I feel like there should be a PhD level class on Mountain Mail Delivery. If you live here, you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t, you will find it to be a bizarre idiosyncrasy of mountain living. I do my best to tell my new-to-town clients about this, but sometimes I forget that I live in an alternate universe that needs to be explained. So, let me start the course on the maddening topic of Mountain Mail Delivery.


That’s the general rule. We don’t have mailboxes, and instead we go to a Post Office where we have boxes. You can get a box if you own or rent a property in Summit County. And to add salt to the wound, we have to PAY to have this post office box. 

Some people get delivery to their homes in areas of Blue River, Summit Cove and Keystone. This apparently (but don’t quote me), relates to the distance they live to a post office. If your residence exceeds a certain distance to the closest post office, mail will be delivered to your home.  But sometimes not directly to your home, but instead to the neighborhood mail center which is an outdoor structure with multiple boxes in it. If you are being sent a package that doesn’t fit into the neighborhood box, then you are still going to the Post Office to pick it up. Anything being sent to someone in Summit County who uses a PO Box, must be sent to the PO Box.  Without the PO Box on the address, the Post Office will Return to Sender.  No ifs ands or buts – even if they know you and your box, they will still send it back. 


Here is where it gets complicated. UPS and FedEx will deliver to our home addresses. If you KNOW that something is (for sure) being delivered via UPS or FedEx home delivery, you can put your home address on it, and it will show up on your doorstep. But if UPS or FedEx uses their “cheater” services called “UPS Mail Innovations” or FedEx’s “Smart Post,” your package with your home address on it will not come to your doorstep but will go to the Post Office for them to deliver to your doorstep. And guess what – without your PO Box on that package…Return to Sender. 

A quick search of the Summit County Moms page on Facebook during Christmas package delivery season will illustrate the point that Santa in our neighborhood is often a week or two late. Last Christmas (2019), in the middle of the delivery season, Amazon switched from UPS home delivery to UPS Mail Innovations. While this wouldn’t affect most Americans, the entirety of Amazon’s deliveries to our mountain community which were supposed to be loaded onto UPS trucks and delivered to our doors, ended up in our overrun and overworked Post Offices. Most of these packages had no PO Box on them because, as I just said, they were supposed to go to a physical address. You know what happened…Return to Sender. Those that had a PO Box number on them, or a Zip + 4 (the 4 being the PO Box number), eventually got delivered to the recipient, but not even close to the timing of Amazon Prime’s promises. 


A fun unintended consequence of living at an address that is not recognized by the US Postal system, is that many companies use the US Postal address system to verify addresses for numerous reasons such as getting a cell phone delivered, verifying a Google business account, shipping anything that can’t be shipped to a PO Box, etc. But without home delivery by the USPS, your address doesn’t exist. So if you are trying to order ANYTHING that can’t be shipped to a PO Box, you have to “hack” the system. One method is to use the physical address of the Post Office. In Frisco, that’s 35 Main Street.  You then add a second line such as Box 1234 or #1234. Others have avoided the whole US Postal system altogether and have purchased a box at the local UPS store – one in Dillon and in Breckenridge. All their mail and packages get sent to this location that has a physical address. 


I understand that this post has been a sweet rant without a silver lining. But I will offer you this – living in the mountains is worth it! Call me to find out why.

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