Some thoughts on mountain towns.
The big mega resort towns have there downfalls. Yes, you can make money but if moving to the mountains in part was to escape the "rat race" it probably won't happen in one of these towns. The hour of powder is a real thing and it maybe a different form but it is indeed a rat race.
Smaller areas or off the radar areas often have a much more laid back vibe, a slower pace, and in my opinion a better experience. The downfall is making money.
I like a mid sized town. The Tellurides are too small and a place like Salt Lake is too big. Something in the middle can still have a small town vibe, the amenities of a larger city, and you can still stay off the grid, maybe make it out to get some groceries and not have to say hi to every other person that walks by. Basically you can have a more private life. Towns like here in Flagstaff, Santa Fe, Bend, or Bellingham fit this criteria. These towns are in the 50,000 to 100,000 population, offer jobs other than tourism gigs, and have a little more well rounded and diverse group of people. I really appreciate that as I get older. Being surrounded by mostly type A personalities and getting into the same conversation about the skiing that day get's really old to me. I like a town that is a ski town but it's not just a ski town. A place where you can get an education, hopefully a job, and not have to live paycheck to paycheck is something I look for now, this is a big contrast from my twenties where the only things that mattered to me where deep snows and steep terrain.
I guess I'm not really a fan of huge fast paced ski areas any longer, I don't like to stress out about getting first tracks on my favorite lines and I don't want to work three dead end jobs to make the bills.
So much truth in this (though I take issue with "and not have to say hi to every other person" which I personally consider a huge plus of small town living).
I ski bummed during college at Jackson Hole (80/81 -- Mr. Peabody's WayBack Machine, anybody?). I still go back every year for the terrain and memories. I went through a tough period of realizing that the "hour of powder" had become a sort of reality, but that I still wanted to ski there every year, even if it was in cut up crud (also, I kind of got over the need to ride the tram).
But other than that place, I'm with you in being done with the huge, crowded, fast-paced areas. Luckily, there are enough uncrowded but fun smaller areas, and a few huge, uncrowded areas left!