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Another 'where to move to' question

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello.  Thanks in advance for any and all help you can give. 

 

I can't decide where to move to live and ski (or is it the other way around?) other than it'll be in MT, UT, WY, or ID.  I'm 31 years old, male and single.  What I'm looking for is pretty simple.  I'm really blessed.  I'm free to go anywhere.  The only things I care too much about are:

 

1a) Large mountain with varied terrain and lots of fresh, sweet powder

1b) Be able to walk to the lift or a bus to the lift

 

2) Not crowded

3) Good ski/snowboard culture beyond tourism.  I want to transition into the industry so it would be great if it were a place I could do that in. 

 

Another thing that is that this is sort of a last minute move.  I want to do this in the next week or two but don't have anything set up yet.  I've been wanting to do this for awhile and have been working overseas and saving money.  I was gonna do this next season but after 2 summers in a row (northern then southern hemisphere) with no winter, I decided I had enough money and it was time.  So even if I don't find the perfect place for me right now, I can always just go to a place where it's easy and cheaper to get set up and then make another move over the summer if necessary to a place that is exactly what I'm looking for.  Luckily, I'm a cook and have marketing and hospitality experience so finding a job should be pretty easy in ski towns.  

 

Big Sky MT is the place that just seems to jump off the map to me.  Pics and video of the mountain and terrain just look amazing and it's supposed to be really uncrowded.  I guess there's a bus in town that goes to the mountain. 

 

I'm also considering Utah though.  While it's sort of a fantasy of mine to wake up in the morning, walk to the lift and get some first tracks in (instead of having to wake up at 5 in the morning, scrape the ice of the frozen car and drive an hour up some curvy, treacherous mountain pass) the thought of having so many different mountains in close proximity like Utah has is really tempting.  Could be worth getting in the habit of getting up at 5 am to check the ski report and decide where I'm headed that morning.  SLC is the big hub, but it seems like Park City, Alta etc. are too crowded and I don't want to live in a big city.  I'd prefer a smaller town like Ogden or even a bit smaller but those seem to be the places.   I guess a bunch of ski companies are moving to Ogden recently so that could be a good place to go to get into the industry possibly. 

 

So where should I go? 

 

(Sorry for the long post but I'm a bit analytical if you couldn't tell ;)

 

 

post #2 of 21

How sweet it is to be 31 and set to take off on one of life's great adventures! Have fun! I'm jealous in many ways.

 

In any case, you've hit on most of the relevant variables. Let me add a couple of points.

 

Check out this link on the Epic site: http://www.epicski.com/wiki/snowbird-unofficial-ski-guide-by-snowbird-devotee Although the focus is on Snow Bird, SLC and environs offers more than one mountain, fabulous skiing, some areas that are less crowded, and greater prospects for employment.

 

Big Sky is a wonderful mountain, but MT can have some brutal, brutal cold. UT is balmy in comparison. And your employment opportunities will be smaller.

 

Why not nail down a job offer before you move? Good luck and good skiing.

post #3 of 21

Ski bummed in Utah for a while. Ogden is definetly pushing to be a hub for the Ski Industry, but I wouldn't call it a great place to be single. Much more of a family area. I visit Ogden every few years and let a friend try and hurt me on SnowBasin, which is the closest Mountain and a personal favorite in the area.

 

I positioned myself in Midvale which is rather Strip Mallish, but convenient to the Cottonwood canyons and an easy bus ride up the mountain. Wake up in the morning, read the ski report and pick a resort, stop at a ski shop for a discounted ticket, ski all day. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. In two months, I never got bored.

post #4 of 21

As you can tell by my user name, I'm biased.  I can leave my office in Sandy, and be sitting on the lift in 30 minutes.  And I don't ski weekends...I just have a weekday pass.  I don't have any idea what crowds are.  The longest lift line I've waited in all season long was probably 5 minutes, but for the most part, there are no lift lines on weekdays.  I ski Alta and Deer Valley exclusively, except when my friend throws me a couple PCMR passes, but you basically have a dozen world class resorts within a 45 minute drive.  Cost of living is dirt cheap compared to a lot of places.  I don't know how you beat that.

post #5 of 21

Ogden and various spots in MT are some good possibilities.  Beside Salomon and other ski companies in Ogden, it also has a quite a few restaurants in the historic part of town in case you need that kind of work. Real estate is pretty cheap there too from my east coast perspective.  But you'll be 30 fairly easy minutes from Snowbasin and Powder Mtn.

Other MT possibilities besides Big Sky:  Whitefish, Missoula, Bozeman - all near pretty good low crowd ski areas.  Also, Sun Valley, ID and Jackson, WY might fit most of your criteria.

 

Since you're free to go anywhere, please check them all out for the rest of this winter and report back here with your findingswink.gif

post #6 of 21

Why not Tahoe?

post #7 of 21

In regard to Big Sky.  Bozeman is more than a stone's throw from Big Sky.  Yeah, there might be a bus, but it's a LONG bus ride.  Working in Big Sky itself is unlikely because it would be pricey to live there and then what would you do in the summer?  As for the cold, my opinion is you just DRESS FOR IT. 

 

I live up in Whitefish.  Airport is about 20 minutes south of town, mountain is 15 minutes north of town.  Kalispell (more jobs) is about 20 minutes south of Whitefish.  SNOW bus runs from town to the mountain several times a day. Real estate is MUCH cheaper.  Lift tickets are MUCH CHEAPER.  (Than Big Sky area, not sure about current real estate market in Bozeman).  Jobs?  Maybe not as plentiful as Bozeman.  Not sure about that, though, there are three towns in the valley - Whitefish, Kalispell, and Big Fork - that all have plenty of restaurants, plus the ski resort itself.  Weather?  Gloomier, but not really any colder than Big Sky, like I said, DRESS FOR IT.  I routinely ski in single digit weather (+ or -) and it's just NOT an issue for me.  In fact, I prefer it as the slopes are even less crowded than they normally are.  Think of standing on a "major" run for 5-10 minutes and not seeing a soul.  We don't have the "rep" here for the "serious" skiing that Big Sky has, but the skiers here get plenty of variety anyway.  I am sure Carvemeister will be filing a trip report any day now.  He had sun, fog, and snow while he was here.  Saw a huge variety of conditions, and found plenty of challenge. 

 

During the off season, we are a "real town" and actually it's busier in the summer here than the winter (winter is our "second" season, most people come to travel to Glacier National Park in the summer). 

 

Pics of the mountain from various years are here.

post #8 of 21

 Ogden is my recommendation in Utah based on your criteria. Many mountains to choose from, great snow, and not too crowded. As you said, there is a good ski/snowboard industry here so good opportunities for jobs. Park City is very expensive to live, crowded and not many jobs--many other people here looking for the same thing you are. Alta and Snowbird are fantastic for skiing but they are at the top of the canyon and not located in a "city." For access to them and Brighton, Solitude, Snowbasin, and Powder Mtn, you would have to live in SLC. Another suggestion is Heber City, UT which is a small town outside of Park City. This would give you access to The Canyons, Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, and Powder Mtn. Nice place to live but, being a small city, not many job opportunities and certainly no "industry" companies based there.  You would probably have to work in Park City area in tourism or resort employment. I live in Utah and love it but I would also seriously consider MT if I were you. It is getting very crowded in general in the Utah ski areas. I have heard great things about Whitefish/Kalispell area. You might also consider Sandpoint, ID and Grand Targhee Resort near Driggs, ID. Good luck!

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for all your awesome replies!  They really helped.

 

It looks like I'm going to.........(drum roll please).........Whitefish MT!!  The mountain looks great with tons of the nice, open glades I like.  Plus I'm digging the small town, small resort vibe in a place with 3000 acres.  I dunno, just feels right.

 

So the next question is......skis!   Will I need some pure powder, rocker skis?  Does it get much crud there?  Am I better off with a mid fat to rock the whole mountain with?  I'm talking to a guy who has a used pair or Atomic Bent Chetler's and Liberty Helix's.  If I can get him to swing a deal I'll grab both, but if I can only get one, which should I grab?  I've been living in Australia for a bit (not much need for skis there) and the only pair I have right now are some Fischer all mountain skis that are only 79mm at the waist.  They rip groomers, bumps and are OK in really really light pow, but I obviously need something thicker underfoot. 

 

Thoughts! 

 

Also, anyone in Whitefish need an awesome roommate (who cooks real good and always leaves treats laying out for you) or know of any jobs?  I'm not picky, just looking for something to get me out there and being productive!! 

 

MT here I come baby!!

post #10 of 21

Wow, you are really blessed.  I have no other frame of reference other than Salt Lake City, so I don't know how it would compare to other resorts.  Most tourists and visitors I have spoken to on the lifts, however, have a preference for SLC (I guess the fact that there on the lift kind of undermines the validity of my ad hoc survey)...I can definitely attest, however, that is has been an awesome experience learning to ski here- very accessible, great snow, challenging terrain, variety...as for crowding, I can't speak to it relative to other place, but I can assure you that in places like Alta, going off trail there is not that much crowding, even on weekdays and holidays...plus, there's always the backcountry...I guess there are tradeoffs no matter how you look at it...Good luck with your search.

post #11 of 21

Also, I would hardly call Salt Lake City a "big city."  Having come from Chicago and traveled around other major cities, it just doesn't compare.  It does have somewhat of an urban feel.  The resorts, however, are 20 miles out from the city in the canyons.  However, there is a lot of other great opportunity for outdoor recreation other than skiing too, like rock climbing, mountain biking, and the like.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks Alta Skier 119.  Although I've already got my heart set on MT, after researching UT I definitely have a mind to do a season or two there.  It looks awesome. 

post #13 of 21

Good luck. In UT, the only place that met your criteria was parkcity.

 

SLC offers 7 resorts but unless you want to buy multiple passes you will be making that decision once (in august) each season.

post #14 of 21

Why not Telluride? Small ski town. Walk to the lifts. Not the snow of Utah.

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey Sibhusky!  You were right and Whitefish really seems like the place for me!  I just need to pack up my stuff, buy a car and head up there.  If you know of anyone who needs a good roommate who cooks, cleans and always pays their bills on time, hit me up.  Or if you know of any jobs either.  My background is in cooking or marketing.  I have enough saved up to get me through the rest of the season, but never hurts to have some extra coin and to stay busy. 

 

Whitefish terrain looks like EXACTLY what I like; lots of medium pitch, open glades.  Can't wait!  Hope to be up there in about a week and a half.  MT here I come!! 

 

post #16 of 21

Ok treechuter1, we'll make an exception this time.  However, once you get here, no matter how much you like it, be sure to tell your friends how awful this place is.  If they question why you would stay here, just use the excuse the rest of us use: you're hiding out from the law.  That, or you'd miss all of your new friends you met in AA that you hang out with at the bar.  

post #17 of 21

whitefish is awesome, you're going to love it!!

 

i live in calgary and have skied there for 9 days in each of the last 2 seasons. in my opinion, it is the best resort in the world. it has plenty of fantastic terrain, loads of variety, great snow and hardly any crowds... granted, other places can match a lot of that (eg. from the places i have skied, fernie, kicking horse, vail, jackson hole) but the thing that sets whitefish apart from EVERY other mountain I have skied at, is they really understand what skiers want.

 

their prices are reasonable, their food is good, facilities are good, free wifi everywhere, vertical counter on your season pass... when you add up all the small things like that, it makes a big difference in the end. whitefish is just awesome in every way

post #18 of 21


icon14.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Ok treechuter1, we'll make an exception this time.  However, once you get here, no matter how much you like it, be sure to tell your friends how awful this place is.  If they question why you would stay here, just use the excuse the rest of us use: you're hiding out from the law.  That, or you'd miss all of your new friends you met in AA that you hang out with at the bar.  

post #19 of 21

There are lots of people with powder skis, rocker skis, etc.  HOWEVER, I wouldn't personally go with a ski that isn't extremely versatile.  First of all, even if you're hitting powder stashes on Don's Descent, Evan's Heaven, Area 51, wherever, you have to get on a groomer run to get back to the lift.  If you ski a full day, chances are (assuming it's a powder day as that's why you're skiing on powder skis..) the groomer will be pretty lumpy bumpy and packed down at the end of the day.  If the ski doesn't like that, you won't be smiling so much.  Carvemeister was just here.  He skied three days and I think had totally different conditions each day.  Some really wide new skis he had he enjoyed in Connie's Coulee, but I got the impression they weren't quite right for some of the runs.  As I told him when he PM'd me ahead of time, I believe to fully enjoy the whole mountain, you need as versatile as ski as you can get, as opposed to a ski that excels in ONE set of conditions and not another.  Because you will have a really wide range of conditions in any one day, depending on which way the hill faces (we're 360 here), the altitude, the traffic, the sun, the winds, etc. etc. 

 

I'm not sure what is considered mid-fat these days.  And I don't know either of those skis, so someone else will have to chime in.  I think something in the 88-98 range would be okay for most conditions, maybe slightly wider depending on the stiffness of the ski might hack it.  I skied Friday in some of the best powder of the season, but today just spent my time bombing the hill with my daughter on her race skis.  (I got a bit bored by this, bur I rarely get to ski with her anymore, so...)  Both days I was on my K2 Outlaws.  However, I wouldn't have picked them for today if I'd known what was ahead.....  I'd planned to go off piste when I left the house.  Point is, tho, that they were fine for both days.  As for your current Fischers, they might have been nice for today, but NOT GOOD on most days.  Too narrow.  I bet after you find what you like here, you'll never use them again. 

 

As for jobs, I'm afraid I don't have any connections.  My daughter cooked for Grouse Mountain Lodge for two summers and knows people there still.  They have a well run operation, unlike some of the "nut case" chefs at a couple places we are familiar with.  I don't know their current needs, she is trying to get away from cooking these days and has an office job and is a race coach until she leaves for grad school. 

 

I can tell you that the place to meet the locals your age is the Bierstube.  If you show up on a Wednesday, there's Frabert awards AND Wednesday Night Race League.  The guys doing Race League are some of the local businessmen, so you might want to make a showing there.  (The reason I know all that is because of the daughter, of course.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treechuter1 View Post

Thanks everyone for all your awesome replies!  They really helped.

 

It looks like I'm going to.........(drum roll please).........Whitefish MT!!  The mountain looks great with tons of the nice, open glades I like.  Plus I'm digging the small town, small resort vibe in a place with 3000 acres.  I dunno, just feels right.

 

So the next question is......skis!   Will I need some pure powder, rocker skis?  Does it get much crud there?  Am I better off with a mid fat to rock the whole mountain with?  I'm talking to a guy who has a used pair or Atomic Bent Chetler's and Liberty Helix's.  If I can get him to swing a deal I'll grab both, but if I can only get one, which should I grab?  I've been living in Australia for a bit (not much need for skis there) and the only pair I have right now are some Fischer all mountain skis that are only 79mm at the waist.  They rip groomers, bumps and are OK in really really light pow, but I obviously need something thicker underfoot. 

 

Thoughts! 

 

Also, anyone in Whitefish need an awesome roommate (who cooks real good and always leaves treats laying out for you) or know of any jobs?  I'm not picky, just looking for something to get me out there and being productive!! 

 

MT here I come baby!!


Quote:

Originally Posted by treechuter1 View Post

Hey Sibhusky!  You were right and Whitefish really seems like the place for me!  I just need to pack up my stuff, buy a car and head up there.  If you know of anyone who needs a good roommate who cooks, cleans and always pays their bills on time, hit me up.  Or if you know of any jobs either.  My background is in cooking or marketing.  I have enough saved up to get me through the rest of the season, but never hurts to have some extra coin and to stay busy. 

 

Whitefish terrain looks like EXACTLY what I like; lots of medium pitch, open glades.  Can't wait!  Hope to be up there in about a week and a half.  MT here I come!! 

 

post #20 of 21

I've lived in Steamboat (where the slopes were within walking distance) and Ogden (about 20 minutes to Snowbasin and Powder) and I definitely prefer the latter. You get big mountains within close proximity to the civilization of the suburbs and city. You have around 7,000 or 8,000 acres in your backyard and can get to the Cottonwoods and Park City within a little over an hour. The mountains up here are much chiller and less crowded than SLC/PC--roll out of bed whenever you want and you'll find powder. There's also cat, heli and snow-kiting at Powder.

 

I wouldn't take the ski companies too seriously, though. There was a ton of buzz on Ogden three, four, five years ago, but things seemed to have settled down. There are still some big players in town--Amer sports (Salomon, Bonfire, Suunto, Atomic..) in particular, but several companies that moved here back in '06/'07 have since left. I talked to an exec at Nidecker recently about it. They used to have a factory and demo showroom right downtown, but moved out a year or two ago because it was too expensive. I also noticed a big "For Rent" sign on Descente's building. It seems like companies cashed in on the incentives, relocated here and then moved out as soon as it stopped paying. You don't hear much about some of the other big outdoor-sport-related projects that were all the buzz a couple years ago, so it seems like the whole "outdoor USA-type" marketing plan quieted down (if not collapsed).

 

Ogden's more of a real town/city--as opposed to a tourist resort, which is definitely a plus in my point of view, but doesn't sound like quite what you're looking for. For smaller towns that are closer to the mountains, you could look at Eden and Huntsville. Those are really kind of out there, and you'd have to be all about outdoor recreation to really enjoy them (they're both next to a reservoir and have a lot of hiking, mountain biking). Beautiful scenery, but not much in terms of shopping/activities/dining/nightlife without heading out the canyon to Ogden.

post #21 of 21

So, treechuter1 should be here by now?  He said 1.5 weeks at the beginning of the month. 

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