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Old 05-02-2008   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 177
places to move- thoughts, ideas

Hey All,

The wife and I will be coming back to the states in a bit after a few years abroad and are trying to figure out where we want to settle. Our main goal is to ski but boating is a close second and were looking for some advice on good places, what's offered, etc.

It doesn't have to be the biggest, raddest ski area but somwhere solid that's got a small town that's relaxed and close to the area and is either bikeable, walkable, public trans or a short drive to get there. It would be nice to have some boating in town or close for after work runs and good boating in the area for weekends. Not too worried about jobs, will find something seasonal or bang nails etc but good options are always nice. I grew up in steamboat and don't want to go back there but that's the kind of place we're looking for - small, laid back and plenty to do.

We've got a couple of ideas we've been kicking around and are looking for some thoughts from living there, visits, positives, negatives whatever. And if there's any places we haven't thought of that would be cool too although we want to avoid the I-70 mess and all that comes with that.

Ketchum/Sun Valley ID
Whitefish MT
Big Sky
Crested Butte
The Tahoe Area -
Utah - Alta, others?
Maybe Buena Vista - how's the drive to Monarch?
Any thing else?

Thanks for the help and safe paddling.



Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
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Old 05-02-2008   #2
utidcapaco's Avatar
Lost Almost, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 65
I love northern New Mexico. Been here going on three years now. Los Alamos has a nice little ski area 15 minutes away ( Plenty of biking, hiking, trails, etc. The Rio Grande runs year round and has class I to class V+ within 30 minutes to 2-hour drive. Lots of other boating possibilities, and a fairly short drive to CO, too. Four seasons, but summers not too hot nor winters too cold. Not to mention hunting, fishing, backpacking, you-name-it. Many people love Santa Fe, but it's not really my style. YMMV. Taos is a good possibility, too. Great skiing and closer to paddling. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!


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Old 05-02-2008   #3
Osgood's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 49
Gunnison is much cheaper than Crested Butte and only 30 min away. Probably don't want to bike there but we do have public transport. Also 40 min from Monarch which is much more laid back than CB- cheaper season pass too. We have rivers and creeks, many miles of beginner to very advanced mtn bike trails. Off road too if your into that. New pool and indoor hockey being built as we speak. Easy to bike around town. Nice small college keeps the town young. Lots of non profit and community programs to get involved with. Small but very talented arts community too.
It gets very cold here but the trade off is very comfortable summers and 300+ sunny days. Jobs are tough but there are some good ones availiable(especially if you bring your own). The people at the local paper and the city and county polititians are very approachable. Lots of good stuff on the horizon with some good growth and development contriversy to keep you involved. Nice central colorado location for access many of colorado's more remote areas. Just 5 hours to Moab too!
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Old 05-02-2008   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
I'd take Sun Valley off the list. The resort there kinda sucks and the boating isn't very close. Maybe replace Sun Valley with McCall, ID. The resorts up there are decent and the Payettes are pretty close.

Not a lot of boating in SLC, but you don't need me to tell you how ridiculous the skiing is. Maybe even consider Ogden, UT - boating is a little better, skiing is about as good and housing is probably half as much as every other city on your list.

Otherwise, sick options. I'm jealous!
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Old 05-02-2008   #5
IkayakNboard's Avatar
, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 169
I've heard Big Sky is blowing up quick, and becoming not so laid back big time touristy...if you're thinking Montana I'd also consider the smaller town of Red Lodge. I haven't ever ridden the mountain, though their trail map seems to have at least a fair amount of expert terrain. I've only driven through the town in the spring/summer months, but it looked like a cool little town. I picked up a real estate paper while I was there last (3 or 4 years ago or so), and property was fairly cheap. In terms of boating, you'd have easy access to the stillwater drainage (and probably not too far from clark's fork drainage) which has something for everyone...easy class II floats, park n' play (sort of) at Mr. Bubbles when he's in, class III runs through class V+, multi-day runs, etc. In terms of hiking and mtn could go out to some sick trails on a Saturday and never run into another person. Oh how I love Montana.
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Old 05-02-2008   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 118
Zach Good to hear from you... Going to be an epic season this year, so do some push ups...Steamboat isn't really a laid back mellow town right now, but still ok... I've heard good things about the Driggs area...Also Pacific NW...See you soon
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Old 05-02-2008   #7
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Salida and CB are my votes for Colorado-

Salida is: real town, backyard playboating and downriver/speedering with close access to the entire state, nearby quality class 4, nearby decent skiing at Monarch (25mins).

CB: In the mountains, backyard skiing, backyard creekboating for a short time, close access to western slope paddling, etc...

Otherwise, all of the places on your list are pretty epic in their own ways. If you are into Idaho, look at McCall and possibly Sandpoint - I think it would fit your criteria. For PacNW, check Bellingham.
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Old 05-02-2008   #8
oh yeah
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 535
from your list my winter choices are:

Utah - Alta, others?
Big Sky
Whitefish MT
Crested Butte
Buena Vista

i've never been to Ketchum/Sun Valley ID or The Tahoe Area -

for summers:

Buena Vista
Crested Butte
Whitefish MT
Big Sky
Utah - Alta, others?

again, i've never lived in Ketchum/Sun Valley ID or The Tahoe Area and i've never visited driggs, jackson, whitefish, or big sky in the summer.

i spent two winters in whitefish. great town with good skiing and a shuttle. also, i've been up to driggs twice. LOTS of snow and with jackson around the corner...
i currently live in salida. great town. the winter is the "off" season so you have the hill to yourself. and with the ark in the summer and a good selection of rivers within three hours it's a great compromise for me. utah has better skiing and california has better rivers but if you like both it's a good middle point.

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Old 05-02-2008   #9
the fort, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 672
some good towns thrown out so far. how about these in addition to the ones listed?

missoula - where we're going if we leave fort collins.
bend - boating, biking, skiing. it's all there.
hood river - skiing and boating both close by.
gunnison - kinda rural, but you close your eyes, point in any direction, and you have great potential for a lot of things.

good luck. let us know where you land.
By the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.
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Old 05-02-2008   #10
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 451

for Colorado I think Salida or Durango are good candidates.

Monarch is only about a 15 minute drive and Crested Butte just rocked this year. Sailda of course has great boating but has killer proximity to alot of the great parts of the state. And if you need access to Denver it's only a few hours drive.

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