AVON, Colorado — The Aspens Mobile Home Village sits on a wedge of land tucked between eastbound I-70 and the Eagle River in the mountains near Vail. The park is easy to miss in the blur of freeway speeds — trees, a fence, trailers flashing past before the blue sign for Exit 167 zooms into view, advertising Burger King and Subway and Fiesta Jalisco.
The Aspens is unobtrusive, the way people who don’t live in mobile homes parks tend to prefer them, and in this it sets itself apart from the county’s largest park about 10 minutes down the road in Edwards. That park, Eagle River Village, has been in the news for its persistent, still unresolved poor water quality. Its row after row of weary, faded trailers rise from the river up the hillside toward the million-dollar plus homes and golf courses of Cordillera.
The two parks are among 31 in Eagle County. These communities vary in size from tiny to sprawling — the county counts a total of 1,248 mobile homes — but nearly all are filled with people who work in the hospitality, service and construction industries. The mobile homes in them are, in a county where homes and rentals are notoriously pricey, an economic necessity. Low-wage workers who keep hotel rooms clean and golf courses tended in tourism-dependent mountain towns must live somewhere nearby and relatively affordable.
Aspens Mobile Home Village has 159 spots for trailers, 158 of which are occupied. The park is nearly 50 years old, but well-maintained, its trailers new and refurbished with pitched roofs and siding and its playground teeming with the children and grandchildren of housekeepers, painters, framers, roofers, gardeners, landscapers, fast-food cooks, cashiers and nannies. Flowerbeds and pots burst with late-summer blossoms.