Montana haven fits generations
Children in Alberta close to parents at vacation home in Silverbrook Estates
When children leave the nest, it’s great to have somewhere for them to come back to.
At their new vacation home in Montana, Tom and Arlene Vis found a place their children and grandchildren love to gather that’s near all the outdoor activities they enjoy.
The Red Deer couple bought a recreation property in the Silverbrook Estates halfway between the towns of Whitefish and Kalispell.
“One of the reasons we picked Whitefish was because all the kids can travel there and they can drive,” says Tom.
“The farthest is six hours. We thought about Phoenix, but none of the kids could ever afford to fly there at this time in their lives.”
Silverbrook Estates is close to year-round recreation opportunities.
Tom and Arlene Vis. AGES: 50s. BACKGROUND: The Red Deer couple bought a home in the resort community of Silverbrook Estates in Montana. Tom works in the oilfield manufacturing equipment business. They decided to buy a recreation property with easy access for their four grown children in their 20s and their three grandchildren, who live in various cities in southern Alberta. Silverbrook Estates is a six-hour drive for the one who lives farthest away.
For the skiers, Whitefish Mountain Resort is a 25-minute drive to the north, and Blacktail Mountain Ski Area is 40 minutes to the south.
The Flathead Valley is home to nine championship golf courses, one of which is next door to Silverbrook Estates.
“We’re also 30 minutes from Glacier Park and 30 minutes from Flathead Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi — with blue-ribbon fly-fishing about five minutes from here in every direction,” says Larry Sartain, broker for Silverbrook Estates.
Everything appealed to the Vis family, whose members are active in the outdoors.
“We’ve got kids that are snowboarders, skiers and golfers, so for us, we thought it made more sense to have a place where the kids can go down for their weekends off, or take their buddies fishing or golfing,” says Tom. “It gets used a fair amount.”
Closer to home, Silverbrook Estates, itself, has a $1-million clubhouse with a pool, heated spa, fitness centre and tennis courts.
The Stillwater River borders the community to the east, and the developer has put in play parks and 6.5 kilometres of walking paths, half of which are paved.
“It’s a beautiful community,” says Sartain.
“We have invested a huge amount of money in the infrastructure here. All the roads (in the first half of the development) are in, including curbs and gutters.”
Silverbrook is a master-planned community conceived in 2007 by developer Howard Mann, who lives in the nearby town of Bigfork.
“His vision was to build a subdivision that had all the amenities in terms of all the parks — and still have a rural flavour next to the river here,” Sartain says of the 130 hectares that were once a potato farm. “It will have all the amenities, including shops and restaurants, without having to drive anywhere.”
The first phase of the development — which includes 285 lots in Creekside South and Riverside South — is about half Silverbrook’s total area.
Future development plans include 7.2 hectares of retail space, 100 units of townhomes and two more phases of homes in the neighbourhoods of Creekside North and Riverside North.
Some buyers are full-time residents, while others are secondhome owners. Ten move-in-ready houses are for sale and about 25 other lots have sold.
The Vises bought in Creekside South. Their single-storey, 1,650-square-foot home has three bedrooms, two baths and a twocar garage on a 0.1-hectare lot.
“It has a mountain view from the living room,” says Tom.
“You can see the golf course just down the road. In the backyard, there’s a view of the mountains and a racetrack for stock car racing.”
Sartain calls the community’s architectural style “Montana Rustic.”
“We have Hardie plank exterior, with some wood features on the front with a combination of stone” and peaked roofs, he says.
The Vises were able to take advantage of a strong Canadian dollar when they bought a year ago, paying $268,000 US.
“When we bought, it was a bit above par, which was good for us,” says Tom — and there are no extra taxes, such as the Canadian GST, when buying a new home in Montana.
For Tom and Arlene, the drive down to Silverbrook Estates from Red Deer is as much of a treat as being there. “They’re avid motorcycle riders, so they’ll ride their Harley down here from Red Deer,” says Sartain.
Going-to-the-sun Road is an 80-kilometre highway across the continental divide that takes drivers through the wild interior of Glacier National Park in Montana, winding high up into the mountains for some spectacular views.
“It’s not a time-saver by any means because it’s a real slow, windy road, but it doesn’t get any prettier than that,” says Sartain.
Tom Vis has bought a vacation home at Silverbrook Estates near Whitefish, Mont., where he vacations with his four children and three grandchildren.