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What should I do (aka where should we live)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello all!
I'm not sure who else could help me with this so here I go….
BIG IDEA
Is there a place out west to live reasonably and be near a nice resort? I know places like vail are out of the question and I don't know how to look for such a place. Idaho seems nice but I've not been there and here mixed thigns about snow and season...
We would just like a small place under 200k. I plan to teach full/part time in winter and figure soemthign out in the summer...
THE WIFE
Now the wife would really like a warmer place to live, with outfdoors stuff to do and a nice library in town..
SO…
Is my best bet to get a warm weather place (AZ, NEV, ???) and spen winter months as an instructor living in employee houseing…
AGE
We are in our early 40s, hoping to make the switch in 2-3 years…

WHAT I REALLY WANT
I'd like to hire a person to figure all this out and say: go here and here and see what you like!!!!

Thanks

P.S. I can only check this forum from home at nights now (one more reason to quite my job!)....
post #2 of 26

Montrose, Colorado

Montrose, Colorado.

Oodles of outdoor recreation choices. Out of the mountains enough to be warmer for your wife, close enough to Telluride and to backcountry skiing to fulfill all your skiing needs. Far enough away from the upscale resorts that housing is still "somewhat" reasonble.



And the best flyfishing reels in America are made right there in town.

Ross Reels
post #3 of 26

where to live

Thanks for the info...although some one else asked the question.

If the Dow jones keeping heading south I will be looking for a tent to live in!
post #4 of 26
Interesting choice. I was wondering how Cortez is these days? Warmer, near canyonlands. I remember a bit of a hick town but I haven't been there for years.
post #5 of 26
Somewhere in Montana? From what I hear not much to do besides outdoors activities, but if that's what you love, go for it! Also the Interior BC seems pretty nice with tons of extremely challenging skiing and seems primed for a huge boom in the coming years.
post #6 of 26
If it's just you and the wife (no kids), you could find a place in Winter Park or Fraser, Colorado for under $200K, especially if you're considering a 1 bedroom. However, you'd be looking at a condo and you'd have to factor in monthly HOA fees. Currently you could find a 2 bedroom condo in an older unit for under $200k in WP and certainly in Fraser.

Great library in Fraser and new one being built in Granby. Close to Grand Lake (largest natural lake in CO), Rocky Mountain National Park, and YMCA of the Rockies. Sol Vista is a smaller resort in Granby that might also offer you instructor opportunities. No one would call WP or Fraser warm, but only an hour from Denver. It can reach the high 80s occassionally in the summer in WP, however.

Prices will be higher in 3 years for sure -- lots of development and investment in the mountain going on. I guess there's a chance even 1 bedrooms in older units will climb to the $200K range. However, Granby would still be in your price range and possibly Fraser.

http://www.realtywinterpark.com
(I highly recommend Marla Erlandson as a real estate agent)
http://www.skiwinterpark.com
http://www.playwinterpark.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Good luck!
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esquiador
If it's just you and the wife (no kids), you could find a place in Winter Park or Fraser, Colorado for under $200K, Great library in Fraser and new one being built in Granby. No one would call WP or Fraser warm, but only an hour from Denver. !
Dude, he was thinking about a warmer spot! Fraser calls its self "the icebox of the nation". They average 16 frost free days a year.

I've done a lot of xc skiing there. Wonderful trails but the snow is so cold in the morning it is like skating on styrofoam.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog
Dude, he was thinking about a warmer spot! Fraser calls its self "the icebox of the nation". They average 16 frost free days a year.

I've done a lot of xc skiing there. Wonderful trails but the snow is so cold in the morning it is like skating on styrofoam.
Yeah. Warmer weather is the primary reason that Montrose came to mind for me.

A good friend who's an anesthesiologist moved there about ten years ago and really likes it. Small town feel; warm sunny weather; close enough to Telluride that he could go ski regularly; great mountain biking right outside of town on the Uncompaghre Plateau; climbing, biking, fishing and rafting right outside of town in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; growing town but not exploding.

We've visited a couple of times and really liked it.

Montrose certainly could be on his list and would be worth checking out.

Driggs or Victor, Idaho, also came to mind but they're not quite so warm during the winter (although a lot closer to good skiing).
post #9 of 26
Lots of smaller areas in southern Utah, Colorado or New Mexico would fit the bill.
post #10 of 26
Montrose is a good choice. It's enough of a 'real' town to satisfy you and your wife. it has a real airport, so you don't get stuck. It's close to Telluride and Silverton etc.

Farmington, NM is close to Silverton, Wolf Creek and Durango and is quite warm if not the most charming city, but it is a city, has a college, library, etc.

Taos itself is too expensive, but there are lots of towns near there where you can easily find housing in your price range. and NM has very mild winters once you get down to the valley. Even Albuquerque could be a choice if you wife wants to work in a city with all those amenities.

Salida is near Monarch and not that far from Copper et al and is still very reasonable. in fact, there are a lot of So. Co. towns in that general area that are quite depressed where housing would be cheap if you don't mind a rural lifestyle. Not cold like Fraser, but not warm like NV and probably not great library, but heck you have the internet....

Don't know about UT or NV
post #11 of 26
Another possibility for a warmer-weather spot would be Cedar City, Utah. While the altitude puts the summer temps in a more reasonable range (80's and 90's) than that retirement haven down the road (St. George - 100's), the winters aren't prone to inversions and trapped cold air like the valleys along the Wasatch Front. Plus, it's just a short drive down I-15 to Zions, St. George, and Mesquite, Nevada (!!) if you need a summer fix in winter.

Cedar has a university (Southern Utah State University), a fabulous Shakespearean festival in the summer and fall, and close proximity to some great outdoor adventures. The downside is that nearby lift-served skiing is limited to Brian Head Resort (http://www.brianhead.com/). A fine place to instruct, but if you crave more challenging terrain, you'll be forced to drive north 3 hours. If Elk Meadows is ever resurrected, you'd have a nice steep alternative an hour up the road.









These maps may be printed for personal use, but may not be copied or utilized for any comercial purposes.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Emmett
Another possibility for a warmer-weather spot would be Cedar City, Utah.
Very good one, Bill.

Cedar City is a great town and the outdoor-rec choices are endless. Hiking, climbing, slot canyons, Bryce and Zion Parks.

Ruth and I had a wonderful day of skinning/skiing at Brianhead in mid-May last year. The snow next to the highway right around the corner from the ski area was more than twice as high as our car.
post #13 of 26
Some of this will echo what others have said:

1. Salida or Buena Vista, CO. Affordable, moderately close (1 hr) to good skiing at Copper and Monarch. Salida was voted one of the top 10 towns to move to by Outside Mag last year. I'm not sure if I'd put it in the top 10, but it'd be nice to retire to.

2. Taos, NM. I almost moved there permanently years ago. I lived near there seasonally for 2 summers and loved it. What kept me from moving there was some odd social dynamics that maybe you wouldn't find at your age.

3. Salt Lake? Big city... but maybe something there for you.

4. Carson City, NV? I've had friends who've lived there and really liked it.

5. Denver. Always an option. Boulder too, especially if you like college towns; extra especially if you like college towns like Ann Arbor.

6. Montrose. Well, I know some people that like it there. Personally I don't like the western slope and Telluride, Silverton, or Purgatory isn't a drive I'd enjoy.

You got a few years. It sounds like the perfect excuse for some vacations.
post #14 of 26
The other suggestions are good, here's few more to look into: Grand Junction CO near Powderhorn Ski Area, Glenwood Springs CO near Sunlight and (not too far) Snowmass ski areas, Santa Fe NM (affordability dubious here) near Ski Santa Fe, Durango CO near Durango Mtn Resort/Purgatory, Pagosa Springs or Alamosa/Monte Vista CO near Wolf Creek ski area, Flagstaff/Williams AZ near AZ Snowbowl ski area (esp if they follow through with ski area upgrade), Bend OR near Mt Bachelor ski area. Several of these locations have colleges in or near town for library and scholarly pursuits including Flagstaff, Durango, Grand Junction.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow!

Thanks for all the good stuff, please keep it comming...

Yes, I'm hoping to get out there in the summer one time soon and check out some places, every ones first hand knowledge is much better than trying to figure it out on your own.

Thanks again!
post #16 of 26

Global Warming

Ignoring the political arguments of what's causing it and what (if anything) to do about it, the whole global warming thing really does play into this issue.

I read not long ago that spring is coming approximately 7 days earlier across the US than it did 20-40 years ago. Here in Jackson Hole, daffodils, tulips, and lilacs are all blooming a week to two weeks earlier than they did in the 70's and 80's. Summers are warmer, falls are warmer and longer, and snow isn't piling up in the valley to anywhere near the extent it did a couple of decades ago.

I have it on very good authority that executives in the ski industry are extremely concerned about what this means to the longterm health and economics of many ski resorts. I've heard that the perceived market value of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort may be suffering because our relatively low base elevation may mean lower natural snowfall, higher snowmaking costs, and lower snow quality a few decades from now. This stuff is filtering into the decisions that big shots in the ski industry are making about the future of the sport.

So how does this relate to decisions like the one the original poster is considering?

For instance, even though I think Flagstaff is a wonderful town I wouldn't even consider it if I were thinking about an eventual retirement location where I could ski twenty years from now. Same thing, perhaps, with Taos and Albequerque.

Is a traditionally cold location like Fraser, CO, going to be a smart place to be thirty years from now if you like snow?

I'm just wondering.
post #17 of 26
Bob, I had global warming in mind when I mentioned Fraser -- but didn't want this thread to go political. I figure it'll take the Ice Box longer to warm up than other areas....
post #18 of 26
Durango is at 6,500 ft but within 45min you can drive north up to 11,000 or south down to 4,000. Purgatory is 30 min., Wolf Creek and Silverton Mt. 75 min. and Telluride 2 hrs. Sun shines all the time but it snows just up the road in the mountains, so you get to ski it but usually don't have to shovel it. Got Moab 2 1/2 hrs away and 14,000 ft. peaks even closer. Canyon lands and the biggest non-volcanic mountains in the country. Fantasic mountain biking right from town. You can play golf all year round, great boating from meek up to class 5, lots of fishing (lake and river). Unfortunately the wages are lousy and the cost of living is very high. If you want it all you've got to pay through the nose. If I hadn't been living here for over 20 years I couldn't afford to now.

The problem with most ski towns is that they are in the mountains and you have spring and fall when the weather is wet and you can't do much in the mountains then. Durango is high desert, so we never have a down season. Spring and fall is the perfect time to hit the canyon lands, which is not an option if you go much farther north. I can be on the first chair on a powder day, ski until noon, and be back in the office less than 45 min after leaving the slopes.

The real question is: How much paradise can you afford?
post #19 of 26
Nobody has mentioned the West Coast areas yet, so I will. The advantages are that you can live in a warm (relatively anyway) climate with little to no snow and still acess skiing within an hour or less from many places. There are many non-skiing activities available as well. From here in the "City of Subdued Excitement" we have hiking, mtn. biking, kyaking, canoeing, salt water sailing and boating, river rafting, etc. within a short distance, or even within town. There are other places like this spread out between N. CA and the Canadian border.

Disadvantages are that the snow conditions can be all over the map and the cost of housing is pretty high in most of the region. Also, lots of people are moving in because it's such a nice place.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Ignoring the political arguments of what's causing it and what (if anything) to do about it, the whole global warming thing really does play into this issue.

I read not long ago that spring is coming approximately 7 days earlier across the US than it did 20-40 years ago. Summers are warmer, falls are warmer and longer, and snow isn't piling up in the valley to anywhere near the extent it did a couple of decades ago.

For instance, even though I think Flagstaff is a wonderful town I wouldn't even consider it if I were thinking about an eventual retirement location where I could ski twenty years from now. Same thing, perhaps, with Taos and Albequerque.

Is a traditionally cold location like Fraser, CO, going to be a smart place to be thirty years from now if you like snow?

I'm just wondering.
Thats a good point, and one many people in the sport are talking about.

I've done some digging for data on this and found that the annual fluctuations so far exceed the averages as to override most of my concern. In a warmer world we'll be looking at an upcoming winter saying this winter is 5% less likely to be the snowiest ever than the warmest ever.

I try to find hard data rather than general observations. A friend recently told me it never rained at the ski area he grew up in when he was young but does all the time now. The weather records told a different story, but did show some nice cold winters when he was 9-14. As far a models for the future, I have done too many earth science models to believe they show much more than the bias of the person inputting the variables.

Looking at some data I find some support for Bob's observations about the Yellowstone winters:



But that doesn't seem to apply to all of Wyoming:



And while I can't find a Flagstaff or Taos station, Chama NMex hasn't warmed much


Montrose shows a lot of variability, and average warming.



I think we have a lot of good winters left in our lives. Last year it was in NMex. This year it was in the PNW. If we warm a degree or two it won't end the sport.

(now please don't go into politics here...I'm trying to establish if climate science can tell us what ski town to live in)
post #21 of 26
Newfydog, you are right. most climate scientists (at least the ones with whom i've spoken) will tell you that it's a crap-shoot when trying to predict a specific location. they know global average temps are rising; they'll tell you that weather events may get more intense (droughts, floods, etc). They'll tell you that the further from the equator you go, the more likely (not certain) it is that that climate change will be greater. they also predict that mountain regions will be more noticeably affected sooner simply because the zones change in so short a relative distance with altitude, so you will see those changes as more obvious. What does that mean when looking for a place to live and ski? Absolutely nothing. 'Cause there's simply no way to predict what will happen in one particular place. As you pointed out, a shift in the jet stream can make huge changes in amount of snow for southern vs northern Rockies or PNW as the last two years have shown. And a few feet of altitude or latitude will have minimal effect in comparison to much larger system changes that no one can predict, global warming or not.

So find the town, ski area, etc. that you like and go for it. And don't be dissappointed if there are a couple of thin years here and there. It isn't an amusement park ride with a guarantee - and isn't that one of the reasons we all love it so?
post #22 of 26
One issue I'm not entirely clear on, but I'm sure you're considering, is whether you want to live in a mountain/resort town that's not too far from warmer climates OR live in a warmer climate not too far from a mountain/resort town.

Of course this might be the point of negotiation w/ your wife. If you're going to be an instructor, it sure would be nice and convenient to live in a resort/mountain town. Yes, a lot colder, but the charm, summer festivals, etc. make it exciting. Another thing to consider -- you're in Ohio, I grew up in Michigan. A LOT more sun here in Colorado during the winter than in the midwest which makes a tremendous difference.

Maybe promise your wife a vacation to her favorite tropical spot each year during late-April mud season? But then again with lower income, you'll have to save your pennies for that.

Ah, decisions, decisions ... but I respect anyone who has the cajones to make a life-changing decision like this one.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esquiador
One issue I'm not entirely clear on, but I'm sure you're considering, is whether you want to live in a mountain/resort town that's not too far from warmer climates OR live in a warmer climate not too far from a mountain/resort town.
This is an excellent point!
It brings me to one idea I had, but not sure how it might work since I've never tought/lived out west yet.
IDEA
We live as you say in a warmer climate but closer to a nice resort. In the winter I work there and stay in employee housing or a cheap place where she can com now and again to visit.
SO? Is that possible?

WIERD IDEA
I just thought of a wierd IDEA, could one have a modest camper and stay on the resort some where, having privacy and close to the slopes? This is still in the focus of this thread IMHO since in the end we are living out west with nice climate for her and I'm able to easly get to a resort to work and she could come up anytime and hang out....

Thanks again
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnoSkier
WIERD IDEA
I just thought of a wierd IDEA, could one have a modest camper and stay on the resort some where, having privacy and close to the slopes? This is still in the focus of this thread IMHO since in the end we are living out west with nice climate for her and I'm able to easly get to a resort to work and she could come up anytime and hang out....
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the resort, the less of a chance you could do that. In fact, I'm struggling to think of a resort that would allow it at all. Even if you could get into the National Forest, they limit the amount of time you can camp in a certain area.

I don't think it's necessary though. For instance, if you lived in most of the choices I listed above you'd be in a warm climate with an easy drive to the mountains. (i.e. Salida to Monarch is about 20 minutes.. tops, many of the others under 45 minutes.)
post #25 of 26
snoskier, I'm doing exactly the opposite: we're moving to Columbus/Powell!!!! Then again, I'll be much closer to snow.

Good luck amigo!
post #26 of 26
When I first moved to California from Ohio, we lived in Pollock Pines. Its only 25 miles from Sierra at Tahoe, and 40 miles from Heavenly. Its at the 4000 foot elevation and has mild summers with cool evenings and great hiking, lakes and recreation areas. Winters are pleasant with occasional snow or rain, and occasionally huge snow (up to 4-feet). You can still walk outside most days with a light jacket and be comfortable. Housing is a little high compared to your market, but manageable. There is really a town with shopping and restaurants; but hardly a cultural center.

If you want no snow, and a bigger town, Placerville is only 15 miles West. Just a litttle farther to ski. Live at home and be a ski bum; but housing is higher.

Suburban life, with no snow is another 20 miles down the road in Folsom, El Dorado Hillls and Rancho Cordova. Here you are 1.5 to 2 hours from skiing a good chunk of the Sierra: Sugar Bowl, Boreal, Squaw, Alpine, Kirkwood, Sierra Heavenly. Snow might occur once in 10 years, spring arrives in February, and you have the cultural amenities of Sacramento, San Francisco and of course a number of well known wine regions at hand. Housing is now stupid expensive, but this is where I found the compromise with my own non-skiing wife. Perhaps it would work for you.

Quote:
HAT I REALLY WANT
I'd like to hire a person to figure all this out and say: go here and here and see what you like!!!!
I'm a consultant. Pay me.
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