In The News

Upscale Living
Fall 2007

Marabou Ranch – High Style in High Country
By Paul E. Kandarian

Making green is one thing. Doing it by building green is another. And the developers of Marabou, located three miles from Steamboat Springs, a high-end, high-style luxury home project in the high country of northwestern Colorado, are going about it the right way as they invest millions in creating a sustainable residential development on a working ranch.

“Mankind historically has been harsh on the environment,” says Jeff Temple, whose father, James Temple, founded Steamboat Ski Resort and who along with Elk River Partners is developing the 1,700-plus acre Marabou site into an environmentally friendly residential development of 62 homesteads. “Perhaps our most meaningful legacy at Marabou will be to create a new sustainability model for other developments to consider.”

Consider this: The master plan calls for each homestead to be built (design if the homes is up to those who buy the lots) on 6.2 acres, meaning, the entire development will take up less than 400 acres of Marabou’s overall 1,717 acres. Lots run from $2.8 million to around $6 million, some sporting views of the majestic Sleeping Giant Mountain, others hard by the meandering Elk River, a waterway famed for its fly fishing and bountiful rainbow trout.

Clustering is the key to lessening environmental impact and building on spacious house lots all in one area leaves roughly three-quarters of the entire property open as permanent space and active ranch and farmland, preserving its pristine river corridor, meadows and wildlife areas.

The 11 Marabou amenity buildings — including a majestic grand lodge and state-of-the-art spa boasting high-end Technogym Kinesis workout equipment favored by Olympic athletes — are Built Green Certified, including an equestrian center made of local salvage wood. A gigantic barn on the property (site of down-home and very-lively square dances and barbecues) is made of recycled Wyoming snow fence.

Each of the 62 planned homesteads (more than half are already sold) must meet stringent guidelines that integrate each with the land; a $10,000 incentive is given to owners who choose to incorporate green-building techniques.

No homes are to be built on ridgelines, protecting views of the ranch and surrounding mountain ranges. Home sites are on the edges of meadows, outside of agricultural areas and wildlife corridors.

The land not build on remains to be farmed and ranched as it has been for more than a century. But now, Marabou residents will have partial ownership and be able to hone their skills and learn new ones, all under the watchful eyes of master guides in a most unique component of the Marabou experience.

And that includes going on cattle drive. Yup, it’s “City Slickers” come to life as we joined ranch manager Chad Bedell, a former world champion steer wrestler with classic cowboy stoicism and rugged good looks, in herding a few dozen heads of cattle up, down and through picture-perfect meadows and hills.

On the day our group did the drive, it was under hot blue skies and out of more than 30 head of cattle, we only “lost” about a half dozen. Bedell would send real cowhands out to try rounding them up later, adding that chances are they’d wander back home again on their own.

Feeling like tuning up your downhill or cross country skiing? Take a few lessons — as part of your Marabou ownership — with Nelson Carmichael, Olympic bronze medalist and six–time U.S. National Mogul Champion. Nordic more your thing? Strap them on and slip away through champagne powder with Todd Lodwick, world champion Nordic athlete. Feel like mountain biking? Take a rugged ride with Abi Slingsby, Colorado state champ who also happens to be a world-class snowboard instructor.

A river runs through it so why not fish it? Fly fishing master guide Pat Stefanek, who has guided top fisherman and hunters from Alaska to the American West for 15 years, will show you how to snag shimmering rainbow trout from the Elk River that courses through Marabou.

The outfitter’s cabin at Marabou is where you come to set all that up, a sort of rustic concierge service that is your starting point for fly fishing, skiing, biking, horseback riding or whatever hands-on activity you prefer. Lounging is acceptable as well; a swimming pool is available near the spa, where messages are offered as well, and for a mindblowing and ear-thumping experience, you have to take in the “Casting Room Theater,” a 22-seat home-entertainment set up with plush leather chairs from which to enjoy thousands of movies and a high-def, 14-foot wide, 8-foot tall curved screen. Marabou invested more than $1 million in the theater alone, Temple says.

“This was one of our most favorite personal theaters to create,” says Ray Martinez, vice president of Paragon Technology Group that built the system. “They skimped on nothing.”

Investing at Marabou is what Glenda Hachenberger had in mind when she bought a lot here. She is semi-retired from the real estate franchising business in Florida and New York, and has lived in Steamboat Springs for the past three years. She doesn’t plan to live at Marabou, at least not right away; for now, she’s erected a teepee on her property at the ranch, owing to her acute and respectful interest in the Ute culture that is so much part of the area.

“This gives me the opportunity to put this in trust for my grandchildren,” says Hachenberger, bedecked in Western clothing in between turns on the square-dancing floor in the grand Marabou barn. “It will always be here for them and it’s a great investment.”

Outside, as the sun sets warm on the mountains and horseshoes are played between bites of world-class barbecue, we notice down the slope the ‘lost’ cattle from our drive ambling on home. When home is a place like Marabou, it’s easy to see why they don’t stay lost long.

“In nature, when a species disappears an imbalance follows that threatens the surrounding habitat in unexpected ways,” says Temple, a fourth generation Steamboat native. “The same is true when open spaces disappear. Wildlife is displaced, water quality and supply are impacted and a revered way of life ceases to exist.”

“We refuse to set those wheels in motion,” he says. “We love the land too much.”

For information on investment opportunities at Marabou, visit or call John Hillenbrand at Marabou Realty, 970-879-7919.