VAIL, Colo. (KREX) — Vail, in between Glenwood Springs and Denver, is home to under 5,000 people.

Executive Director of Vail’s Chamber of Commerce Alison Wadey tells me their town continued to grow even during covid because the shutdown here wasn’t as severe as most places.

So what’s the draw?

The town embedded in the forested mountains is no stranger to elk, deer, foxes, and other wildlife, a sight to see straight from your back porch.

And thanks to such a small population, there’s almost no light pollution for stargazing.

Sitting above 8,000 feet at the base of the mountain, summers are mild, yet winters are severe.

Still, these severe winters are the number one reason people flock to Vail – to ski.

Bill Morton, a local, has lived in the center of Vail for decades, and lives up to the city’s slogan “come for the winter and stay for the summer,” just like Lee Williams, operations manager for Vail Realty.

Though the town did boom during the pandemic, just like other mountain towns, Wadey tells me Vail is now seeing real estate and even tourism traffic decline, especially this summer.

Most of the residents came here initially as tourists, but tell me living in Vail, especially full-time, is not quite as glamorous.

Lee tells me most full-time locals continue to move farther away to escape the growing cost of Vail, making the commute from places like Avon, Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum.

Most of Vail’s homeowners, though, don’t have the same problem, since Vail is primarily composed of second homes.

The average cost of a house here, on the cheaper and smaller side, is about 2 million dollars in the center of Vail.

Comparing Aspen, Vail, and Telluride, we see a trend – climbing taxes, home prices, insurance, and just basic costs of living are soaring. Those costs are fueling an affordable housing crisis, creating worker shortages and pushing workers further out of town. The big question is how this economic problem and the proposed solutions…will play out.