While he was President, Gerald Ford was often mocked for alleged physical ineptitude. He acquired a reputation as a clumsy, likable and simple-minded everyman; an incident in 1975, when he tripped while exiting Air Force One in Austria, was famously and repeatedly parodied by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live, cementing Ford’s image as a klutz.
In fact, he was a lifelong athlete, a skilled football player who won two national championships while at the University of Michigan. Following his senior year, he turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, instead taking a position as the boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale, while applying to Yale Law School.
He loved to ski, so a vacation home in Vail, Colorado made sense. Built in 1967, this mountain chateau served as a favorite holiday retreat for President Gerald and First Lady Betty Ford. Now their winter holiday ski house has come onto the market, offered for $13 million.
Tucked away in groves of mature aspen and grand conifers, between the 4th and 6th fairways on the Vail Golf Course, the historic home is just one-half mile from Vail Mountain’s Golden Peak base area and close to a number of town amenities, including the aptly named Ford Amphitheater, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Nature Center, Vail Golf Course and Nordic Center, soccer fields and volleyball courts, and the Vail bike path that runs from East Vail to Avon.
Situated on a nearly half-acre lot, the 5,860 square foot house has seven bedrooms and five baths, and features an extensive wrap-around deck with magnificent mountain and golf course views. A large open-air courtyard with an outdoor fireplace and covered breezeway connects the two-car garage to the laundry/mud room.
The main level surrounds the courtyard with the primary suite, great room, dining room, and secondary guest suite. Interior renovations include an elegant mix of old and new materials including subtle gray wooden planks, hand-hewn trusses, and Arrigoni wood floors. The dining room offers dual access to the courtyard and the wrap-around deck for flexible entertaining and a central focal point that connects the main level east and west wings. The west wing presents a charming great room with grand adobe wood-burning fireplace, and impressive golf course views, and leads to a sumptuous primary suite complete with fireplace, a spacious office, more dramatic golf course views, and private access to the wrap-around deck.
The east wing provides a large gourmet kitchen, which includes a peninsula bar, a secondary king suite, and the mud/laundry room. Descend from the kitchen to the lower level to discover a substantial recreation room. There are five additional guest rooms and garden-level access to the outdoor hot tub. In other words, this house offers exactly what skiers want: easy access to the lifts and relaxation after a day on the slopes.