Mountainous Profits in the Dead of Winter
A West Coast developer sits down at his office desk with the intent of vetting the day’s deluge of e-mails, but a few minutes into the chore, his mind begins to wander to his second home, the one in Breckenridge.
It’s a December morning, and he’s wondering if there’s been fresh powder overnight, if that week’s renters have left yet, and if there’s any chance he can talk his girlfriend into taking the afternoon off and escaping with him for a long, pre-holiday weekend on the slopes.
Everything that guy needs to facilitate his daydream is a possible right now (with the possible exception of the willing girlfriend) and custom integrators in mountain towns all over the U.S. are hoping to get the word out about how the latest home automation products can ease the headaches and enhance the enjoyment of vacation homes, rental properties, commercial ski lodges and winter resorts.
Chalet owners can watch the snow fall remotely, for starters, from the live-feeds of webcams set up around their ski property, cameras which can also tell if the cleaning service ever came or if the renters left on time. Owners can use cellphones or laptops to access detailed weather conditions like the wind speeds, precipitation levels, even the barometric pressure via high-tech measuring stations like WeatherHawk. And should they wish to entertain in that second home, new arrays of system designs can have their guests catching pro football action on weatherproof flatpanels from a toasty-warm (even on Super Bowl Sunday) outdoor patio.
George and Kassa Harrison, owners of Harrison Home Systems in Golden, Colo., say marketing just those sort of winter-fun feature sets has kept their business on a growth curve despite the economic crunch of the last few months.
“We’re having our biggest year to date, actually,” said George Harrison.