Windstar Land Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Institute Announce Sale of the Windstar Property

Share Article

The Windstar Property in Old Snowmass, which has been home to The Windstar Foundation, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Windstar Land Conservancy, is sold to a private buyer.

"Having the proceeds from the sale go to charitable organizations that honor John's spirit and vision is a wonderful result."

-Annie Denver

Windstar Land Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Institute announced today that the Windstar Property has been sold. The two organizations, along with the former Windstar Foundation, decided several years ago to sell the property.

“We are proud of our long-time stewardship of the land and the perpetual conservation easement that we placed on the Windstar property in 1996 that will protect and preserve 927 acres from development forever,” said Windstar Land Conservancy President and RMI Executive Director Marty Pickett. The conservation easement is held by Aspen Valley Land Trust and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

The Windstar property, a critical wildlife and wetlands habitat, totals 957 acres. It is owned by Windstar Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization created by The Windstar Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute, after RMI bought an interest in the property in 1996. The land has a rich history, from a sheep ranch to a retreat center for St. Benedict’s Monastery, to its purchase by John Denver in 1979, who envisioned the property as home to a large environmental research facility with housing for its staff. RMI hoped to join in that vision, but a 2004 development proposal to Pitkin County was unsuccessful.

“RMI has been a committed partner, working hard from day one to restore the land to the healthy ecosystem it is today,” noted Windstar Land Conservancy director and conservation easement expert Jane Ellen Hamilton.

The new owner will allow RMI to maintain its offices on the Windstar property for two years while it plans and designs a new “beyond” state-of-the-art facility in Basalt that exemplifies RMI’s leadership in green buildings.

“RMI is committed to its presence in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said RMI Co-founder and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins. “We’re excited about our vision for a high-performance building to provide offices and a collaborative convening center. We’re designing it to strengthen RMI’s efforts to help transition the U.S. to efficiency and renewable energy.”

Half of the sale proceeds will be paid to Rocky Mountain Institute and the other half will go to the John Denver Aspenglow Fund at Aspen Community Foundation, as authorized by the directors of the recently dissolved Windstar Foundation. Aspen Community Foundation builds philanthropy and supports nonprofit organizations by connecting donors to community needs, building permanent charitable funds, and bringing people together to solve community problems.

“Having proceeds from the sale of the Windstar land go to charitable organizations that honor John’s spirit and vision is a wonderful result,” said Annie Denver. Additional details about the John Denver Aspenglow Fund at Aspen Community Foundation will be announced this summer.

“We are pleased that the buyers value the conservation aspects of the property and that we are leaving Windstar in capable hands,” said RMI Senior Consultant Michael Kinsley. A director of Windstar Land Conservancy, Kinsley was on the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners when the approvals were first granted for the Windstar property in 1979.

“John Denver loved the Windstar land and was so pleased that the conservation easement kept it from being fully developed,” said Karmen Dopslaff, a Windstar Land Conservancy director and former president of The Windstar Foundation.

About Windstar Land Conservancy
Windstar Land Conservancy was founded in 1996 by Rocky Mountain Institute and The Windstar Foundation as a vehicle to own, manage, and steward the Windstar property in a sustainable and resourceful manner. WLC’s board of directors comprises two representatives from Rocky Mountain Institute, two from The Windstar Foundation, and one at-large director, who for the past decade has been Jane Ellen Hamilton. She was the Chief Executive Officer of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails when the easement was created.

About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank with offices in Snowmass and Boulder, Colorado. RMI emphasizes integrative design, advanced technologies, and mindful markets in fulfilling its mission to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources. RMI’s strategic focus is to map and drive the U.S. transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by 2050. Please visit for more information.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Rebecca Cole
Rocky Mountain Institute
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website