses. Got kids? You’ll definitely want to scope out the schools first. Looking to save a bunch? Check out the roommate options.

And, if you have a dog or cat, good luck. It can be a little more tricky. It’s not impossible to find a dog-friendly rental, but be prepared to pay a little more either for your security deposit or per month or both. There are a LOT of HOA’s that restrict or forbid pets in rental units so be sure to do your research. Once you and your four-legged friend are moved in, you’ll love it here and all of the trails, the Breck dog park and swims in the lakes and ponds.

If you’re ready for your own home sweet home, there are plenty – and we mean plenty – of agents who can help you buy a home. Do your research. Ask around. Shop around. We recommend Rick Eisenberg with CornerStone Real Estate. He knows the local market, hosts a networking meetup at ELEVATE every other week and is an all-around good guy. Check him out: (

Ideally you’ll want to have a job lined up before you move or make arrangements with your employer to work remotely. Or, maybe you’re looking to start a business or relocate your own business. Good for you.

If you’re job hunting, start early. Network and get some prospects before you even move. Check out these resources to help lock down a job:

The Colorado Workforce –
Temp Agency –
Vail Resorts –
Copper Mountain
And an independently owned job board

Networking at ELEVATE coworking spaces in either Frisco or Breck can lead to some not-yet-announced opportunities and job openings. So, check out our events and meetups: (

Decide if you need your car. Having a vehicle isn’t necessary but can be convenient getting around. Luckily Summit County has a free public bus system that makes getting around easy and free ( Download the app to have quick access on your smartphone.

If you do have a car be sure to register your car for Colorado within 90 days. Breckenridge Motor vehicle can take care of that for you ( Getting a drivers license is done at the Frisco Community Commons (

After you move here:

Now that you’ve moved in, got a job or relocated your business, it’s time for the fun. It’s time to get outside and explore all the things that makes Summit County great. First a fair warning, altitude sickness is real. Living at 9,000 feet above sea level will take a few days to acclimate. Be sure to hydrate accordingly and take it easy at first. And avoid drinking your favorite adult beverages for a few days until you’re in High Country shape. 

Winter Activities

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, make sure to buy your season pass before the prices go up in November. The Summit Local, Epic and Epic Local passes are some of the most popular passes sold by Vail Resorts. The top level, top-notch, most expensive Epic pass is around $800 preseason and gets you unlimited riding days at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, and Beaver Creek as well as access to all the other Vail Resorts owned mountains. Not a bad deal considering prime rates on weekends are $120+ a day at most of these resorts. Check out all the details here:

Looking for a more affordable option? Try the Vail Resorts’ Summit Local pass, the Arapahoe Basin-only pass or try Copper Mountain’s pass. Copper isn’t part of the Vail Resorts family, so their pricing tends to be a little bit lower and the crowds tend to be a lot thinner on weekends. Check ito out:

If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, try nordic skiing, skinning or snowshoeing for a slower paced adventure. There are nordic centers in Frisco, Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper. If you have your own gear, just strap on the skis or snowshoes and go explore!

We just touched a few of the many sports you can do out here. Check out this list of winter activities by GoBreck for more activities:

Summer activities

Many people come to Summit County for the winter activities and world class ski resorts but many locals will say that summertime is the best time to be in the High Rockies. Whether you’re into biking, fishing, rafting, hiking, or camping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the warmer season here.

Hiking is the gateway to exploring new trails and sights without forking over hundreds if not thousands of dollars in new gear and equipment. You can experience steep mountaineering on Colorado’s famous 14er’s (or 13’ers) or find a family friendly hike with beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

Here are a few of our favorite hikes for beginner hikers:

  • Sapphire Point Overlook on Swan Mountain Road – A quick hike less than a mile with breathtaking views of the 10 mile range and Lake Dillon. This is a hike without any steep terrain and lots of parking. If you have friends and family who are not acclimated this is a good place to start. Check out more info here:
  • Old Lake Dillon – In the early mining times around 1800 the original town of Dillon was located under where Lake Dillon is today. Old Lake Dillon is high above and very easily overlooked if you have driven around Lake Dillon. On the Dam road, there’s a small trailhead with parking. The hike is only 1.7 miles and you will come across a small pond which hold Golden Trout. Fun fact, Old Lake Dillon is the only place outside of California to hold Golden Trout. Check out this hidden gem that many tourist and locals overlook:
  • Mt. Royal in Frisco – A steep hike but you can make it to the peak in an hour. At the top you are rewarded with a refreshing view of Lake Dillon and all of Summit County. The trailhead is right off of Main Street in Frisco so reward yourself with a refreshing beverage at one of the numerous bars and restaurants right in town after the descent. If you want to push yourself keep going up the trail to Mt. Victoria and Peak 1. A little more demanding and only recommended if you’re in good shape but this towering hike is very rewarding once you accomplish it. More info on Mt. Royal –

Finding a group of friends can be difficult when moving to a new city. We recommend coming to one of our ELEVATE coworking meetups to network with cool, smart, driven, fun locals and visitors. Sign up for our meetup group here:

Our last bit of advice is to respect nature and the community and you will receive respect back. Respect your fellow gaper because they help fuel our county when they’re traveling through even if they’re going 10 MPH below the speed limit. We are all here to experience the wonderful place called Summit County and we want to cherish it for future generations to come.

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