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Moving to Colorado

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm a senior in college this fall and plan on moving to Colorado shortly after I graduate next spring. I'm looking for a great ski town with a decent size population around 10,000 or so year around. Being from Arkansas I'm a huge outdoorsman, I would be looking for a town near (few hours) public hunting grounds, and great trout fisheries. I also kayak and do a little bit of Mountain biking. My main goals are to be able to work on the Mountain during ski season and possibly land a fly fishing guide job during the summer months. I have only been to Keystone and Breckenridge a few times times but I am open to any and all recommendations.

post #2 of 13

Good luck... there is tons of competition everywhere in Colorado for both those jobs. You can find them, but don't expect them to pay very well. If I were seeking out those two gigs I would seriously consider Montana (Missoula / Big Sky / Whitefish.) 

 

In Colorado I would avoid Summit County if you want a rustic mountain experience. Places I would look in CO are: Durango, Crested Butte, Salida (work at Monarch Ski Area), Telluride and Aspen (if you have money to get settled...pricey!), Eagle-Vail-Avon, Fraiser (work at Winter Park), and Georgetown (work at Loveland.) 

post #3 of 13

10000 in Colorado is considered "bigger city" by City-Data.com Even Aspen is only 6,611.

 

Cortez, CO might fit your bill though. It is about 8,500. IT's not a "resort town" and so would be reasonable. They have great fishing and hunting. Trout Lake and Delores River. plenty of Mountain biking and boating on the Animas River (that is once the toxic mine waste is dealt with!) It's pretty close (+- 1 hour) to Telluride.

 

The town I would choose if i were in your shoes, though, is Salida. It is smaller than you are looking for (5,000+). Young, small town with a big summer draw, especially for kayaking, MTB and near loads of elk and deer hunting horseback riding. It's rural, southern CO and would be reasonable expense. It's close to Buena Vista which is a bit larger and has other opportunities for summer jobs.

 

Pagosa Springs is another option, although it's even smaller. (Wolf Creek Ski area) It was known more for its hunting and fishing than its skiing and hiking/biking, but that is changing. Still, all those things available in spades there. It too, would not be prohibitively expensive like some of the better known resorts/towns might be.

 

One ski town that comes in at over 10K is Steamboat Springs at 12,000. It's a great town with plenty of biking, kayaking, and skiing. Don't know about the hunting culture there though. Rodeo yes, hunting, not so much. Also not cheap. You could contact Finndog here for advice on Steamboat

 

Durango also is 17K population. It's near Purgatory and near Silverton, and not super far from Wolf Creek. Anachronism lives there (I think) and could provide advice.

 

 

Summit County and Vail area would give you a combined population, but they would also be relatively expensive and not so much of a hunting/fishing culture, I would guess.

post #4 of 13

Any experience making NY style pizza?  

post #5 of 13

Do you plan on using your degree or wasting money?  Either way it'll be expensive to start.

 

Consider starting at Steamboat.

 

Numerous hunting/fishing opportunity.  Not much choice of the Ski Area (just little ones).

 

Enough town for almost anything else you expect in towns.  Food, Bars, Encounters with Others.

 

If it's too rural, you can always pick up and move.

post #6 of 13
Whitefish

Mountain biking in summer, check. Both on mountain and around the town where there is an extensive trail system.

Kayaking. Check.

Fishing. Check.

Hunting. Double check. Half the houses use dead animals extensively in their decor. Extensive public lands in every direction.

Town itself is only around 6400 or so, but the zip code is more like 12000. Box stores are available down in Kalispell.

They are currently hiring for winter.

But, rental market is impossibly tight. Find a roommate situation on Craigslist.

Good bars. Good breweries. Laid back, non-glitzy atmosphere. Dress code, no matter the restaurant, is always jeans. The town is a real town all year round. We mostly get overrun with tourists in summer, when I avoid leaving the house for weeks (can hike out my back door). Only issue is how do you feel about Canadians?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
 

10000 in Colorado is considered "bigger city" by City-Data.com Even Aspen is only 6,611.

 

Cortez, CO might fit your bill though. It is about 8,500. IT's not a "resort town" and so would be reasonable. They have great fishing and hunting. Trout Lake and Delores River. plenty of Mountain biking and boating on the Animas River (that is once the toxic mine waste is dealt with!) It's pretty close (+- 1 hour) to Telluride.

 

The town I would choose if i were in your shoes, though, is Salida. It is smaller than you are looking for (5,000+). Young, small town with a big summer draw, especially for kayaking, MTB and near loads of elk and deer hunting horseback riding. It's rural, southern CO and would be reasonable expense. It's close to Buena Vista which is a bit larger and has other opportunities for summer jobs.

 

Pagosa Springs is another option, although it's even smaller. (Wolf Creek Ski area) It was known more for its hunting and fishing than its skiing and hiking/biking, but that is changing. Still, all those things available in spades there. It too, would not be prohibitively expensive like some of the better known resorts/towns might be.

 

One ski town that comes in at over 10K is Steamboat Springs at 12,000. It's a great town with plenty of biking, kayaking, and skiing. Don't know about the hunting culture there though. Rodeo yes, hunting, not so much. Also not cheap. You could contact Finndog here for advice on Steamboat

 

Durango also is 17K population. It's near Purgatory and near Silverton, and not super far from Wolf Creek. Anachronism lives there (I think) and could provide advice.

 

 

Summit County and Vail area would give you a combined population, but they would also be relatively expensive and not so much of a hunting/fishing culture, I would guess.

 

I live North of Bayfield in the foothills. Its 25 miles to Durango, 35 to Pagosa, I work in Durango and ski Wolf, although Purg and SIlverton are similar distances in the other direction (Purg a little closer than Wolf, Silvy a little longer).

 

All of these towns are varying degrees of affordable- generally the further away from Durango you go, the cheaper it gets. Durango proper is not terribly affordable but better than most mountain towns- the market for a proper home in city limits starts around $400,000. We paid half that for a very, very nice 2000 square foot house on some acreage with a 100 mile view. Pagosa is cheaper than Bayfield, and Cortez is simply cheap.

 

The San Juan's are great. You won't have any trouble finding a place to hunt here. Fishing is hit or miss- either really good or really bad depending on what is feeding the river and what feeds the rivers- many in the San Juans run through drainages with tons of heavy metals that make the waters lifeless- and this is before the mine drainage issues of which a major one just hit the news. Vallecito Reservoir NE of Durango- "around the corner" from my house, has given up trophy Northern Pike and Browns, although many of the huge fish were taken before a fish kill in the aftermath of a 2002 wildfire. Still, the lake has rebounded and is a great space for large coldwater fish.

 

As for biking, Durango is MTB sacred ground as one of the places where the sport originated. Lots of superb trails. 

 

River sports are pretty huge here. Navajo Reservoir is a smaller version of Powell, and there are many other really nice lakes around.

 

As for other stuff, there is a lot of Ancestral Pueblo Ruins around (think Mesa Verde, which is 30 miles W of Durango). More people lived here then than do now, and sites are all over the place and a lot of fun to (respectfully) hike to an explore.

 

The San Juans offer up some of the best ski terrain in the state with none of the crowds. Living in the area puts Telluride, Purg, Silverton, and Wolf in day ski range, and Crested Butte and Taos an easy weekend drive. Telluride, Silverton, Taos, and CB make almost any top 10 list of ski terrain in the US, and Wolf gets much more snow than anywhere else in Colorado with terrain that doesn't suck either.

post #8 of 13

The best thing about southwest CO is there are no major cities with millions of people.

post #9 of 13

You should move to Denver and get a cubicle job so you can daydream about skiing all week and spend 8 hours a weekend sitting in traffic on I-70 so you can ski crowded slopes in Summit County. Man, I've got to reorganize my life.:mad

 

Seriously, though. Steamboat or Durango sound like they would fit the bill.

post #10 of 13

I've also thought that the Durango area would make a nice place to live.  Just the right size and the San Juans...  Wow!  Sure, the fishing is better in other places but I enjoyed the few days I spent fly fishing in the area.

I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, but my first thought when reading your first sentence was, 'This young man needs to look into Montana.'  Look, the skiing may be better in other locales but it is nonetheless really good.  The fishing?  Come on, it's MT!  Anyway, some food for thought.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post

You should move to Denver and get a cubicle job so you can daydream about skiing all week and spend 8 hours a weekend sitting in traffic on I-70 so you can ski crowded slopes in Summit County. Man, I've got to reorganize my life.mad.gif

Seriously, though. Steamboat or Durango sound like they would fit the bill.


Hmmm.....live in Denver check
Cubicle job check
Ski mostly weekends and holidays (60ish days per year) check
Ski summit county almost exclusively check

Slopes aren't crowded other than 3 or 4 predictable weekends per year and theere are strategies for avoiding said crowds.....namely ski bumps
Never spent more than 3.5 hours total per roundtrip commuting last season although i have occasionally over the last ten seasons gotten caught in road closure but not very many times.


It is possible to ski Summit on weekends and stay mostly away from.crowds and traffic, it just takes planning, effort and some cash or generous friends couch's.
post #12 of 13
This is why I love epic ski. No matter how mundane or tongue-in-cheek you try to be, somebody will come along to argue with you. Yes, I exaggerate (slightly) about the traffic. Yes I enjoy being an I-70 weekend warrior much more than I would enjoy living far away from the mountains. Yes I know how to avoid the crowds with a little planning and effort. But it's not the ideal mountain lifestyle I believe OP is looking for or that I pine for in moments of self pity.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post

This is why I love epic ski. No matter how mundane or tongue-in-cheek you try to be, somebody will come along to argue with you. Yes, I exaggerate (slightly) about the traffic. Yes I enjoy being an I-70 weekend warrior much more than I would enjoy living far away from the mountains. Yes I know how to avoid the crowds with a little planning and effort. But it's not the ideal mountain lifestyle I believe OP is looking for or that I pine for in moments of self pity.

That's totally untrue and I take issue with every word of it biggrin.gif
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