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Where Should Prickly Live?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

There's a very, very slim possibility that I'll be picking up sticks and moving with my family to a North American town for a couple years.

 

Did I mention that the possibility is slim?

Anyway, there are three options, and only three. Don't ask why. The possibilities are Aspen, CO, Park City, UT, and Kelowna, BC. So I don't want to hear about Truckee or Frisco or Bozeman or any of that.

Criteria (not in order):
 

  1. Lift-served skiing
  2. Non-lift served skiing, primarily touring and cat (a softball for Kelowna)
  3. Snow
  4. Town (leaving living costs out of argument)
  5. Food & beer
  6. Wine (another one for Kelowna perhaps)
  7. Schools
  8. Lunkheads, or lack thereof
  9. Air travel convenience (a softball for Park City)
  10. Other
post #2 of 25

Aspen

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Geez, cut to the chase, would ya?

post #4 of 25

I've only skied there once, but visited a friend in Aspen in the summer a few times. I'd definitely live there. Park City is pretty amazing too, but it wouldn't be a hard choice at all. Not for me anyway.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Of the three, I've only been to Park City, and that was years ago.

post #6 of 25

Aspen is a very nice town.  Rich people predominate, but still it has a lot going for it.  Ski areas are fantastic, Aspen Highlands being my favorite, but Ajax and Snowmass are also great.

post #7 of 25

T'were it me, I'd choose Kelowna:

 

Quote:

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.

 

Set against a spectacular backdrop of mountains and lakes, Kelowna is a great place to golf, fish, hike, ski, and enjoy water sports. The Okanagan is also home to an internationally acclaimed wine industry that perfectly complements the Valley’s envied lifestyle.

 

Kelowna has daily direct flights to Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. By car, we are four hours from Vancouver, and six from Seattle.

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. 

post #8 of 25

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.


Edited by Posaune - 5/17/10 at 6:10am
post #9 of 25

Another vote for the Okanogan. 

 

For all of the stuff that Nolo and Posaune spoke to and a few more, and more.  Way less $ than Aspen (pretty much everywhere is that though).  Lot smaller crowds than PC and more of a real city with real cat skiing (the Okanogan has a wine industry).  Think Lake Como without the long  history.

 

The Okanogan Valley offers 2 things your other choices can't.  #1 Great local  ice wines and, #2 a lake monster.  Wonder if #1 has anything to do with #2?

 

Would personally choose Penticton about 30 minutes south of Kelowna, but that is just me.  Google Earth this region, it is incredible; great summers stuff too.

post #10 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Criteria (not in order):
 

  1. Lift-served skiing 
  2. Non-lift served skiing, primarily touring and cat (a softball for Kelowna)
  3. Snow
  4. Town (leaving living costs out of argument)
  5. Food & beer
  6. Wine (another one for Kelowna perhaps)
  7. Schools
  8. Lunkheads, or lack thereof
  9. Air travel convenience (a softball for Park City)
  10. Other

 

1. Aspen has much better expert terrain than either one.

 

2. Kelowna may have more cat operations within a three hour drive.  Aspen's departs from the top of the gondola.  Back country, Kelowna your driving an hour.  Aspen's is out your back door. PC would have a lot more competition for fresh tracks.

 

3. It' a wash. 

 

4. Aspen's a great town.  Park City is a suburb.  Kelowna's a city. 

 

5/6.  Aspen hosts the Food & Wine Festival for a reason. 

 

7.  Aspen's schools are very good, small classes and they have a private lift that leaves from campus up to Highlands.

 

8.There can be assholes anywhere? I rarely have problems.

 

9. It would really depend on where you are flying?  Transcontinental, you're going to be connecting out of all three?  Aspen's airport is only 3 miles from town and the the bus is free. High season they have daily directs from ORD, SLC, LAX, SFO and ATL. Two airlines, each with several flights to DEN daily, year round.  But weather can be a factor. 

 

10. Believe it or not, taxes are really low in Aspen. 

 


 

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Helpful comments, keep 'em coming.

post #12 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

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. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

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.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

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.
 

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 

My skis may be fat, but my chances, alas, are slim. Still, comments like the one above are very cool. I like the Nelson area, though it's not on the radar at this time. My reference cat skiing operation is nearby; try to get back there every year. Would be a draw for Kelowna, for sure, though there are a couple operations in the Okanagan I want to try too.

 

I've skied Whitewater too. Best lodge food anywhere. And it's on the (woefully short) list of mountains where I'd leave my stuff unattended. Cool place, though I think you need some local expertise to get the best of it. Have to say, the town of Nelson itself kind of disappointed me. Didn't have a real ski town vibe, in my opinion. Fair amount going on, but felt like a small city that could have been anywhere, not necessarily in the mountains (mandatory tewks aside).

post #14 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Have to say, the town of Nelson itself kind of disappointed me. Didn't have a real ski town vibe, in my opinion.

I have to agree. Steamboat, for example, is one of the few examples of a "real" town that also feels like a ski town. Nelson doesn't pull that off. It's a "real" town (or small city, if you prefer) that has skiing as a relatively small component of its identity. As you say, it has many other things going on, too. Many of them seem to be somewhat conflicted (e.g., an "arts community" with no actual local government support - but also some bizarrely unrealistic expectations).

 

Anyway, Aspen will certainly have the "ski town vibe" (Kelowna doesn't), but it probably isn't what you would call a "real" town. It's more of a fantasyland.

 

post #15 of 25

    Here are my favorites: 1.) Park City 2.) Kelowna 3.) Aspen.

I cannot stress enough how much of a "easy" non powder mountain Aspen is. Great mountain for families to go to for vacation, but on my experience it would be a boring mountain to ski yearly.

Utah has 7 outstanding resorts within an hour away from eachother. + some of the best backcountry access out there. 

It gets pounded with feet of snow each month and boasts an average of 550 inches of annual snowfall. I can't see why this wouldn't be your choice.


Edited by powderhound95 - 5/17/10 at 4:45pm
post #16 of 25

prickly, you really need to put some order in your list...

 

SHREDHEAD has listed much of the pros and cons. I do take issue to the following though:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


 

9. It would really depend on where you are flying?  Transcontinental, you're going to be connecting out of all three?  Aspen's airport is only 3 miles from town and the the bus is free. High season they have daily directs from ORD, SLC, LAX, SFO and ATL. Two airlines, each with several flights to DEN daily, year round.  But weather can be a factor. 


For flying WITHIN the US, SLC has way better choices than Aspen. No weather issue to speak of either. International, the difference disappeared since there're relatively few of them out of SLC, so a connection is often required.

post #17 of 25

I've been to all three.

 

Kelowna blows. The skiing is nowhere close to town, and the BC is even further off. It's 45 minutes to big white and 1.5 hours to silver star. Neither has any decent BC at all. Coquihalla summit is 2.5 hours away, revelstoke is 2.5 hours away, Apex is 2.5 hours away.

 

It's a geographical oddity. 2.5 hours from anywhere.

 

Niether big white nor silver star has anything more than would keep a midwestern dentist and his family happy for the week. Both very ho-hum places. And I've spent more time in both than I'd care to.

 

Aspen and PC >>> Kelowna.

 

 

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

Excellent stuff, bring it on!

post #19 of 25

Because Kelowna is a city and not a ski town there will be more choices and probably better prices for accommodation and cheaper prices for season passes at near by (45minutes) Big White. As a Big White season pass holder (or most other western Canada resort pass holder) you will be able to get 25% off day ticket prices at virtually every ski resort in western Canada except Whistler. Most of the ski resorts in the Thompson-Okanagan and Kootnays can be reached by a 2 to 3 hour drive between resorts. One Big White negative is that they suffer from more fog than just about any resort you can name.

 

Unlike Utah or Colorado, most ski resorts in western Canada never have half hour or 45 minute line ups, plus Aspen gets its big crowds from ski-weekers 5 days a week.  For example on a busy day at Sun Peaks a 10 minute line up is considered long and other British Columbia resorts would be similar. And because there are less skiers it takes longer to ski off the untracked stuff on a powder day.

post #20 of 25

Park City? You can be at SLC in 30 minutes for a direct flight to Tokyo (I'm just saying).

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by powderhound95 View Post

It gets pounded with feet of snow each month and boasts an average of 550 inches of annual snowfall. I can't see why this wouldn't be your choice.


Park City get half that and from what I've skied, PC's snows no better than Aspen's. 

Places in Utah can get 550-600", but so does Irwin/Fravert basin in Colorado?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post


For flying WITHIN the US, SLC has way better choices than Aspen. No weather issue to speak of either. International, the difference disappeared since there're relatively few of them out of SLC, so a connection is often required.


No question, SLC is a bigger airport with many more options.  I was really trying to illistrate that it's service is probably similar to Kelowna's.  But from Chicago, door to door, I can be in Aspen on the direct,  1-1 1/2 hours faster than I could be in PC. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

Unlike Utah or Colorado, most ski resorts in western Canada never have half hour or 45 minute line ups, plus Aspen gets its big crowds from ski-weekers 5 days a week.  For example on a busy day at Sun Peaks a 10 minute line up is considered long and other British Columbia resorts would be similar. And because there are less skiers it takes longer to ski off the untracked stuff on a powder day.

 

 Aspen is rarely crowded, maybe your thinking of the front range resorts?

 

 

All three would be nice places to live.  I hope it works out for you!
 

post #22 of 25

I haven't been to Kelowna, so I can't comment, BUT it's even further north than me.  So, just guessing that there's even less daylight in the winter than I have here in Whitefish, which may be a major issue for your family.  Something to think about.  If you don't ski in the winter or really have a true interest in a winter sport, many just get extremely depressed in the winter and can't take it. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

There's a very, very slim possibility that I'll be picking up sticks and moving with my family to a North American town for a couple years.

 

Did I mention that the possibility is slim?

Anyway, there are three options, and only three. Don't ask why. The possibilities are Aspen, CO, Park City, UT, and Kelowna, BC. So I don't want to hear about Truckee or Frisco or Bozeman or any of that.

Criteria (not in order):
 

  1. Lift-served skiing  (I'd pick Park City because there's more resorts in the area)
  2. Non-lift served skiing, primarily touring and cat (can't comment)
  3. Snow (Utah any day of the week)
  4. Town (leaving living costs out of argument)  (Aspen by a hair.  I love Park City, but Aspen in the summer is wonderful)
  5. Food & beer (tie)
  6. Wine (another one for Kelowna perhaps) (clearly Aspen)
  7. Schools (Aspen)
  8. Lunkheads, or lack thereof (Aspen)
  9. Air travel convenience (a softball for Park City)  (depends on how you feel about small planes, otherwise, you're right)
  10. Other


I'd pick Aspen overall if money is no object.  But then, I'm just not partial to Utah rocks.  I can take a week of them and that's it.  Give me trees any day.

post #23 of 25

Kelowna's location is the only thing against it.  I'd choose it over the others because it's a real town with real people.  Aspen has A LOT of great skiing (probably the best of the three) both inbounds and backcounty.  Living just outside of town, like Basalt, would be nice.  I'd place Park City at a distant third.  I think Park City is boring.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post


Criteria (not in order):
 

  1. Lift-served skiing
  2. Non-lift served skiing, primarily touring and cat (a softball for Kelowna)
  3. Snow
  4. Town (leaving living costs out of argument)
  5. Food & beer
  6. Wine (another one for Kelowna perhaps)
  7. Schools
  8. Lunkheads, or lack thereof
  9. Air travel convenience (a softball for Park City)
  10. Other


1) I like the variety or resorts in the SLC area.

2) I can only imagine side country and BC are great in SLC due to all of your choices.

3) All three would be great.

4) I like Aspen and Park City for that ski town feel.

5) Aspen and Kelowna

6) Kelowna, I just love those BC Pinot Noir's.

7) Beats me

8) They can show up anywhere, just keep a low profile and avoid them.

9) SLC for sure. I like the direct flight from SLC to Paris on Delta.

10) Any of them for a few years would be awesome. Hope it comes through for you. I love the skiing in the SLC area, but really would prefer to live in the Kelowna area just to be in BC rather than UT. Each to his own reasons.

post #25 of 25

Wow Mr. P. I d ohope that the possibility has taken on a "fattening diet"...Any progress insofar?

 

BTW, I know squat about the three palces, othern than having heard the names and having a general idea of the geography.

But, IIRC, Weems lives (or teaches) at Aspen...may be that one more reason to go live there?

The possibility to ski with other Epic skiers?

 

Best of luck, man.

Mr. N.

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