Though they are more commonly associated with the California desert community of Rancho Mirage, where the Betty Ford Clinic is located, Vail, Colorado, was a favorite getaway destination for Gerald Ford and wife Betty. Though famed for being a klutz, the 38th U.S. President was actually a star athlete. After playing football in college and winning two national championships, he turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers in favor of going to Yale Law School.
While living on the East Coast, Ford learned to ski. And beginning in 1968, as a congressman, he started to spend free time schussing down the slopes in Vail. He said in 2000, “Betty and I, our children and our grandchildren are always thrilled to come to Vail to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. We love it here.” In fact, he helped put the ski resort town on the map.
The veteran politician drew VIPs to Vail for his World Forum and for golf and ski competitions, and today, the town’s main municipal park and popular outdoor amphitheater are named after him. Locals loved “Jerry” for not putting on airs; he often purchased his own lift tickets and the Fords were listed in the local Yellow Pages for decades.
They rented a house in Vail before they purchased a condo, for which they paid $50,000 by raiding their children’s college funds! By the late 1970s, they had traded up to a family-sized home, which kept into the early 1980s and is now available for a presidential $13 million via Tye Stockton at Compass.
Built in 1967, the house sit on almost half an acre between the 4th and 6th fairways of the Vail Golf Course. There are seven bedrooms and five bathrooms in almost 5,900 square feet. There are also gorgeous views of both the mountains and the golf course, as well as a spacious living area, a cozy den, a huge outdoor deck, and a hot tub.
The hand-hewn trusses that adorn the ceilings are perhaps the most striking and attractive feature of the home, while large adobe fireplaces, in the great room and the primary bedroom, provide warmth on frosty mountain nights. A spacious kitchen and dining area are part of the flow of the great room.
A centerpiece of the house is the main-level master suite, with amazing views. A lovely master bathroom, sitting area, and designated office space complete the suite. Also on the main level is a junior master suite. a laundry/mud room and the two-car garage. The lower level includes three more bedrooms for family and friends, as well as an adorable alpine-style bunkroom for the kids.
A wraparound deck on the front of the house includes a gas grill and a fire pit. And if that’s isn’t enough room for al fresco lounging and entertaining, a large courtyard at the entrance of the house offers a second wood-burning fireplace.
As President Ford remarked, “It’s a nice environment, winter or summer.” And it is — at least long as you have $13 million to spend!