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ski retirement locales

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Sorry to bother you again on this topic, but as the end of the ski season appears on the mid-Atlantic horizon my mind wanders. This retirement thing is still 90% fantasy as I'm 5-8 yrs from a move. I know there are lots of non-skiing variables in choosing a place to retire, but using the list of localities below for starters, does anyone have any notable pros or cons about them in the context of a retirment location for an avid skier? Comments on anywhere else are also welcome, but this short list is based on good nearby skiing and proximity to a sizable industrial sector for possible full or part-time second career in defense trade. Other info: wife is fair weather skier only with background in commercial and fine art, we may be accompanied by two college age kids. I've put a few of my own pros/cons in parens.
-SLC/Park City, UT (could possibly locate in PC and commute to SLC, what's the weather like Apr-Nov?)
-Reno, NV (never visited or skied Tahoe, would have to do a lot of preliminary homework on the area, not much of a gambler, is the casino scene a cultural plus or minus?)
-Denver/Boulder, CO (lots of nice, competitive ski options, but is the pace of life too urban/crowded?)
-Santa Fe/Los Alamos, NM (not as many skiing options within one hour, interesting cultural/art scene)
post #2 of 23
coming from DC you'll like Denver best, it'll remind you of McHome.
post #3 of 23
In thinking about Tahoe you might want to consider Northern California in addition to Reno. Lots of cool things to do in addition to skiing. rickp
post #4 of 23
--SLC: The Wasatch range is pretty in the summer. The weather can be quite pleasant. Personally, I think SLC is dirty (smog) but so is Denver. I also consider the blue laws to be a nuisance. Can't complain about the snow.

--Reno: I used to live in the SF Bay Area and have been to Tahoe and Reno plenty of times. Lake Tahoe is gorgeous but I hate Reno. It's very seedy. No culture, either. Drive around downtown Reno late at night and you'll understand. The winter weather is a little less predicable than Utah. You can get epic dumps, measured in feet, but go weeks between them. This year has been good. Last year was epic in December (six feet over one weekend) but was dry in Jan and Feb. Plus, the runs are shorter at the Tahoe resorts and they can get pretty crowded.

--Denver/Boulder: Nice area. Summers are quite pleasant but winters can be a little dry. If you enjoy the outdoors there's really no better place than CO. UT is a close second, IMO. The traffic on I-70 can be a pain but it's tolerable. Smog is an issue. Don't expect to use that wood-burning fireplace if you live below 7,000 feet. They restrict burning on bad pollution days.
The defense industry, however, is pretty big out here. You've got Lockheed, Ball, and a huge federal workforce.

--Santa Fe/Los Alamos: You can't retire here. This is where I plan on retiring and I don't want the place to become any more populated before I get there.
post #5 of 23
James, getting to Salt lake city from the Park City In fact a lot of peopel commute from here to SLC everyday. The drive from areas like Jeremy ranch, Pinebrook or Summit Park isn't a big deal even if the roads are vary snowy. There isn't a lot of traffic so some claim that it is easier to get to down town SLc from here then it is from The south valley areas like Sandy in rush hour traffic. For the most part I80 is rarly closed due to bad weather. Another Place to look into is The Huntsville area near Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. It is a vary pretty mountain valley and not as built up as Park City is now. If you own in the DC area Park city real estate prices may not seem all That out of line to you. I know people in Calif think this is a bargine right now. Comeing from the midwest they go into sticker shock.
post #6 of 23
What is Dillon Co. like?
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
What is Dillon Co. like?
Dillon (and Silverthorne) are basically two areas on either side of Exit 205 on I-70. Dillon is on the Keystone side and right next to Lake Dillon. Dillon has a bit of a town core while Silverthorne does not. Both are about 10 minutes or so to Keystone, 15 minutes to Copper (and the Basin) and 20 to Breckenridge.

The Dillon Ridge shopping center has the movie complex and Starbucks (my addiction).

Silverthorne is famous for being the home of Bob Barnes. And if the Lake Dillon dam ever goes so will Silverthorne!
post #8 of 23
Subtext to LM's question of course being our recent explorations of possible relocations.

I had a charming chat with my boss this week, who quite sincerely told me that he only expects that he'll still be employable for another 8-10 years. Since he's a couple of levels higher up the I.T. food chain than me, I figure I've got 5-6 at best.

Then, as our replacements in Bangalore would say, it will be time to "do the needful" and find something left for displaced North American workers. Retiring to a ski town several years early might be the best Plan B.
post #9 of 23
I wonder what other criteria might be important to a retiree that would have some of these cowboy/redneck great-skiing locales looking less than attractive. A college town in ski country that offers good restaurants, bookstores, cultural amenities and a good teaching hospital would be my choice, if I cxould afford to retire. I could name a few but hesitate to drive up the real estate costs yet higher.
post #10 of 23
You left the Montana 'Banana Belt' off your list. It compares favorably with all the other sites, but benefits from a better ski location on the continent, temperate weather year round, and a noticeable lack of 'other' residents.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Ski&Golf:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Lisamarie:
What is Dillon Co. like?
Dillon (and Silverthorne) are basically two areas on either side of Exit 205 on I-70. Dillon is on the Keystone side and right next to Lake Dillon. Dillon has a bit of a town core while Silverthorne does not. Both are about 10 minutes or so to Keystone, 15 minutes to Copper (and the Basin) and 20 to Breckenridge.

The Dillon Ridge shopping center has the movie complex and Starbucks (my addiction).

Silverthorne is famous for being the home of Bob Barnes. And if the Lake Dillon dam ever goes so will Silverthorne!
</font>[/quote]Thanks! When researching the whole Summit County area, I could not find any listings for major fitness centers. Makes sense, since the outdoors is basically your "gym."

There are a few small studios. But is there enough of a local, year round community that would make these small enterprises profitablle?
Thanks!
post #12 of 23
when I was up at Stratton, VT I saw a retired couple, who lived there enjoying a night out at Mulligans in the Village. It seems like a nice place to retire to. There are condos and slopeside lodging all over the place, much to some people's dismay.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by feal:
You left the Montana 'Banana Belt' off your list. It compares favorably with all the other sites, but benefits from a better ski location on the continent, temperate weather year round, and a noticeable lack of 'other' residents.
Wrong answer, feal... for two reasons. First, the Flathead Valley is on its way to become Gridlock and Sprawl Central during this decade. I predict ugliness by 2010. Similar ugly growth will occur in the Bitterroot Valley as well. So that erases all preconceptions about Montana... 10 years ago you would've been correct, but you're ten years late now.

Second, anyone who plans on "retirement" should be moving to an old folks town, not a ski town. Skiing is hard work! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:

Thanks! When researching the whole Summit County area, I could not find any listings for major fitness centers. Makes sense, since the outdoors is basically your "gym."

There are a few small studios. But is there enough of a local, year round community that would make these small enterprises profitablle?
Thanks! [/QB]
The vast majority of resident's use either the Breckenridge or Silverthorne Rec Centers because of the cost/value equation. Copper also has a small gym.

Any small enterprise is going to really have to corner a niche market to make it up here.
post #15 of 23
Good point Gonz!

But the 'land rush' doesn't change the location or climate. None of the other 4 compare favorably on those two points; and the 'crowding' you refer to should take into consideration the other four areas have nearby populations in the millions. ...It's all relative!

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #16 of 23
It sounds like many of us are comtemplating this move.

Some advice I'm getting:

1. At some point you're probably going to need more health care than you do today. Make sure you have reasonable access to it. Most mountain towns aren't set up to handle lots of "blue hairs". Broken bones yes, prostrate problems... Stay in great shape and this may not be an issue, but if it is you don't want to be driving for hours to get help.

2. Check out the tax situation. Some states (like mine) are very expensive to live in. Tahoe is interesting because you can live in Nevada (low cost) and play in California.

I figure growing old carving turns is a whole lot better than puttzing around some golf course.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by feal:
You left the Montana 'Banana Belt' off your list. It compares favorably with all the other sites, but benefits from a better ski location on the continent, temperate weather year round, and a noticeable lack of 'other' residents.
Which Montana 'Banana Belt'? I've heard numerous areas in this state called 'Banana Belts' but the truth is they all have tough winter compared to most of the west. The Missoula area has more moderate temperatures but it is prone to inversion fogs and grey skies. Helena & Bozeman have sunny skies most of the winter but temperatures generally remain below freezing. Billings is warmer and sunnier but gets more frigid winds from Canada. There are many reasons you might want to retire to Montana but you better be prepared for the winter weather.

On a different note, an area worth checking out is Bend, Oregon. It is suffering from sprawl like every other great place to live in the West but it still is a livable community. Mt. Bachelor has a very long season.
post #18 of 23
feal, you're correct, but remember that "Banana Belt" is relative only to the rest of MT. It's surely not warm here. The whole month of January, and the 1st 2 weeks of February this year were quite cold, and many folks complained about it. The slopes were much less crowded as a result. So anyone considering western MT should be aware that the recent weather patterns in the 5-year '98-'02 period were anomalously warm and snow-free. I know several people who moved here during that 5-year period and were complaining quite heartily about how much of a PIA this winter has been. We had snow in town on the streets & sidewalks for a good 5-6 weeks this year. That's about 4-5 weeks longer than any time in the prior 5 years.

Our historic weather patterns are much more like this present winter, and in some cases, much more severely cold and snowy. This is the first in 6 years that we've had 100% snowpack in many western MT locations.

So don't be fooled by recent years' climates -- they're oddballs.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Enjoying the feedback. I too am curious about exactly where the MT banana belt is? Is the Park City to SLC commute on I80 still very manageable? DC's got one of the worst commuting situations in America. If downtown Reno is a bit sleazy, what's the Carson City area like? Anybody have an opinion on Flagstaff and the Arizona Ski Bowl area? Thanks.
post #20 of 23
My aunt and uncle retired to Evergreen, CO. They are in a relatively remote area, yet 30 min from downtown Denver. Being farther west helps with the ski commute in the morning, as well. Evergreen itself isn't much, though, if you are looking for a small town or city. It would be sort of like living on a couple of acres out in Great Falls, VA, and relying on DC for your cultural entertainment.
post #21 of 23
the MT banana belt doesn't exist -- that was my point, james!

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #22 of 23
I've been to Flagstaff a few times but never skied Snowbowl (I was there in the summer). As for mountain towns, Flagstaff certainly is one. It stands at 6800 feet and the mountains reach over 12000 feet. I think they're about to be approved, by the county, for snowmaking which should be a nice little addition to the 250 inches of fresh they get annually. They've had tough times in the past because of no snowmaking. The area is really cool. Sedona is about 45 minutes south and the Grand Canyon is about an hour and a half north. Needless to say I'd move there in a heartbeat if I could.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by jamesj:
Enjoying the feedback. I too am curious about exactly where the MT banana belt is? Is the Park City to SLC commute on I80 still very manageable? DC's got one of the worst commuting situations in America. If downtown Reno is a bit sleazy, what's the Carson City area like? Anybody have an opinion on Flagstaff and the Arizona Ski Bowl area? Thanks.
Well, Reno doesn't have any brothels. Carson City, on the other hand, does. Or at least their closer. If you're ever in Reno check the phone book.

Flagstaff is a nice area. Not as hot as the locales further south. The snow fall is a little inconsistent as it is in NM. Some years they get great snow, others, not so much. I don't think the ski area is very big, though. If you don't mind the heat you could look near Tempe (ASU is there) or Scottsdale. That puts you in good driving distance to Ski Bowl and near a major airport (PHX) for trips to where the snow is more consistent.
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