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Where have you lived to ski?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Where have you lived and skied? I've called a number of cities home, but only four have really worked as launchpads for skiing: Portland, OR., Salt Lake City, Boston and Milan, where I live now. None have been perfect, but below are my rankings for skiing and liveability, plus an overall ranking. I don't pretend to be an authority or anything, this is just based on the places I've happened to live:

Skiing:
Salt Lake
Milan
Portland
Boston

The top spot seems obvious, no? But it's closer than you'd think. Something like 80% of the Alps' best skiing is within 2-3 hours of Milan. That includes Chamonix, Verbier, Alagna, lots of hairball stuff. In terms of volume of world class lift-served skiing nearby, Milan beats Salt Lake hands-down. But Salt Lake wins because the best skiing is closer, the snow is better, crowds are smaller and, in the end, I just like North American skiing better. Portland beats Boston because respectable skiing (Mt Hood) is just an hour away, snow is way more dependable in the PNW than in the East, and Bachelor and Crystal, roughly 3-4 hours from the city, offer skiing you can't find in the East. Ski-wise, I liked Boston mostly as a gateway to Mad River Glen, though MRG is over three hours from the city (never found much else I liked in New England, hear good things about Jay and Sugarloaf; they are further away, though).

Living:
Portland
Boston
Milan
Salt Lake

Portland's the best city I've ever lived in. Boston a close second. I dump on Milan a lot, but it's hard to beat its access to the sea (just an hour and a half to the Med) and mountains (two hours to Alps). It is a major European city if that floats your boat. And the weather is a lot better than in Boston. But Boston has much better drinking holes than Milan and you can get a decent burger. Great sports town, too. I hated Salt Lake, but then I lived there, ahem, a number of years ago. I've been back since and it looked more interesting than what I'd remembered.

Overall:
Salt Lake/Portland
Milan/Boston

Ultimately, a tie for first and another for second. First tier: The skier in me says, **** it, I'll take Salt Lake and LCC and BCC and all the great skiing. On the other hand, I liked Portland so much as a town that it would be hard to turn down a chance to return, and the skiing is still pretty good up there. Second tier: as much as I like Boston, it's not on the same planet as Salt Lake in skiing terms, and really doesn't stack up with Portland either on skiing (as much as I love MRG). And Portland gets the nod over Boston as a place to live. Milan is crowded and full of pretentious posers, but its proximity to the coast and big-mountain skiing has kept me there for the better part of 15 years. Really a toss-up in tier two as well: Boston, better place to live, Milan better for skiing.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR STORIES?
post #2 of 23
Boston is all I know. For my current needs, academic, professional, and skiing, it's ideal. New England "hills" might not be the best, but the combination of citylife and proximity to everything (mountain, forests, beach, city) makes it great overall fit. Plus what other town can boast 3 championship caliber teams this year?
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MassHat View Post
Boston, what other town can boast 3 championship caliber teams this year?
You're not counting the Red Sox, are you?
post #4 of 23
Big Sky - limited job opportunities and really expensive unless you have 6 roomates, but nice remote location and killer mountain.

Salt Lake City - Even more killer mountains and better snow, better job/housing, but it's a big city and I can't stand big cities.
post #5 of 23
I personally only have lived in Seattle and Bellingham. Bellingham wins hands down. It has everything Seattle does, including Seattle itself, without the constant traffic and crowds.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
You're not counting the Red Sox, are you?
My question would be, "You're not counting the Celtics are you?" They haven't played a game yet and Ray Allen's knees are suspect. It remains to be seen if Paul Pierce can play a support role. Garnett is great, but he can't do it by himself...just ask Minnesota fans.
post #7 of 23
Of the places I've lived, some are not proper city so I have no use for them.

Of the cities I've lived, some of them are so far away from snow (Hong Kong!) they don't count either.

That left San Francisco and New York. Both of them nice cities to be in. Well, that is if you got a good paying job. Fortunately, both have a healthy job market. With a decent income, there's plenty to do, nightlife of up and down market.

But the skiing left a lot to be desired, both of them.

San Francisco has access to better skiing. But the "access" is far away and difficult. 4-6 hours depending on traffic and a 4WD are needed unless one wants to deal with the messy chain. So much is the distance it's at least a weekend trip, so lodging cost has to be figured in. And it's not cheap to sleep anywhere in the Tahoe area.

New York, on the other hand, has access to itty-bitsy tiny little bunny hills all around within about 2-3 hours of all weather roads. So it's possible to just hop in the car on a whimp for a day trip and still be back for dinner. And more reasonable size mountains for 4-5 hours, no chain, no 4WD needed, if one wants a proper weekend getaway. Only trouble is, snow quantity are quite often in short supply and quality less than ideal. On the plus side though, the Alps is only a short overnight hop away, for not much more than a flight to the Rockies...
post #8 of 23
Leadville, CO.: Not a bad commute to skiing, cheap housing, no jobs unless you work for a resort, easy access to crystal meth (not my thing...but hey, who am I to judge?).

Bozeman, MT.: Great people, great town, fun skiing at Bridger and Big Sky, Tough housing market, jobs? What jobs?

Stowe VT.: Fairly easy housing market, descent jobs (no need to work for the resort) great people, fun town to live in, 4 best EC ski areas within an hour, Burlington International Airport 40 minutes away.
post #9 of 23
summit county, co for the past 15
boulder for 7 before that
washington dc growing up

summit has been good to me and i've had a lot of wonderful skiing experiences around colorado and utah wyoming are pretty close too

boulder was a fun place to live and close enough to skiing before the i70 corridor got jammed and the town changed its character

washington dc was a great place to grow up and i have always been a ski nut job remember charnita www of sports on sundays and when snowshoe opened cup run

my folks are italian immigrants from florence and immigrated in the late 50s boy i sure do know what you mean about milan it's beautiful and the people are beautiful but not in a portland or kinda way it's a milan euro sorta of beautiful that takes a different getting used to that some people would neer get used to

i have a lot of good friends in leadville and none of them are crack head tweekers they're really wonderful people who contribute to the positive vibe of leadville it's a fantastically beautiful place that i would live in if i didn't have a daughter to send to school because lake county has a poor school district

bottom line if there is snow and mountains to slide down then its pretty wonderful anywhere regardless of the poseurs and tweekers and tourons and all the other names people get called when in fact there just our fellow skiing brothers and sisters trying to find their way atmo
post #10 of 23
I lived in Salt Lake for 7 years to ski Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and rarely Brighton.
Then lived in Aspen for 10 years to ski Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk,(the
best Carving and teaching mountain in the US.) and Snowmass. Now I live in New Jersey to ski Alta as many times as I can get there.
post #11 of 23
Spokane, WA for 3 years and mostly skied Mt. Spokane, some Schweitzer and Sliver mountain
Seattle, WA for a couple winters and pretty much skied all of the cascade areas.
Boise, ID for 7 years and skied at Bogus Basin and Brundage (100+ days a year)
Portland, OR for 3 years ( I've never gotten so wet before. )
Now I live in SLC, Utah and ski Snowbird ( and I must say I'm perfectly happy ).
post #12 of 23
aspen is a good vibe for skiing and i think it's not too bad to live there too because its such a beautiful place but no place is perfect and aspen is a good example of beauty and ugly all at once - no offense weems and anyone else there okay
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayCantu View Post
Now I live in New Jersey to ski Alta as many times as I can get there.
LOL, and to think that I view Alta as too far away because Snowbird is 2 miles closer. LOL.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
Ultimately, a tie for first and another for second. First tier: The skier in me says, **** it, I'll take Salt Lake and LCC and BCC and all the great skiing. On the other hand, I liked Portland so much as a town that it would be hard to turn down a chance to return, and the skiing is still pretty good up there.
I couldn't take the 8-9 months of constant gray skies and drizzle when I lived in the Portland area. The skiing was OK if you like skiing in wet mashed potatos, IMHO. I love everything about salt lake, but I can understand why some people wouldn't.
post #15 of 23
I've lived in three different places from where I skied the nearest area(s).

Portland when I was growing up and through my freshman year of college. Our whole family skied, both days most weekends once my mom started working for Timberline and got us free season passes. It was 50-60 miles from the ski areas depending on which we went to.

Eugene was also 60 miles or so from skiing (Willamette Pass), but I was a poor college student at first and didn't have a car, so I only went there a couple of times. Batchelor was another option, but was three or four hours away I think. Went there a couple of times too, before I stopped skiing all together.

Missoula has been by far the best for me. I've had a vehicle which sure makes it a lot easier to get to the mountain whenever I want to go. I've found a job where my eccentricities and abilities are appreciated which allows me to ski 7 days a week. I live 12 miles from better terrain and snow than I'd ever seen before moving to the rockies.

Every time I've relocated in my life it has always been to a smaller city (Missoula insists its a city, but is not entirely convincing), and closer to skiing. Eventually I'll be living on a mountain, but not yet, all things in due season.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UtahPowderPig View Post
Now I live in SLC, Utah and ski Snowbird ( and I must say I'm perfectly happy).
As I said, I lived in SLC long ago. And my own priorities have changed a lot since then, maybe I'd like it now. I'm even more into skiing, for one thing. And I could probably get a nice house for what I paid for my little apartment in Milan. As for Portland, after so many years in sunny Southern Europe, maybe the rain would get to me now. Didn't mind it back when I lived there, though. As someone noted in a post, as long as there's snow to slide on. Anyway, I'm glad this didn't devolve into a my town is better than yours thing. I'm just interested to hear about other skiers' experiences. Not surprisingly, sounds like everyone's made some compromises to get where they are, but still managing to ski. In my case, I certainly wouldn't be in Milan for skiing alone, but ultimately I've ended up skiing more here than I did back in the States. And my wife owns a condo in the Alps, wasn't that convenient...
post #17 of 23
Grew up and learned to ski in Ohio. I really did

Went to college at Utah State University in Logan..for the skiing mostly.

After some skiless years in Columbus, I eventually Moved to California where I was born again.


And Utah is still in driving range. :
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post
My question would be, "You're not counting the Celtics are you?" They haven't played a game yet and Ray Allen's knees are suspect. It remains to be seen if Paul Pierce can play a support role. Garnett is great, but he can't do it by himself...just ask Minnesota fans.
You mean ankles right?
post #19 of 23
Places I've lived and skiied in. Switzerland, PA, WV, VA, WA, ID, VT.

If I got to pick another place to live. Probably somewhere along the Olympic National Forest in WA. Close to the coast and skiing.

Stuck in WV.
post #20 of 23
I'm enjoying these viewpoints.
I've been skiing for 40 years, all while based in northern Virginia. I'm a glass half full type of person/skier so I've tried to make the best of that fate. Washington DC is a fascinating town and possibly more culturally and economically vibrant and successful now than I've ever seen it in my lifetime, with a seemingly limitless job market. Skiingwise, there is more available within 3 hours of the city then most from outside the region would imagine, certainly enough to serve as an appetizer for bigger stuff and as training ground for new participants. We have 3 or 4 day-ski mtns within two hours, and another 10 or so weekend worthy ski hills within 3 or 4 hours. The verticals range between 500 and 1500'. The snowmaking is amazing. We've been ready for global warming long before the rest of the ski world. There is actually a small backcountry/telemark culture (in WV) and a smattering of advanced off-piste glade skiing in a couple of places (weather permitting for a few weeks each season). Better New England skiing is within one day highway travel time for long weekends. Because of so much international/governmental activity DC is a good starting spot for frequent and economical flights to distant ski destinations in both western US and the Alps.
post #21 of 23
Painesville, Ohio: Not the best place to ski but skiing was the best thing the area offered
Leysin Switzerland: Great place to ski and got some education at the same time.
Waterville Maine: Same
Flagstaff, Arizona: Same
Evergreen, Colorado: Good skiing but the five day commute to Denver and the weekend traffic was a drag
Jakarta, Indonesia: Really bad place to ski. They'd have to put me on a real early retirement program to live there.
Bend, Oregon: Nice town, not much skiing in August and September
Fernie, BC: Can see the lift from the house
post #22 of 23
Steamboat (3 yrs)
Burlington, VT (5yrs)
Boston (LONG time)
Portland, OR (1 yr)

I would rank these places I've lived in the order they are in based on the skiing and proximity etc.
For me Steamboat and Burlington are one & two but Boston vs Portland pretty close call....Crystal Mtn has the best skiiing w/ in 3 hours of either city and MT Hood is much closer with year round skiing but just OK terrain (never skied Bachelor) Stowe, MRG, Sugarbush, KMart and Sunday River all w/in 3 hours of Beantown and all are great. Portland is a nice city and all but just a lot more happening in Boston.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Treewell, interesting take on Boston vs. Portland. I liked Portland better, but it was close. Missed major league baseball when I was in Portland, for example. Not a big fan of Kill or Sunday River, but miss MRG wherever else I go. Crystal has got to be one of the most underrated mountains anywhere.
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