Welcome Home: A family’s timeless holiday home
“Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, through white and drifted snow.”Make your way west on County Road 1040, and look for the carved wooden sign in front of a red, cozy-looking, wood-sided, home. The sign welcomes you to, “The Hilliker Hilton.” The sign is engraved with family members’ names, and beyond the sign, as you turn up the driveway, you’ll see a pair of old skis with LookNevada bindings. The skis mark the well-head and prevent plowman from disturbing the water supply.”We celebrated every Christmas in Frisco,” said Esther Hilliker, remembering back to the days when, “the kids and grand kids would trickle in from Denver, Palisade and Wyoming in time for Christmas Eve.”Esther and husband Bruce would have arrived earlier to light the massive stone fireplace. The fireplace is the home’s centerpiece, which they built by hand from stone gathered around Summit County.”Bruce would go out on the snowmobile with Bill Pasic and bring home a tree to decorate,” says Esther. Bill was a friend who helped the Hillikers build their mountain home and Esther remarked that, “Bill would come over at 4 p.m. after working at the mine and still get more done than two men could in a day.”On Christmas Day, after a morning of opening gifts from Santa, the family would make their way to a day of skiing or for a trip out on the snowmobiles while Esther would oversee a Turkey Dinner, which the family would enjoy in the afternoon.”We started building in the summer of 1967 and by the spring of 1968 we were putting carpet and tile down. I remember one meal we shared was when the kids returned from watching World Cup Ski Races in Aspen. We sat around on the stairs or anywhere we could – the place wasn’t quite finished.”That meal would have been in March of ’68, after American ski racer, Billy Kidd, won gold in slalom at the first-ever Aspen Winternational.In the years after construction, Bruce, Esther and the family would plant trees around the property; many of those trees still grace the property.”When the pine beetles came, we worked with the association and organized a group to take preventive measure to protect the trees in the Frisco Heights neighborhood,” Esther says proudly.Esther and Bruce loved racing snowmobiles. As a matter of fact, Esther was an officer of the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Association and put together a few races here in the High Country. “After I-70 was graded – but before it was paved and open – we used to race on it. I think that was the fastest ride I ever had on a snowmobile.””Bruce and I enjoyed summer here too. We would go out on Lake Dillon and fish, back when the fishing was great. Some days while waiting for guests to arrive, Bruce would go out on the lake and I would give him a call on the CB radio when the friends arrived.”Now 85-years-young, Esther is celebrating Christmas with family in Denver, and making a few dozen “Esther Cakes” to share with friends and relations.”We don’t call them fruit cakes any more,” remarked Esther.She continues to enjoy sharing stories of her family members who live as close as Denver, and as far as the Philippines. Her people are owners of vineyards in Palisade, they build custom homes in Colorado and Connecticut; they work at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, or live in Bond and manage a resort in Beaver Creek.The Hilliker Hilton is a steel frame building, with the steel members coming from a commercial property they purchased in the Denver area, dismantled, and redesigned to become their mountain home. The Hilliker’s Hilton is currently looking for a new family to love it, and it will love them right back. It has and will continue to create wonderful memories for its new family in the years to come. “If I would have known I was going to live this long I might have taken better care of myself,” jokes Esther. We believe Esther has done a wonderful job of taking care of herself and the many people whose lives she has touched over the years.Merry Christmas Esther and family. Thank you for all that you do, all that you’ve done, and for the lovely holiday memories.For information about the Hiliker Hilton, contact firstname.lastname@example.org at Re/Max Properties in Frisco or search the web for Butch Elich or Paula Parker.
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