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Great One Season ski town for family of four

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 

I have enjoyed several of the "which ski town should I move to?" posts. 


I have a similar question, but will add some requirements, which may help the gracious members of this forum provide stellar feedback.  

We are a couple from Seattle with twin 4 year old boys.  We are on sabbatical, currently living in Guatemala, but thinking of living in a ski town for the first six months of 2015 before returning to Seattle.  We do not need to work.  We do not intend on raising our kids there or making "a life" there.  


We would love a "walkable" town with the ski area close enough we could drop the kids off at preschool, ski for 2 or 3 hours, pick the kids up after half day of school, and head back to the mountain for family time.  We will have a car, though public transportation would be a plus.  


Additionally, we need other activities to do with the kids besides skiing.  


We love Whistler (got married there), but it is too expensive.  Using preschool costs as a barometer, Steamboat Springs is too expensive.   


We need a reasonable chance of renting a nice furnished house for the six months in the $2,000 to $2,500 range.  We have to have a house because we have dogs.


I think the key to affordability is preschool costs, as the house rentals in the several towns I have looked into seem to be reasonable.


Good ski school and reasonably priced passes help.  


Within a 2 hour drive of "civilization" (Walmart, Costco, etc.) would also be great.  We lived 4 hours away from affordable shopping last year and it wasn't fun.  With a 2 hour drive, at least you can do a run in one day.  


Whitefish and South Lake Tahoe both seem like options.  Bend, Oregon looks good, but it is too far away from actual skiing.  


A home run town would include a bilingual preschool.  


Any feedback is greatly appreciated.  




post #2 of 70
Thread Starter 

I should include that neither of the adults are avid skiers.  We both like skiing, but haven't gone a lot since the kids were born.  When we did ski, we were pretty much blue run skiers.  Not that we wouldn't want to vastly improve our skills, but we aren't looking to train for the X-Games.  In other words, the ski area itself doesn't have to be hugely challenging, though acreage is probably important, so we don't get bored.  

post #3 of 70

Sandpoint, ID? 

Durango, CO? 

post #4 of 70
Whitefish won't cut it, because the ski area is not walkable from town, nor is a preschool/childcare open the whole six months and walkable to skiing. You'd have to drop them off, drive to the resort, drive down, pick them up, drive back. Also, not sure about finding a rental that will take dogs. Have heard of a few, but were disasters from one side's view or another. Usually the places that allow them are not in the best shape.

We've got acreage, but remember we are also known for our fog.
post #5 of 70

is the desired second language  French Spanish or other ?

post #6 of 70

Park City?

post #7 of 70
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post

is the desired second language  French Spanish or other ?

I wondered the same, then figured they were in Guatemala. If they have any bilingual preschools here, I'm sure it was an accident that they hired someone who happens to speak another language.
post #8 of 70
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I wondered the same, then figured they were in Guatemala. If they have any bilingual preschools here, I'm sure it was an accident that they hired someone who happens to speak another language.

Wait....what?  The OP said they are from Seattle on a Sabbatical (teachers).  I am on my 5th Torpedo, you guys need to keep up.  Anyways OP, I was thinking North Lake Tahoe (Truckee area) may work.  My mountain, Mammoth fits the description, but I would not want my kids going to school there.  That said, can you go to central BC or Europe as those will be better for the kids than much of Merika.  Some other favorites with children would be Steamboat Springs CO, Nelson BC and of course Chamonix FR and damn the preschool costs, you have to pay to play.;)

Edited by liv2 ski - 8/15/14 at 7:17pm
post #9 of 70
But they are currently on sabbatical in a Spanish speaking country, so assumed that their second language was Spanish.
post #10 of 70
Thread Starter 

Yes, Spanish.  Again, that is not required.  I looked at Mont Tremblant, though the housing sitch is way too condo-y.  

post #11 of 70
Reconsider Bend. It is not that far to Batchelor and it's an easy drive. Also the amount of precipitation in Bend is far far far less than Batchelor though it's a half hour drive, so not a whole lot of storms and shoveling.

I also like Sandpoint. If you can live in BC, rather than Whistler maybe Vernon (Silver Star) or Nelson (Whitewater).

Re: Tahoe; Mt Rose is really close to Reno, which would have a lot of the conveniences you're looking for.
post #12 of 70

I'd reconsider Steamboat too, as Liv2 ski mentioned.  And I'm only on my first IPA of the night.


They have a whole section of town that is very walkable to the base area, and many of them are rentable.  The hill is blue groomer paradise, with plenty of challenge as you get better.  It is somewhat isolated, however, and nothing is cheap there.  You'll never think back later "dang it, shouldn't have spent a winter there".

post #13 of 70
Re-thinking the walkable issue for Whitefish. I suppose you could spend three months on the mountain, have the kids at the day care there, then relocate downtown and put them in the daycare at The Wave. The Wave is sort of like the YMCA, but nicer than many. Still not sure about the dog issue. There might be some units at Ptarmigan Village that allow them. But once the mountain closes, I can't imagine staying up there from April through June. If you gave up on the second trip to the mountain after in town daycare, you could stay in town the whole time. The rental market is really tight, though. Fairly sure you'll have to go through a property management company and the dog issue will cause problems. Although @Alpenglow is renting a place and he has a dog.
post #14 of 70

There are many places in the world beside western ski towns fitting your requirements. A lot of them are closer to "civilization" than the nearest Walmart. Also take a look at Andorra, not the biggest ski resorts but would keep you interested. Local version of  "Spanish" spoken, no end of shopping, under 2 1/2 hours to Barcelona, Perpignan or Toulouse.     

post #15 of 70
Thread Starter 

Europe would be great, but six months is impossible.  You automatically get a 90 day tourist visa for all 20 plus Schengen countries, but then you have to leave all 20 plus Schengen countries for 90 days.  Temp residency visas are possible, but you have to have a verifiable reason and "having fun" isn't one of them.  We even asked the French Embassy of if our kids could get student visas for going to preschool.  Laughter ensued.  Also, depending on the country, it costs at least $5,000 to apply for a temp residency visa.  This, on top of an already expensive place to live is a tough pill to swallow.  


Since posting, I have learned there are two Spanish immersion preschools in Truckee.  Good news, but a bit odd.  There is a large latino population, but they want their kids to learn English, so I'm not sure why those schools aren't bilingual.  

post #16 of 70

forgot about that "new" 90 day limit. I've often stayed for longer periods but not recently.  No one will advertise it but many countries are fairly liberal in extending status locally once your actually there; provided you can sufficiently demonstrate your not a financial burden and have a compelling reason to ultimately exit. Being able to prove your returning to a good job is fairly good evidence of both.

Worse case could be 3 months skiing in some interesting country followed by 3 months of just good skiing. What a problem 

post #17 of 70
I know you said Whistler was too expensive. However, they have the great "Valley kids" preschool, for 3-4yo. This is basically preschool combined with ski school, which runs 2 days per week. It is reasonably pricey, but includes ski school tuition etc. Most of the local kids go there.

It would be worth trying to find a mountain with something similar. That way your 4yo would end up being great little skiiers by the time they finished.
post #18 of 70
Truckee is a good choice, plenty of pet friendly rentals
1.5 hours to Sacramento, 45 minutes to Reno
Plenty of world class ski areas with inexpensive passes and reasonable lesson programs

Tahoe Donner may work for you with the preschoolers
You can ski at another resort while they are in school also
Again multiple passes are very inexpensive which makes this possible
post #19 of 70

South Lake Tahoe (adjacent to Heavenly ski area) seems to have a lot of extra lodging due to summer being the biggest tourist season there.  Agree that North Lake Tahoe might also be nice spot, but housing not as close to slopes.  Park City, UT, Winter Park or Crested Butte, CO, Jackson, WY might also be worth investigating with communities at or close to the slopes.  As you know it's not easy finding affordable housing in a town-like setting very close to a decent ski area, but six months rental period is long enough to give you some possible choices.  Also, the fact that you don't need a really huge/challenging ski area might work in your favor for lower costs. Would be interesting to hear from other members with outside-the-box suggestions on lesser known areas such as Silver Mtn/Kellog, Idaho?

Would you consider New England, that would open a whole new round of suggestions?

post #20 of 70

I'll throw Summit County Colorado into the mix with a twist.


I would have to say Summit County is already Bi-lingual.  Most pre-schools are teaching in English since you need a command of the language in the US.  Consider hiring a 'Bi-lingual Nanny'. I would contact 'The Family and Intercultural Resource Center'. (http://www.summitfirc.org/) They are primarily a  nonprofit working with families and individuals in Summit County, Colorado, in the areas of emergency assistance and parenting.  I think they would be able to provide information for your pre-school requirements.


Renting a house that permits dogs is possible.  You may need to spend $$$ for housing.  To balance - The skiing is cheap compared to some places mentioned.  http://www.summitdaily.com/ will lead you to the local newspaper and classified ads for housing.


FREE Transportation is available in most neighborhoods.  All ski areas are on scheduled transportation.


There is plenty to do beyond skiing.  All towns are recreation oriented.



If I we in your shoes I'd be looking at Interlaken Switzerland or Innsbruck Austria myself.  But I need Senior Resource/Services.

post #21 of 70
A home run town would include a bilingual preschool.  



Red River/Taos, NM.

post #22 of 70

I'll come back to Steamboat.  Town is still reasonably a town. Western (ranch) culture still exists.  Not as full or busy as Lake Tahoe area.  Can't walk to mountain, but it's a quick drive, so you could drop kids off -- or you could ski at Howelson Hill, which is local, community hill.  LOTS of community spirit.  

post #23 of 70
Thread Starter 

We would consider New England.  We are in the brainstorming phase right now.

post #24 of 70
Tahoe north shore could work. If you look at incline village you have diamond peak in the village, mt rose 10 minutes away. 30 minutes to reno or carson. No idea on schools but I suapect there are plenty of options
post #25 of 70

Not sure from the OP if the pre school requirement is to enable you to ski without the kids or a full time concern? Some resorts have onsite day cares which allow you to drop the kids off whilst you ski. We used to use the daycare facilities at Sunrise in AZ to ski without the kids when they were little. Considering that you seem to have a budget, full time daycare is a huge expense considering neither of you are working (sabbatical). Just asking, with two kids daycare was a bigger burden than our mortgage and hard to justify if one of us wasn't working.

post #26 of 70
Thread Starter 

For school, we do half days at a bilingual Montessori in Antigua, 5 days a week.  We do it mostly for their development, but also for our sanity.  It seems to be a good balance between me/us time and family time.  We pay about $320/month for both right now.  The increase in that expense is the single biggest budget concern with moving back to the states.  Luckily, it will only be for 6 months and then all those property taxes I have paid for all those years will finally start paying some dividends with free school for the next 13 years.  


We want to ski in the morning ourselves, pick up the kids at lunch time, and then head back to the slopes for family time.  Rough life, I know.   


I looked into the drop in child care option at Heavenly and it is like $200/day.  Ouch.  

post #27 of 70

Looking at New England, check out North Conway, NH.  Cranmore Mt. is right in town, and Wildcat and Attitash are a short drive.  Plenty of shopping and restaurants in town, and you're only 2 hours or less from Boston.  Don't know anything about the day care situation.  Stowe would be nice, but I bet it's ridiculously expensive.

post #28 of 70
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

Red River/Taos, NM.

Red River is a possible and less obvious suggestion.  Things probably fairly cheap there and very close/contiguous to medium/smallish ski hill.  Likely lots of Spanish speakers in the area.  Don't know about preschools.

post #29 of 70

Ketchum, ID.  Right on Sun Valley's doorstep.  Nice old town with a beautiful natural setting and lots of options for non-ski activities.  Lots of rich folk which may mean high costs.


I wonder if you'll find a place that has the access requirements that you want and is within your budget. There are lots of places that are within 20 minutes or less of a mountain that would be amazingly good, but when you add a ski area in town prices skyrocket.  Now you're competing with the rich.

post #30 of 70
+1 for Reno area. Just did quick 'bilingual preschool' and came up w/ https://reno.craigslist.org/kid/4562236098.html. Civilization exists, and rent isn't crazy. Mt Rose is 1/2 hr from town and has lots of blues and greens.
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