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Speaking of retiring/relocating to the mountains...

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
We're thinking about pulling up stakes next Summer and moving. Our short list for the moment has either Durango (CO), Spokane (WA) and Northern Idaho on it. We want our kids to have access to better schools and reasonable housing prices when the time comes. They will nver be able to afford to buy a house in Southern Cal.

Anyway, we know about Durango for the most part but want to hear from people in eastern Washington and Idaho. What are the positives and negatives...political, weather, TAXES (property, sales and income) in both states? I thought I've read in the past that WA has ratehr high property taxes.

How far is Spokane from the Interior BC resorts?

How about other land access issues for riding dirt bikes, mtn bikes, etc...

Thanks in advance for your input!!!
post #2 of 28
Spo-compton is a shithole, but the Coeur d'Alene area is really quite nice. Spok-angeles is only a few hours from the Nelson area, which is the closest best skiing. Nearby is 49 Degrees North and Silver Mtn (a ways a way I suppose in Idaho). Anyways, if you like getting piss drunk with rednecks who do lots of drugs in the ORV sand dunes, anywhere west of Spokane for a couple hours is fun. If you like the outdoors and anything involving trees, anything east of the WA state line is good times. Eastern Washington tends to be heavy into the agriculture lifestyle, very heavily Republican and they hate paying taxes for all the monuments the local legistlators in Seattle can dream up. There's been talk for decades of splitting the state into two parts, since anything east of the Cascades is pretty much a different mindset. Idaho is just Idaho...
post #3 of 28
LOL, I will be moving to the Seattle area mid to late summer (hopefully) to be with family. There are no crazy lefties or righties in that area are there? I consider myself definitely to be on the right, but I do not have any plans to join a millitia, or anything. Anyway, what are some good ski areas in NorWestern Washington? I enjoy some steeps, but I also enjoy uncrowded groomers too.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brokedown Palace
LOL, I will be moving to the Seattle area mid to late summer (hopefully) to be with family. There are no crazy lefties or righties in that area are there? I consider myself definitely to be on the right, but I do not have any plans to join a millitia, or anything. Anyway, what are some good ski areas in NorWestern Washington? I enjoy some steeps, but I also enjoy uncrowded groomers too.

Hah hah, I guess you never read about the WTO riots.... Anyhow, the Seattle metropolitan area in general and nearly as a whole is very left leaning. The suburbs are a mix (of course), and the outlying (read: hick) towns tend to be more centered/right, politically speaking.

BTW, nobody calls it "NorWestern Washington". As for ski areas near the Seattle area; uncrowded = weekdays.
post #5 of 28
I found Seattle to be about two hours drive from pretty much any skiing. This was a big disappointment to me who had always thought of it as close to my ideal spot. Someone at Crystal told me that Wenatchee (spelling) would be the place I'd like, based on my ideals.
Wisconsin keeps looking better because of snowmaking and easily accessable night skiing. (real skiers don't have real jobs)(in the daytime)
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerBoy
Spo-compton is a shithole, but the Coeur d'Alene area is really quite nice. Spok-angeles is only a few hours from the Nelson area, which is the closest best skiing. Nearby is 49 Degrees North and Silver Mtn (a ways a way I suppose in Idaho). Anyways, if you like getting piss drunk with rednecks who do lots of drugs in the ORV sand dunes, anywhere west of Spokane for a couple hours is fun. If you like the outdoors and anything involving trees, anything east of the WA state line is good times. Eastern Washington tends to be heavy into the agriculture lifestyle, very heavily Republican and they hate paying taxes for all the monuments the local legistlators in Seattle can dream up. There's been talk for decades of splitting the state into two parts, since anything east of the Cascades is pretty much a different mindset. Idaho is just Idaho...
Well, I guess I'll find out how Spokane compares to Compton in a few weeks!!

The area we're going to look out is around Nine Mile Falls...outside of Spokane.
post #7 of 28
LOL, it must be the hick in me y'all.
post #8 of 28
Wenatchee is fairly close to Stevens Pass, which is a day use area with lots of snow and huge weekend crowds. It has some decent terrain and can be really nice on weekdays or on weekends in March and April. Much closer is Mission Ridge, which is a locals area. It has some nice terrain and not much in the way of crowds. There are not many steeps, but I had a nice time there last year skiing the trees and found some fun short shots as well as wide open groomers. Snow depth at Mission can be problematical.


Politically Wenatchee is conservative. It is tucked between the eastern foothills of the Cascades and the Columbia River. Fruit growing and other agriculture are the big industries there. It is a beautiful setting but way too right wing for my tastes.
post #9 of 28
I didn't mean political ideals.
What a shame that that sort of thing has to be considered these days.
post #10 of 28
Slatz: Yakima, WA. Closest town to White Pass. Reno, NV Closest town to about a dozen areas. I've skiied in Wisconsin. I think you can do better.
post #11 of 28
Spokane is a nasty place, but Sandpoint, Idaho is pretty nice for that corner of the world. I went house hunting up there a couple of weeks ago and found it expensive on the high end but reasonable for the midpriced houses. Schweitzer has good skiing just up the road. A friend of ours left Bend for Sandpoint several years ago and just loves the place.

We nixed it in the end because they are planning on filling in Sand Creek to build a truck route, and Idaho politics in general.
post #12 of 28
The advantage I have here is that I'm less than 30 min from the lifts and they have night skiing. My racers get hundreds of gates each night. During the season I ski six days/nights per week. The seventh is a "travel day".
Over Memorial Day weekend I coached a Rocky/Central development camp for J4s and 3s. Most of the kids lived in a town a couple hours from the lifts and only skied on weekends. This left little time for training during the competition season. My observation was that most of my kids at home skied better than these kids.
My property 10 miles from Mt Ashland looks better all the time. The only drawback is they don't have the almost guarenteed snow in December. Tyrol Basin is usually open more days per season than Mt Ashland.
My origional idea of the Seattle area came long ago when I found out there was night skiing there. I figured I'd have to work days, as I do now. I was disappointed to find that it was such a long drive to most any area. These days you pretty much have to be wealthy to live close to the lifts I guess.
post #13 of 28
K2Rider:
Don't believe all the negative stuff above about Spokane. I grew up there and would move back in a heartbeat if I could find the right job. Just like any city, there are good and bad parts. The area you're considering (Nine Mile Falls) is a great area. I thought the public school system in Eastern Washington was good. When I left (1989), the school system in Coeur d'Alene was lacking as CDA has become a retirement community and they could never get a bond measure passed to build new schools. Back then, CDA HIgh School was running two shifts, but they may have corrected the problem since then. Housing prices are low (at least they were the last time I checked). You've got no state income tax in Washington, but I understand property taxes are a little on the high side. It's hard to beat the region for water sports - there must be 100 lakes within an hour of Spokane.

I think you're better off for skiing, though, if you lived in CDA, Post Falls, or Liberty Lake. The best, closest skiing is going to be in Schweitzer or Silver Mountain. Nine Mile puts you an extra half hour away. I've never been, but Red Mountain is the closest BC ski area and it's about 2 1/2 hours from Spokane.
post #14 of 28
I've known a few people that have lived in Spokane and dearly miss it after having to relocate to other places. One of my best friends still lives there. Spokane itself is a rather bland town but really not that bad. If you look you can find some good ethnic food, live culture and art.

Its big advantage is its close to some great outdoor opportunities. Mt. Spokane and Silver Mountain are within an hour. Switzer is within 2 hours. Red Mountain is 3 hours away & is one of my favorite places to ski. Besides skiing Spokane is close to great biking, white water, fishing, boating & hiking.
post #15 of 28
How close is Whistler/Blackolm, BC to Seattle? It is a ski area that I will have to check out. Please share your experiences if you have skied/been there.
post #16 of 28
watch out for the 'californiacation' of the northwest states. They move in raise the price of cost of living and the locals( those born there) are forced to move, cause they cannot afford to live there.
I saw it happend in Park City the 15 years i lived there.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoetr
watch out for the 'californiacation' of the northwest states. They move in raise the price of cost of living and the locals( those born there) are forced to move, cause they cannot afford to live there.
I saw it happend in Park City the 15 years i lived there.
What do you call it with all the people that have moved to California and created all the traffic and drove up our housing prices to the point where my kids will never be able to buy a house here?

Everybody likes to bag on Californians moving out to "their" state. Well, they wouldn't have to move to find a decent place to live if everybody else would have stayed in "thier" own state to start with.

Just another theory for you to chew on....
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brokedown Palace
How close is Whistler/Blackolm, BC to Seattle? It is a ski area that I will have to check out. Please share your experiences if you have skied/been there.
Whistler is about 4 1/2 hours from Seattle depending on traffic, lines at the border, and where you start from in the metropolitan area.
post #19 of 28
Slatz: You are aware that Snoqualmie Pass is about a 40 minute drive from the Eastside of Seattle, right? And that they have one of the largest night skiing operations in the nation, right? Lots of racing too, I guess. Nobody bothers racing in the rain or on pow days though.
post #20 of 28
Did not know that. Although I think they were closed when I was there in mid-April.
I drove all the way to Baker in a blinding rainstorm only to be turned back about 3 miles from the area because the tires on my rental car didn't have traction in the heavy snow the rain turned into.
The coach I know from the Seattle area told me "rain gear is part of it" out there.
post #21 of 28
I lived in Spokane for 3 1/2 years, preceeded by 5 years in Missoula, and in Durango for the last 20. Completely different in every way. Durango is about 1/10th the size of Spokane and runs on a tourist economy. Cost of living is vastly more, but the weather is infinitelly better. Spokane has that NW constant overcast and lots of fog in the winter. Durango is sunny 9 out of 10 days.

Spokane is basically the same 200 miles in every direction. Durango is were the high mountains meet the desert, so the outdoor options are much better with canyon lands and 14,000 ft mountains close bye.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Did not know that. Although I think they were closed when I was there in mid-April.
I drove all the way to Baker in a blinding rainstorm only to be turned back about 3 miles from the area because the tires on my rental car didn't have traction in the heavy snow the rain turned into.
The coach I know from the Seattle area told me "rain gear is part of it" out there.
If you're making judgements on skiing near Seattle based on what you saw this year in mid-April you will get it wrong for sure. I'm sure you're aware that this was the worst year EVER in this region. If you're looking for close-in night skiing, Seattle and environs has lots of it. Just not this year. And, yes, it rains, but it snows lots too.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
I lived in Spokane for 3 1/2 years, preceeded by 5 years in Missoula, and in Durango for the last 20. Completely different in every way. Durango is about 1/10th the size of Spokane and runs on a tourist economy. Cost of living is vastly more, but the weather is infinitelly better. Spokane has that NW constant overcast and lots of fog in the winter. Durango is sunny 9 out of 10 days.

Spokane is basically the same 200 miles in every direction. Durango is were the high mountains meet the desert, so the outdoor options are much better with canyon lands and 14,000 ft mountains close bye.
If that isn't an exaggeration, that is a super ignorant opinion. Why? Because Missoula is 198.52 miles away, according to Mapquest. Do you really believe that Missoula and Spokane are the same, especially having lived in both places? Do you really believe there is nothing to do in between?!? Even better, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada (ever been there?) is 160 miles north. Lots of really amazing skiing in the Nelson/Rossland area.

phfet is right -- this winter was the worst in decades in Washington. The opening day at Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass was April 2nd, seriously.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
....preceeded by 5 years in Missoula, .
Missoula huh? When was the last time you skied Snowbowl?
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog
Spokane is a nasty place, but Sandpoint, Idaho is pretty nice for that corner of the world. I went house hunting up there a couple of weeks ago and found it expensive on the high end but reasonable for the midpriced houses. Schweitzer has good skiing just up the road. A friend of ours left Bend for Sandpoint several years ago and just loves the place.

We nixed it in the end because they are planning on filling in Sand Creek to build a truck route, and Idaho politics in general.
I just moved up to Sandpoint. I've been here long enough to get a haircut and a driver's license, so I guess I'm a local...by local standards at least.

Sandpoint does it for me. You've got your pagans, your poverty, your piss-poor roads (too much growth, too fast; and way too much traffic: I can see now why the bypass isn't as controversial as it might be), fine restaurants, great skiing, coffeeshops, great mountain biking, high housing costs, an incredible lakefront park, meadowlarks, Swainson's and Varied thrushes, grizzlies in the nearby Cabinet mountains, rednecks, heads, art galleries, lots of train traffic, a very good health club, a very good library, and a fair number of resentful longtime residents who are torn between cashing in on the boom in housing prices and trying to figure out how to slow things down. And it's in Idaho, which, from my point of view, is the icing on the cake. On the other hand, I've seen two people of color since I've been here, and I think one of them was just passing through. The lack of racial diversity is probably the worst part of the package.

Sandpoint to Fernie: 3 1/2 hrs
Sandpoint to Kicking Horse: 5 1/2 hrs
Sandpoint to Whitewater: 3 hrs
Sandpoint to Red Mountain: 3 hrs
Sandpoint to Schweitzer: 12 miles
post #26 of 28
[quote=BakerBoy]If that isn't an exaggeration, that is a super ignorant opinion. Why? Because Missoula is 198.52 miles away, according to Mapquest. Do you really believe that Missoula and Spokane are the same, especially having lived in both places? Do you really believe there is nothing to do in between?!? Even better, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada (ever been there?) is 160 miles north. Lots of really amazing skiing in the Nelson/Rossland area.

My comparison was of Spokane and Durango as towns, both places I have lived and which are vastly different. I mentioned that I lived in Missolua for 5 years to show that I was familiar with the area and not just Spokane. I did not compare the skiing, although I have skied 49 Degrees North, Red Mountain, Whitewater, Fernie, Mt. Spokane, Schwitzer, Big Mountain, Bridger Bowl and worked on the mountain at Snow Bowl for 5 years (last skied the Bowl 4 years ago, and it still rocks). I have skied BC several times in the last few years. The skiing is good in the NW.

My point was that I am familiar with the NW skiing, mountains and weather. I have skied everyone of those areas mentioned in the fog at one time, and some the majority of the time. The northwest has some great skiing, great country, and beautiful mountains, but the weather is vastly nicer in SW Colorado. Maybe in my old age I just don't like skiing in flat light everyday. My last 10-day ski trip to Spokane, Nelson, Missoula it never snowed, and I never saw the sun.

Spokane is a wonderful city, a good place to live, and has some great skiing within a reasonable drive, but almost anyplace that you can go for a weekend from Spokane you are getting basically the same terrain and weather. It's nice, but nothing like the variety you get here with the desert, canyon lands, and mountains together. It rained 22 days straight in Spokane when I was there. If it rains more than 3 days in a row in Durango people are amazed. We don't have a mud season, because that's when you hit the desert. Tomorrow I can drive 2.5 hours and ski 14,000 peaks or bike in Moab. Besides Telluride, Taos, Wolf Creek and Purgatory, the Grand Canyon is within 200 miles of Durango. The NW is a great place but there are mountain evironments with better weather and variety.
post #27 of 28
Bend, Oregon has a combination of the attributes discussed here. High desert climate and other activities like Durango, but a much longer ski season. I would be somewhat frustrated in Durango seeing the lifts shut down first weekend of April every year with close to peak ski conditions. Sure the other activities are in full swing by then, but that's true in Bend too and you still get 3,100 vertical of skiing to Memorial Day. November/December coverage/reliability is much better at Bachelor also.
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to chime in again and say THANK YOU for all the information so far.

For what it's worth, skiing/snowboarding is low on the priority list overall here for us. We're more looking at OVERALL quality of life issues. The quality of schools, lack of social ills (gangs, homeless, etc...), weather, cost of living....yada, yada, yada!!

Durango still is our 1st choice but Spokane looked good because of access to multiple colleges for the kids, better housing prices and better access to employment for my wife (business mgmt type). However, the weather issues mentioned (RAIN, not cold or hot) seem to favor the Durango area overall. Durango is also closer to our family in California and Texas.
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