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Thinking about escaping the rat race, where to go? - Page 4

post #91 of 179
Originally Posted by MTT View Post
Having been to Bend for the first time this past November I liked the area.
I did not get the impression that realestate was cheap? I t would be an area worth investigating.

I like where i live and will never (NEVER LEAVE) but we have enough people here so look elsewhere.

Utah Salt lake area is a good bet for someone who needs city but wants to get to sking and outdoor recreation fast.

Look hard for a reason to not go to Utah. It may be the best bet.
Bend-not cheap, but it is all relative. You can get a 3 bedroom house for ~300k. That may seem cheap to some, not to others. It is an interesting place, as I love it here, but definitely a service-oriented resort town with a definite have vs. have not's feel. Not a great place to land a "good" job unless you are some sort of developer. And, it is a bit of a poseur town, to be honest. Everyone drives around with a $3000 mountain bike on the top of their car all summer, but the trails are usually void of riders. All kinds of people buy the $5000 road bike and then only ride once a week, using the car to get groceries and run errands instead. Almost nobody commutes by bike, and the town isn't all that bike friendly. It seems more or less that Californians have moved up here for "lifestyle" and brought the car culture with them, unfortunately. It is simply amazing how many drive-through coffee shops have popped up, and how popular they are. I guess people just don't have time to sit down with a friend, take 10 minutes out of their day, and enjoy a cup of coffee here anymore, which is a shame. Bend's unique stores are being replaced by trendy restaurants and day spas, which I am sure is true of every ski town around. And, the area is not very diverse, so don't expect to find any good ethnic restaurants or grocery stores. I think of Bend as Marin County North, very gentrified and with a certain "upscale" vibe.

I love the recreational opportunities here, but as a town to live in (general vibe and attitude) Bend is very yuppified and a bit stuck on itself. I think Portland is a much better city. Commuting by bicycle is safe and the norm there, and coffee (Stumptown) is much better, good restaurants are cheaper, and yet the mountains are still close, riding is great, and the people there actually ride, instead of bragging about how expensive their Colnago was. Great Cyclocross series in the fall and track racing during the summer! 3 ski areas within an hour and 15 minutes. Beautiful summers and fall, a bit grey winter and spring, but with nice sun breaks (not bad at all, IMO). Although Portland is no cheaper in terms of housing.

Ogden seems like a great place. If we were to relocate, and there were jobs, I would be there in a second. It is a bit of a run-down area, but housing is probably very affordable.
post #92 of 179
I don't know about other states, but in Colorado I'd look at Steamboat, Durango, and maybe way down valley Eagle County, like Gypsum/Eagle/Dotsero.

I don't know much about the last one there, but it's part way between Vail/BC and Aspen, in a bit of a banana belt, and right on the interstate so you can get other places fast. It's beautiful country, with a much drier, ranchier (lower altitude) feel to it than the higher, more alpine places. But you're still close.

And you could get to ski Summit County pretty much anytime you wanted as long as Vail Pass was not bad weather (then you'd just stop at Vail or BC) ... since you're going opposite on the traffic. The problem with so many places (including Durango and Steamboat) is that they are pretty isolated if you don't want to ski at only one or two areas.
post #93 of 179
Evergreen is very nice, but also along the I-70 corridor is Idaho Springs. It's about 25 minutes from downtown Denver, and about 20-25 minutes from Loveland!, Keystone, A-Basin, Breck are maybe 20-30 minutes past that.

Another idea I didn't see mentioned was Truckee, Ca. All the North Shore areas are reasonably close- Northstar, Squaw, Alpine, Diamond Peak, Mt Rose, and the I-80 areas too (Boreal, Soda Springs, Donner Ski Ranch)

Just remember though, Truckee is right near where the Donner Party was snowed in, so you might occassionally have to deal with copious amounts of snow, and some of the coldest temps in the region.
post #94 of 179
Yes but, isn't Evergreen, mo money. I was there once and it looked pretty expensive.
post #95 of 179
Vt has its advantages. There are prices to be paid though for a simplified life - things can be expensive. No Walmarts for cheap stuff. Then again, no Walmarts for cheap stuff! (stores have character Generally the shopping is odd - you get access to some great organic and gourmet quality food for instance but then it's hard to buy simple staples. It's very libertarian in some ways - no gun permits needed of any kind if you're into shooting or hunting. Great fishing also. But then there's the ecological bent - they are more intrusive and conservationist.

If you're not an outdoor person, there's not a whole lot to do in many areas (work or pleasure) but it is a great place to get away OTOH. The driving and roads can be a drag at times. And there's mud season. Hospitals and health care can be a concern because of distance. Some of my elder relatives had to travel 30 miles for a doctors appointment. Not many services like fire and police around to bother (or serve) you.

There are many transplants from NY and elsewhere I find who live in Vt. That's good and bad - sometimes it seems prices get driven up due to this for locals.

But all in all, I have family that has lived there for 30 years or more and it's a great place I think - has a certain character that once you appreciate it it's definitely endearing. If you lived near a bigger city it could have some of the conveniences but you'd still be in Vt. That could work.
post #96 of 179
Check this place out:

post #97 of 179
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post #98 of 179
Originally Posted by coug View Post
Alaska?.. Denver area kicks ass but its 1.5hr drive to the closest resort.. But I would rather drive 1.5 to ski loveland/A-basin than drive 2.45 to crowded Kmart..

k-mart sucks
post #99 of 179
Denver to Loveland is MAYBE an hour. I live 15 minutes north of downtown, and I can get there in an hour and 5 minutes. Of course, that's without traffic, which is not easy to come by.
post #100 of 179
Bozeman, MT.

Nearby many nice hills. (Bridger Bowl, etc.)
Great town-university, not a "backwater"

Lots of Job competition, low pay scales, you will be fighting equally overqualified people for those jobs, all of whom moved there for the reasons you cited. If you are a 1099 type, you can do well. W-2, lots harder.

Far from unfrozen water, if that's your hobby as well.
post #101 of 179
I think you're missing the point.

Bozeman is a great town if:

a) you run a business or buy into one that is established already;

b) you work at the university;

c) don't mind working in the service sector catering to categories A & B above. But, remember that there is a steady stream of undergrads who fill the ranks of those jobs readily, and cheaply.

And there is another steady stream of recent MSU grads who don't want to leave the Bozone and take the lower wages in whatever professional jobs may exist. Out-of-staters aren't really competing in a pool of overqualified types; they are competing against a pool of Montanans. Out-of-staters eventually leave, even trust-funders, for one reason or another. Montanans hire Montanans for a reason.

And you have to consider the wage-to-housing gap.

if you're looking for a *real* town in Montana with affordable housing but with some good skiing, go to Anaconda or Red Lodge.

Other than that, yes, come on in. The skiing has been getting pretty good.
post #102 of 179
Originally Posted by faber View Post
Out-of-staters eventually leave, even trust-funders, for one reason or another.
This is a typical "Montana native" statement. How would one explain then, the high number of people I've run into who are from out of state but that was 20 to 40 years ago? I could just as easily make the statement that people leave about NJ. Many people leave colder states when they are older for health reasons or to be near their children. They leave to follow job opportunities. At least up here in the Flathead, the growth has been so rapid that the issue of Montanans hiring Montanans is moot. "Natives" are quickly becoming the minority. New people are starting businesses and they are hiring from the talent pool they are given, a mix of "natives" and "newcomers", just like anyone else. I'd say if you go to Red Lodge, you'd be more clearly a "newcomer" than if you go to Bozeman, where there are more newcomers. People are more likely to leave places where they are made to feel like outsiders than places where they are accepted. This is true whether it's Montana or Bethel, Maine.

This "real Montanan" thing drives me nuts. The only real Montanans are the Native Americans. The rest of the place got here only about 100 years ago. You don't find people (like me) who grew up in Pennsylvania carrying on about being native Pennsylvanians (one of my ancesters was the first guy to buy land from William Penn, which goes back way more than 100 years) to everyone who comes their way. All it means is the "Montanan's" parents or grandparents were newcomers. Not all that impressive. And really, who cares? It just amazes me the number of people who ask me how long I've been here. I don't ask people that, and don't recall anyone making that one of the first points of conversation when I lived in PA, NY, CT or NJ. But it's like the first question out of people's mouths here. Even if 10 years ago, they were the "newcomers".

Maybe we should start a whole off-ski topic of "what is the first question a stranger asks you". (I'd think "What do you do for a living?" would be the normal thing back where I grew up. Different from "What's your major" or "What's your sign?" when I was in college).
post #103 of 179
Gee sib we could be related. On my Mother side of the family One of my ancestors came over with Willem Penn he was given a land grant in New Jersey. Got an stock in Quaker Oats?
post #104 of 179
Take another look at Salt Lake City. Close to a lot of skiing.
post #105 of 179
Wasatch Front Real Estate prices are starting to sky rocket. Tons of speculators are moving in buying multiple homes at a time. Hell the Speculators now advertise on TV! " We Buy Houses" you don't pay Real estate fees.
post #106 of 179
Thread Starter 
Bob Peters sent me real estate stuff for Ogden. Prices are sooo cheap.
post #107 of 179
There's a couple of hidden gems in Alberta/BC that don't get much exposure.



Major development is in the future though
post #108 of 179
In some areas of Ogden they are cheap. Prices are moving up fast in the better neighborhoods on the east side of Ogden. If you do get out here fora look see I would be happy to take an afternoon to point out some of the better areas. I still think Ogden has a lot to offer
post #109 of 179
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post
This is a typical "Montana native" statement.
Gee, I guess I'm finally a real genuine local. Golly.

Actually, I'm not a Montanan/Montana native/Montana Native. Never claimed to be, never will. But I've been here in MT a while and simply pass on some observations when people have some assumptions that, while generally true, would benefit from further explication: the one in question was simply that local businesses in this part of the state (and east of here) tend to hire MSU grads and/or Montanans over out-of-staters in many cases. Am I wrong?

Also, I observed that many out-of-staters who come to work (off campus) eventually leave. Again, am I wrong? I'm not talking about those who retire early to Big Sky, Paradise Valley, or Bridger Canyon. I mean the late 20somethings and 30somethings who have a degree in something and some experience and hope to continue their career here, and hope to get some skiing in. It doesn't happen for the overwhelming majority. They have to tend bar, wait tables, etc. while waiting for the opening in their field. But, when it comes, it's never quite what they left behind in some other time zone, and it's for less than they've ever made since college. They might take it, but then they can't afford a house. Then, they leave. A lot of businesses simply hire a fresh, local college-grad to avoid the whole thing. Am I wrong?

Bozeman is not your ordinary ski town. The skiing is great, and fairly close, and the summers are incredible. But the reality of making a living here is tougher and it kills so many dreams. It has such high transient, student and non-student populations, probably only exceeded by Missoula. It would be easier to settle into a place like Red Lodge because they don't have that kind of transient population, and people will accept you right away.

I'm not judging in-staters or out-of-staters, just observing. And if I've misjudged you, Sibhusky, my apologies. We are neighbors, after all, albeit 6 hrs apart.

FWIW, if I really were looking for an *undiscovered* ski town with good skiing, I think MT is the place: Red Lodge, Anaconda, and even Helena. The realtors are getting too rich in Whitefish, Big Sky, and Bozeman.
post #110 of 179
Ski towns are famous for having a high transient population. It's the nature of the beast. I frankly don't think of Bozeman as a ski town. It has plenty of vitality just due to its sheer size, it is NOT DEPENDENT on a mountain for its economy. It has a university, hospital, some manufacturing in the general vicinity, it's close to Yellowstone, etc. Truly, it's gotten big enough that it should be able to survive on its own without Big Sky and Bridger. The skiing is certainly secondary to its existence. The majority of your transient population is probably more closely tied to the student population and the natural turnover it brings. Your population is heavily skewed towards younger people who are still in that striving phase of their lives. Bozeman can certainly not provide employment to all the graduates who want to stay in the playground they have come to love. I am sure if they all went toddling over to Red Lodge it would be no different, in fact they would probably find less employment there as there is not the year round quantity of people to sustain a huge influx of new people. And I am sure the Subaru salesman who went to Red Lodge would be even more "lowly paid" in Red Lodge than he would be in Bozeman because after all how many Subarus can you sell in such a small town?

Now, I would agree that the real estate in Red Lodge is valued lower than that in Whitefish, Big Sky, and Bozeman. And maybe it is due to go on a sharp upswing. But, face it, Red Lodge is a "locals" ski area, not a destination area.

I've driven through Anaconda. It wasn't memorable enough to comment on.

If I were looking for an undiscovered area, I'd still list Schweitzer and Sandpoint, although not as clearly as I would have 5 years back. And the reality is that compared to say, Vail or Aspen, Whitefish is still a deal.

As to whether towns east of Bozeman only hire locals, I couldn't say. But how to you square that with your statement that they'd be more accepting of someone from the east coast showing up looking for a job?
post #111 of 179
You're right. Bozeman is not a ski town. The property values, skyrocketing construction industry, and all spillover growth have nothing to do with the lifestyle offered by the surrounding mountains. It must all be from the hospital and the light manufacturing. And the transient population, yup, only students. All those 30somethings who blow in every year hoping to be a river guide and/or ski patroller are just transfer students, I guess. And, of course, Red Lodge is a "locals' ski area." Bridger sure isn't. They hide all the condos and base area hotels so well that they fooled me (hmmm...with all the growth here lately, I wonder if anyone up there thought of maybe expanding the place and putting a few condos in....hmmmm). And, totally, Bozeman cannot provide jobs for every MSU grad. What a rip-off! I'm sure all the recent MSU grads just leave out of digust, thus leaving all these jobs for out-of-staters. How did I miss that?


Like anyplace, Bozeman's profile is not simple. Yes, it's more than a bedroom community for ski area workers--it's definitely not a a ski town in that sense--but, it wouldn't be a tenth of what it is now if there were no mountains surrounding it. And it's not really a university town either. Yes, MSU has been here for 113 years, and it is a huge part of this community (and it's largest employer), but there is a lot less interface between MSU and Bozeman than you'd think. MSU is doing better than ever, to be sure, but that doesn't translate to jobs for locals. It's not that kind of industry. And while some businessses do cater to the students, campus culture is really quite separate from the rest of Bozeman. As for jobs, there are more here than ever before. It's definitely a boom time here. But, the applicant pools for most jobs are larger than this market has ever seen, when the growing numbers of out-of-staters are taken with the MSU grads. It's competitive. And unfortunately, the wages here are not that much higher than the rest of the state, although the cost of living is exorbitantly higher. And housing prices! With 2BDR "shotgun" houses on city lots go for $400K....that's insane. Much of Belgrade and Gallatin Gateway is not affordable anymore either.

I only bother to clarify all these things because Bozeman gets written up in magazines a lot, and people throw out Bozeman as a place to move to. People get the impression that work is easy to find and it will be easy move in, settle in, and live the "Outside" or "Powder" magazine lifestyle. There are easier towns to do that in. Many.

I'll stand by what I originally said. Bozeman is an excellent community to move into if you

a) can buy into a successful business already here;

b) can get a tenure-track or mid-level administrative job at the University;

c) get a job supporting the above, ranging from a professional job like neurosurgeon to a service-sector job like bussing tables.

But, yes, compared to Aspen or Vail or Sun Valley, pretty much anything in MT is still a deal, even Big Sky.

In ID Schweitzer is not a bad suggestion at all. Great mountain. Nice area. But Sandpoint...?! Dude...
post #112 of 179
I agree with your three points.

I thought the town that was associated with Schweitzer WAS Sandpoint? I haven't been there yet, I always hear that the mountains are similar, Sandpoint's got a big lake, just kind of assumed the town was desirable. No?
post #113 of 179
Sandpoint is the town associated with schweitzer. It is a great town.
post #114 of 179
Haven't waded through the posts, so forgive redundancy, but think Canada! After a week in the east and a week in the west this season, I'm in love.

Cost of living will be lower than anywhere in the U.S. you'd want, they've got mountains that dwarf everything in the lower 48 except JH, enough heli and cat skiing to last until you're too old to care, an intelligent health care system, and most of all, they're SANE up there.

Well, mostly. Just make sure you know who Don Cherry is.
post #115 of 179
Originally Posted by okolepuka View Post
Sandpoint is the town associated with schweitzer. It is a great town.
Schweitzer is a wonderful ski area. I'm surprised (but glad) that it hasn't been "discovered" to the extent of other ski areas.

Truth be told, I haven't been there in almost ten years. I remember Sandpoint as being a scenic town, but with an--ahem--strange vibe (I was traveling with some friends who looked different than the average resident of Sandpoint back then). I am very sure that it has changed significantly since then.
post #116 of 179

dropping out

Probably not realistic but If you really want to "Drop Out" take skiing out of the requirement for the time being. Take up Kayaking/boating/canoe and move to the Southern Appalachia (East KY, East TN, West NC,West SC). The possibilities are endless, you have world class boating and biological diversity. You will certainly dump the rat race and live in cheap housing. With the money you save you could take ski trips out west or Europe. I am biased as I grew up there and nothing in the western united states has the "DOC" (Drop Out Coefficient) like that region (ok maybe Colorado city in Arizona/Utah). There are moderate sized, progressive cities too such as Chattanooga, TN, and Asheville, NC that can provide a relief from too much solitude.

My wifes accupuncturist was a long time Boulder,CO resident and she just "Dropped Out" and moved to Brevard, NC. Beautiful little town in Western NC. They love it down there.
post #117 of 179


Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
I don't know about other states, but in Colorado I'd look at Steamboat, Durango, and maybe way down valley Eagle County, like Gypsum/Eagle/Dotsero.

I don't know much about the last one there, but it's part way between Vail/BC and Aspen, in a bit of a banana belt, and right on the interstate so you can get other places fast. It's beautiful country, with a much drier, ranchier (lower altitude) feel to it than the higher, more alpine places. But you're still close.

And you could get to ski Summit County pretty much anytime you wanted as long as Vail Pass was not bad weather (then you'd just stop at Vail or BC) ... since you're going opposite on the traffic. The problem with so many places (including Durango and Steamboat) is that they are pretty isolated if you don't want to ski at only one or two areas.
I have lived here in Gypsum for a couple of years and it is pretty nice. A kind of regular town and is still pretty affordable by CO standards-but not cheap around-400-500k for a newer 3-4 bedroom house. Great climate and mountain biking. Tons of sunshine, but not too hot in the summer (upper 80's would be very warm for us) Beautiful red rock formations, and somewhat ugly gypsum formations as well.

30 min to Beaver Creek, 40 min to Vail, 1 hour to Copper, 40 min to Sunlight, 1 hour 15 min to Aspen..minutes to awesome Glenwood Canyon and many tens of thousands acres of BLM/NF lands. Very wide open country.

Good golfing according to my friends at Cotton Ranch. Not much traffic..but you pretty much have to go to Eagle (7 miles) for a decent meal and BC/Vail for culture/entertainment. We just opened a new rec center and a Costco which really helped in terms of us gaining additional options for shopping/resuplying. Very good flyfishing in the Eagle River.

More of Sage/Juniper/Pinon Pine ecosytem than upper Eagle County with the Aspen belt about 1.7K feet above us. The airport is very conveinent too, but many of us are in middle of the flight paths (which can suck during the weekends).

Eagle is a bit more upscale than Gypsum, with quite a bit more traffic and housing in Eagle is way more expensive. I prefer Gypsum because it is has less traffic, is quieter (except for the airplane noise). But Eagle is probally a bit more scenic and "mountain like", and somewaht yuppified (Eagle Ranch)

Both are nice. A mix of snowmobilers/ATVers and Mountain Biker/Hiker types..expect a lot of big trucks along with the Subarus. Everyone seems to get along pretty well however. The Brush Creek Saloon in Eagle is a real mixture of both demographics. And there are still quite a few real live ranchers

Pretty nice country
post #118 of 179


I also have to put my vote in for Montana. Though you may want to avoid Bozeman! While it has some of the best skiing in Montana - the jobs are harder to come by.

However, Billings is nice, it's pretty close to Big Sky and and Bridger. However, don't forget Red Lodge. While it is not the biggest or classiest, it is really down home. When you go there you feel like family. Not to mention all the great food. I think that Red Lodge might be growing here in the near future. Though to be honest, there isn't a many places they can go out too. It's a small mountain (well it's more like a hill). But you can have a great time skiing!

Montana has world class skiing at Big Sky and Bridger. Your not that far from Jackson Hole. Let's not forget that in ONE DAY most large resorts get more people than Big Sky does in ONE YEAR. You know what that means? UNTRACKED runs ALL day long. Montana is spoiled by LOOOOOOOOONG winters and for the most part being undiscovered as of yet. For the most part, I highly doubt Montana will be discovered and become a "hot" location. It's out of the way and most people think we are part of canada....

Summer time? You have EVERYTHING you can hope for. Fishing, Hiking, Camping, Hunting, and if your into the arts, there are a few cultural programs in every city.

I may be biased because I grew up in Montana, but the Big Sky State has no equal, I wouldn't leave here for any amount of money!!

P.S. - Can we drop the silly Montana Native bickering? It's counterproductive and looks Montana look petty. The Montana I know, is one that has a very libertarian stand point. We don't care what you do, as long as you don't care what I do.
post #119 of 179
wrt Utah - according to reports the RE boom lagged there over the past several years. So if you could find work I think it's a livable alternative. Of course it's not so "out of the rat race" as some of the mountain places ....

The only thing about Montana I've heard is the place is big. That's a good/bad thing because of the distances involved. But it'd be a major adjustment for most east coasters I know.
post #120 of 179
Montana: 147,046 square miles
Massachusetts: 8,284 square miles
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