Originally Posted by nolo
T'were it me, I'd choose Kelowna:
Welcome to Kelowna! Kelowna is a dynamic city of 115,000 people in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. It’s the largest and fastest growing city in the Okanagan and the region’s cultural and economic hub.
The Okanagan is an amazingly verdant and beautiful region, but I think what sets it apart from your other choices are the unpretentious people who choose to live there and the ski areas reflect the local laid-back attitude.
Originally Posted by Posaune
Here's another vote for Kelowna, though I would choose Vernon, essentially a suburb about 30 minutes north of the Big K. Never having been to the other two I can only operate on conjecture, but from what I've heard the Kelowna/Okanogan area is much more relaxed. There's not too much in the way of billionaires or movie stars, but I would like it that way.
There is unlimited outdoor activity at all times of the year and a whole string of great wineries as well. Skiing in the area includes Big White and Silver Star (my personal favorite). Revelstoke and Sun Peaks are only a couple of hours away, too.
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD
4. Aspen's a great town. Park City is a suburb. Kelowna's a city.
10. Believe it or not, taxes are really low in Aspen.
Kelowna has a lot going for it, BUT...
It is a city. And "fastest growing" is not necessarily a good thing. Further, Canadians tend to allocate less real estate for roads than Americans. This makes driving in downtown Kelowna pretty ugly. One of the major roads through town doesn't have room for left turn lanes at most intersections going into the many malls and shopping centres. I would follow Posaune's recommendation and live somewhere else. In the other hand, you're from Italy. You may be accustomed to narrow roads populated by psychotics. At least we're not Alberta (the land of oil sands and one-ton pickups traveling at a minimum of 130km/hr). Most of the drivers here are pretty mellow, although some seem to have no understanding of lane markings, and a surprising number drive well under the posted speed limit.
The Canadian tax burden is high compared to the States. However, it may seem entirely reasonable to you.
I don't know how far other backcountry opportunities are from Kelowna. I live outside of Nelson. The nearest standby cat skiing pickup is 10 minutes from my house. Mountain biking is right out my door. Whitewater kayaking is also close. I don't know if Kelowna can claim any of that, but Aspen probably can.
Aspen will have a high percentage of people with really, really EXPENSIVE clothing and equipment. And expensive cars. And attitudes. Despite where I live now, I have been there, although I've never lived there.
On the other hand, I've never skied at either Big White or Silver Star, although I hear good things about both. If they're anything like Whitewater, they'll have any number of people who look like they change the oil in their pickup truck dressed in whatever they're wearing to ski in. Ski clothes can be anything from ordinary street clothes to an old one-piece that they found at the Salvation Army store in Nelson. And they almost always have very recent, very fat skis on their feet.
And they are laid back.
Aspen will have less traffic and more places to buy high-end clothing and equipment. They'll have more boot-fitting expertise.
Kelowna will have more useful grocery and hardware stores. And if you like hardware stores, there is a Lee Valley in Vancouver, which is the hardware store Aspen would have if it could.
Which brings us to another point. You can easily drive to the Pacific Ocean from Kelowna. It takes a little longer from Aspen.
You can catch a ferry to the Great Bear rainforest. You can get to any number of other staggeringly beautiful places in British Columbia that simply don't exist in such concentration anywhere else.
If you can afford it, BC has helicopter skiing. Lots of helicopter skiing.
Colorado is dry and is losing a very high percentage of its pine trees to pine beatles. In fact, so are the areas around Kelowna. Many other areas of BC, however, receive regular precipitation and support species you won't find in Colorado or Utah, like enormous Western Red Cedar, hemlocks, larch, etc. Much of BC (the Okanogan excepted) is green through the fall until winter. Even the grasses. Colorado is brown by the end of July. BC has many large bodies of water. It has a large provincial park system (although it's being financially strangled), and several large Canadian National Parks. Compared to Colorado, there are relatively few tourists. Canada, in general, has a very low population density. Most of the population of BC is in or near Vancouver.
Anyway, have fun. No matter which one you pick, it will be a great experience.