Originally Posted by spknmike
Ditto to this.....but I'm biased, since I now live in the area.
Some have suggested some sort of exploratory road trip, and if your schedule allows it, that's a great idea.
Starting about 3-4 years before I planned to retire, I started taking ski trips specifically to places that I thought might make for a good place to live once retired. The few I liked best I revisited in summer, and I eventually ended up in the Sandpoint area. There are a few places I might enjoy skiing a bit more, but Sandpoint had the best overall combination of things I was looking for, many of which were similar to the things you cited.
So, figure out a half-dozen or so factors that are of high importance to you, research and visit those places that seem to fit the bill best for those criteria, narrow them down to 2 or 3 finalists, sleep on it, and pull the trigger on one. Summit Co., Tahoe, and SLC area are obvious contenders, and you may well end up in one of those areas, but don't overlook also considering places in Washington, New Mexico, Montana....and I would obviously suggest Sandpoint also.
As pointed out already, outdoor-oriented magazines often have best town for various activities/lifestyle lists, and a really fun and potentially helpful website I found is findyourspot.com. It asks a ton of questions about your interests and priorities, and it then provides a list of 20 or so possible places that may be a good match for you along with info and vital stats of each place like weather, COL, etc. It also might give you ideas about places to check out.
In any case, Good Luck with the journey!