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Ski towns to live in like Crested Butte, CO

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any suggestions for ski towns to live in with a family that are similar to Crested Butte, CO? We like a mix of downhill skiing, nordic skiing, and mountain biking, and we like the way the community feels in Crested Butte. We don't like the glitzy resorts or the kinds of towns that are almost 100% condos.


We are looking for western US towns.


My wife is a dentist and we want to find a similar kind of town to buy a dental practice in. It requires us to just move wherever a practice is available, but then we don't have to worry about the usual career issues that many people have to think about in moving to a ski town. Don't care about nearness to shopping, airports, etc.




Thanks for your help,



post #2 of 20
You may consider various communities in/near SLC. Likely plenty of private practices available, with world class skiing/biking nearby. You don't have to live in Park City to get the same experience.
post #3 of 20

How about Whitefish, MT or Bend, OR?


Bend is a much bigger town than Crested Butte but it has a great vibe.

Downtown Bend is beautiful with a river going through it. 

Mt Bachelor is a nice resort. People are super nice.


I am nearing early retirement. Given my screen name I would

choose Sun Valley. Its very laid back town despite the wealth.

It is not crowded like Summit County/ParkCity.



post #4 of 20
You might try Whitefish, and in fact, you might try Alpenglow Dental, as I know my guy (the original guy) has been phasing out.  I don't know if his slot has been entirely filled or not.  There are certainly other dentists in the town, I just don't know a thing about them.  

We're definitely not glitzy, there's Glacier National Park nearby, mountain biking on the mountain (30 miles), in addition to a trail system around not just the town but being finished up around the lake.  Plenty of golf and long days during the summer to make that last hole possible.  Probably a cheaper place to live than Crested Butte.  

Nordic Skiing at the golf course, at Stillwater Lodge and then over by Glacier, they have the Isaak Walton Inn.  

Two lakes for boating, Whitefish, and the much larger Flathead Lake (27 miles long). Fly fishing and rafting on the Flathead River is also nearby. The vast majority of the land in any direction is public land.

Box stores are located down in Kalispell but not in Whitefish, so you have the access, but not the horror.  Nearest interstate is 2.5 hours away, but we have an airport that's maybe 20 minutes (AT MOST) from the town.  

The town is NOT BASED on the ski resort, in fact most of the money does not come from it, so it's not all condos.  Historically, it's a railroad town and there is still a huge railroad presence.  It is also a logging town.  That all was decades before there was any skiing.  Further, most of the tourists are summer tourists, visiting Glacier.  I forget the numbers right offhand, but I think that 75% of the tourists come in the summer or something like that.  

Liftlines are famously short almost all the time.  We had "record" skier visits last year at 323,000.

Now, you may ask, why are people not arriving in droves?  Well, to hear them here, they are, but the truth is, you need to be the kind of skier who can put up with overcast days close to 95% of the time, and some days where the fog is, shall we say, INTENSE.  

Check out my Local's Guide, link in my signature, for more on the mountain.  

Whitefish and its cousin, Sandpoint, ID, pretty much come up any time there is discussion of great towns to retire to for skiers.  
Edited by sibhusky - 9/10/13 at 7:21pm
post #5 of 20
Consider Driggs, Idaho - next to Grand Targhee.

Kellogg, Idaho has similar almost-shantytown vibe as Crested Butte, and is next to Silver Mtn. Plenty of cavities to be filled there.
post #6 of 20

Winterpark CO,   Steamboat, Mammoth, 

post #7 of 20

Midway, Utah?  About 15 miles East of Park City a little off of US 40. You can catch a Deer Valley gondola about 10 miles away.  Soldiers Hollow State park held Olympic XC events nice little town. Backed up to Wasatch State Park for bike riding hiking and golf.


 It is right next to Heber City which is much larger 25,000?  So there should be opportunities there for you.  A very pretty place.

post #8 of 20

Durango has everything you are looking for, but the atmosphere is not as small townie as the Butte, but we have much better weather.  If you check it out and are interested send me a PM.  I know a dentist/skier that is going to be selling his 25-year Durango practice and I can put you in touch.

post #9 of 20

Wow, when I retire (ya right) I'm going to post on Epic. Two possible matches for job and tons of great 'real' ski areas to choose from in 7 posts (not including OPs). Nicely done Bears!

post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post

Winterpark CO,   Steamboat, Mammoth,


Winter Park is not much of a town. It's mostly recreational condos, with a permanent population of less than 1,000. Fraser is more of an actual community, but it's still marginal.


As a town, I prefer Steamboat. I also like Sandpoint, ID.


I suspect my current place of residence, in the Nelson-Castlegar-Rossland area of British Columbia, is out of the question for you. Immigration and professional licensing could be problematic.

post #11 of 20

burlington vt is a really nice place in my opinion, but it's not in a west of course : ).

post #12 of 20

I will put a plug in for Ogden or Morgan, UT., not really ski towns but enough people to need dentists & close to Snowbasin & Powder Mountain.  Eden already has 2 dentists, but I am not sure about Huntsville.


Tahoe, South or North are also possibilities.



post #13 of 20

my town has 60 miles of  singletrackmountain biking, more nordic skiing track miles then any other town in the Us, and ski resort/surrounding mountains that get 330 inch of snow a year.


no danger of wildfire taking your home and its green

post #14 of 20
Just decided I'm sending my wife to dental school.
post #15 of 20

So you want a town that a world class ski mountain rises out of, but is still far enough off the beaten path where it still keeps its authentic feel?


If somebody asked me to name a ski town most similar to CB, which I think just happened, I would have to say Telluride.


Like the dynamic with Mount Crested Butte vs. Crested Butte, most of the condo/resort development in the Telluride area happens at Mountain Village, while the town of Telluride itself is 95% original buildings and a good vibe from local folks that actually live in the town year round.


The difference with CB is that you can live in the authentic town (as opposed to the resort town) and still walk to the ski lifts.




This is assuming that your primary driver is skiing.  If you are more of a 4 season guy that is just happening to post this on a ski forum, I would throw another vote in for Durango- mountain bike epicenter of the world, great kayaking, great backcountry, lots of history, authenticity, and still managing to stay authentic and non-resort, BUT- the close-in skiing is only "decent."  The skiing within a 2 hour drive is amazing (Wolf Creek, Telluride, Taos, and SIlverton have you covered), but I also know it is hard getting in the mindset of driving for skiing instead of walking out the door and being on a lift in ten minutes.


Durango may be one of the only places in the country that offers night skiing... From two different mountains. Chapman Hill in downtown Durango and Hesperus 10 minutes West both do night skiing, and both open at 4:00 PM during the week, meaning you can get freshies even if you are stuck at work watching it come down all day.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Josh Matta, what town is that?

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

my town has 60 miles of  singletrackmountain biking, more nordic skiing track miles then any other town in the Us, and ski resort/surrounding mountains that get 330 inch of snow a year.


no danger of wildfire taking your home and its green

Josh Matta, what town is that?

post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by jdubbya View Post

Josh Matta, what town is that?


It rhymes with "low" and it's in Vermont (Stowe).

post #19 of 20

Bellingham may be a bit large for you at 80,000 and it may be a bit far from the ski area (Mt. Baker, 55 miles) but it has a huge selection of year round recreational opportunities that you might want to consider.  About the only climate zone that we don't have within a two hour drive is tropics.  Lots of mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, sailing, fishing, etc.  We've made it onto many of the best place to do whatever lists.  We're within a short to reasonable drive of three national parks and a huge wilderness system.  If you drive to the end of the Mt. Baker Highway and look east you are looking at 90 miles as the crow flies without a road of any kind.  Canada is 30 minutes away and getting to the interior of BC is an easy drive on a freeway. 


We have more snow than anyone else, period.  If you want back country skiing, we are world class with nearly unlimited options.  Our cross country is pretty lame, however, because the mountains are rather precipitous and the valleys narrow.

post #20 of 20

Telluride is the first place that came to my mind.

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