Billionaire venture capitalist buys Strawberry Park Ranch

Strawberry Park Ranch, located north of downtown Steamboat Springs, was purchased in October.
Hall & Hall/Courtesy photo

One of the last available addresses for a large, undeveloped property in the Strawberry Park area north of Steamboat Springs has been acquired by a holding company owned by billionaire venture capitalist Mark Stevens.

Strawberry Park Ranch was put on the market in 2020 with a listing price of $18.5 million. The 562-acre property has never been developed, with only a nonpermanent yurt standing on it now. Stevens said he has no immediate plans to change that.

Stevens, who ranked No. 224 on the Forbes 400 list in 2021, spends a large amount of his time in Steamboat.

“It’s as close to permanent as it can be,” Stevens said of his residency in Steamboat. “My wife (Mary) and I became official a year ago.”

Stevens splits his time between Steamboat and his Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, S-Cubed Capital, which has a divested portfolio of investments including startups. He was previously a partner at investment firm Sequoia Capital when it invested in Google, PayPal and LinkedIn.

Mark Stevens.
Mark Stevens/Courtesy photo

Stevens joined Sequoia in 1989 after positions at Intel and Hughes Aircraft. He also serves on the board of tech company Nvidia and owns a stake in the Golden State Warriors NBA team, in addition to his vast philanthropic efforts.

In purchasing Strawberry Park Ranch, Stevens hopes to keep an important piece of Steamboat’s legacy within his family — and eventually conserve some of the land.

“It’s very unusual to find a property of that size all in one piece that’s within a couple of miles of a ski town that hasn’t been developed and could be purchased,” said Brian Smith, of Hall & Hall in Steamboat Springs, in 2020.

Smith listed the property along with Pam Vanatta of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty.

In addition to its unique feature of being so close to Steamboat yet remote enough to be completely private, the property has a rich history.

Originally called the Perry Ranch, the parcel of land was formerly owned by Marjorie Perry, sister of Charlotte Perry, the co-founder of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.

“When she owned it, I think it was about 470 acres,” Smith said.

Arianthé Stettner, a local historian, completed a nomination for the Perry Cabins to receive a local historic designation in 2018. Now listed on the Routt County Historic Register, the cabins were originally part of the Perry Ranch but were acquired by Perry-Mansfield in 2009.

Stettner’s application for the designation shined light onto the property and the historic figure of Marjorie Perry.

The two Perry Cabins, Upper and Lower, were built by Samuel M. Perry as summer cabins for himself and his daughter Marjorie in the 1920s. After her father died, Marjorie inherited both cabins and continued to increase the size of her ranch, the Perry Ranch, over the years.

While her sister, Charlotte, developed Perry-Mansfield, Marjorie was also involved in its early years as the first director of its equestrian program.

“Marjorie had a lasting influence on Steamboat Springs and Colorado history,” Stettner said.

Among Marjorie’s contributions, she showed that skiing could be a viable form of winter recreation, and she brought Carl Howelsen and his world of ski jumping and winter carnivals to Steamboat, Stettner said.

“Leading by example, she encouraged the young women campers of Perry-Mansfield and the community to connect with nature, experience the wilderness on multi-day horse pack trips and to enjoy life,” she said.

Marjorie also enriched Routt County’s cultural heritage by inspiring Eleanor Bliss to move to Colorado, where Bliss became a tireless advocate for the arts and historic preservation both in Steamboat and throughout the state.

Marjorie would spend summers at her cabins where she tended to her horses, cattle, chickens and milk cows and provided milk to the camp.

Today, the entrance to Strawberry Park Ranch is the next driveway after the entrance to Perry-Mansfield off of Routt County Road 36. The property is located behind the camp and goes up onto Copper Ridge.

Despite the Perry family’s conservation legacy, there are no conservation easements adjoined to the property, which means future buyers can really do anything they want with the land.

Stevens expects to create a conservation easement on the property at some point in the future but also use part of the land for a family home.

Steamboat attracted Stevens in the late 1990s, when he would travel to ski areas across the West. It was his dream to pass his love for skiing onto his twin boys. After he came across a ranking of best U.S. ski schools, Stevens set his sights on Steamboat Resort.

“They were a challenge,” he said of his young boys, “but they didn’t get thrown out of ski school.”

That was a welcome relief for Stevens and his wife. They’ve been in love with the Yampa Valley ever since.

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