Need some opinions on Eagle County - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-08-2006   #1
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
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Need some opinions on Eagle County

Recently got a line on a great job in Avon and am curious to know some more about the scene in EC. Yeah, I know it's pricey, but what else should I know? I doubt I'd be boating in March like I do here in Denver, but just how long is the season there? Anyone who's made the transition either way got thoughts?

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Old 02-08-2006   #2
Avon, Colorado
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I better put on the suit of armor for this one.

I love the place. It has everything many small cities has and yet almost everything very small towns have. The boating is great and extremely close. I boat at lunch (another plus of many employers around here--relaxed) and have lived in 2 places where i boat to my deck (hottub). From Class V+ to class II, all withing 20 minute drive. Easy access to Gore and the Ark.

Hopefully your employer is as cool as many....i also bike to work 3 days a week and bring my dog (and kayak) the other 2 days.

The biking (road/mountain) and skiing are right up there with the best. The tree skiing and hiking at the Beav is unreal, and a 6" day at Vail is comparable to 10" in Utah/Wyoming.

Also plenty of rock climbiing in Gilman and Homestake area (worldclass Rifle also fairly close).
I have a place in Jackson and had a great opurtunity to move there recently. I just couldn't pull the trigger. Other than skiing (on/off piste) Jackson can't compare to the amount of resources in all areas of outdoor hobbies and especially the "ease of access". And Jackson is supposed to be Shangra La.

Now the down is not a small town any more (as i'm sure you know). You will not be able to have the cozy feel indicitive of many mtn. towns. You can often see/hear the highway.

My hobbies are my #1 priority in would be hard to better this place when you factor in the job pay scales.

Let the "Hate" begin.
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Old 02-08-2006   #3
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I have spent a lot of time in the Valley and think Endo is right on. Although he forgot to mention the fact that Shoshone is less than an hour so march boating is easy. In the end I did'nt buy ther becuse of the freeway noise and the lack of a cohesive small town feel. If i were you I would go for it. sj
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Old 02-08-2006   #4
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Eagle County, Colorado
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Hey Caspian, I would have to agree with the other two. I was a little skeptical on EC myself at first, but it is a great place to live. True, there isn't a town square, and you probably live in a condo without a yard. When people back home ask me about the condo/I-70 thing, I usually reply that I have thousands of square miles of back yard in the White River National Forest. As Endo said, it is really easy to get a place that either backs up to the Eagle River or Gore Creek, or a hiking or snowshoeing trail, BC skiing, or a mountain bike loop.

In any spot in Vail Valley, you are pretty much 5 minutes from a put-in, a ski lift, a mountain bike/snowshoe/hiking trail, fishing, or something else fun to do.

The cost of living is pretty high, but the growth that some people curse has created some actual "real" jobs around here.

I totally relate to the half and half city/country feel. It is almost a suburban setting. Vail and some of the other towns have Denver style nightlife, but I still never leave the post office or the grocery store without seeing throngs of people I know.

BTW, the Eagle usually runs roughly May-July in an "average" year (like last year) but it is free flowing, so highly snowpack and weather dependent. I'm thinking we might be still doing some low water trips into August this year if it isn't record setting heat. And like they all said, great year round WW at Shoshone is 45 minutes down the highway. Gore (and Upper C for fishing/camping/beginner boating) have nice long seasons too.

You're an easy 3.5-4 hr drive to Moab, and 1.5 hours to the Diamond Caberet or an Avs Game (or 9 hours if you go on a weekend late afternoon!). I can even use ff miles and fly direct to Atlanta to see my family with free no hassle parking a stone's throw from the front door of the airport.

Anyways, hope that helps. Lots of us have learned how to make it work out, and really enjoy it.
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Old 02-08-2006   #5
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Eagle County is an interesting place, and Vail really isn't the place to be in it anymore. Someof the normal year round working class types live there, but I think the large majority live down valley in Avon, Edwards, Eagle or Gypsum. I find the further that direction you go, the less ski town it feels and the more cow town it feels. I grew up in Vail and moved to Edwards with my family when I was in middle school. Its definetly a different place now then it used to be. Parts of me likes it there alot and parts of me doesn't at all. My mom still lives and works there so I spent a decent amount of time in the valley in the past couple years, till recently(moved to central NY about 3 months ago).

In general its a great place to live. Its surrounded by beauty and the outdoors. Lots of stuff to do and plenty of cool people. It definetly doesn't have the variety and choice of the Denver/Boulder area, but you can find most of what you need there (yay for Walmart.....NOT).

The one thing I notice about it is that the mentality is alot different up there. Its still very much a small town mentality and little things that a big city would never notice often turn into a big hulabaloo in the Valley, as refrenced by the Flagpole issue that had full on six month contreversial debate over it about a year or so ago (the new walmart/home depot put up a rather large flagpole to fly the American flag and the community went nutso, some didn't like that it block their view of the mountain, some thought it was a corporation taking advantage of patriotism, some didn't care, on and on and on). In general its just like a huge valley wide cocktail party there sometimes. Everybody kinda knows everything about you, the good and the bad. Feels like High School all over again.

In general I like the place and enjoy coming back to visit all my friends and family there, but unlike many of the people that I grew up with, I don't think it will ever be my home again. The area is great and I love it and I'll always look back on it with fond memories. However the place has changed or I have (probably both) and I don't find that I fit there anymore. If I ever move back to Colorado (which I see as a possibility) then I'll likely go back to Boulder, where I lived before I moved to the land of eternal cloudy and flatness (upstate NY). Other Coloradans seem to knock it, but I feel that its a great compromise between city and town. In the same way that the Vail Valley is a town that feels a bit like a city, Boulder is a city that feels like a town (which, among other reasons, is why both Front Ranger people and mountain people seem to dislike it).

In the end, you aren't really gonna know if it fits you or not until you move there. Its a fun and pleasant place to live for sure. For some its great for a year and they move on, and for others (like my parents) they move there for life (my mom has lived there since the late 70's). One thing I will say is that you don't get the full feel for the place as a tourist, even as one that hails from Denver (as much as ya'll don't wanna call yourself tourists, you still are to the locals). I would say that if the job is decent and will allow you to afford the expenses you gotta pay, you have nothing to lose by trying it out. Its very likely that you'll fall in love with it just as many others have.


p.s. In my opinion, the summers are waaay better then the winters.... they saying goes that "People come for the winter, and stay because of the summer". JH
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Old 02-08-2006   #6
Denver, Colorado
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Where are you boating in Denver in March? Curious as this is my first spring here and I didn't realize that there was anything going on until later in the year.
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Old 02-08-2006   #7
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Lakewood, Colorado
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As for boating in March in Colorado, its really dependent on how big your cold weather balls are. There are enough runs that never cover fully with ice most years, so its a matter of looking at water levels and just going. You'll have better luck in the Front Range since it tends to be a bit warmer. I've done the Royal Gorge in February before and it was good to go if a bit low. People do Shoshone year round too. The South Platte in denver will often run if it snows enough, but its far from the cleanest water I've boated in. Some have complained of rashes and getting sick from it. I'm not one of them and I've been there over 10 times midwinter when it was flooding.

I've also heard of people doing Westwater, though I imagine its friggin freezing and a bit miserable unless you get totally lucky with the weather. Low water runs on other desert trips are good to go too, such as Cataract (done that twice). The main thing you have to find out is if there are ice bridges and the sort, if there isn't get your layers and cold weather cohones out and a few buddies similarly equipped and go to it. End of April is really when things start to feel like spring is coming, and May is when it hits for real.

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Old 02-08-2006   #8
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steamboat, Colorado
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don't trainspot it.

You could definitely do worse!
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Old 02-08-2006   #9
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Englewood, Colorado
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E-M pretty muched summed it up.

In a good year Confluenza starts to run early and it's fine for getting up to speed after winter even at low water. Union starts running shortly after that if it's a normal year. I would bet the Poudre starts going low water near then too, but probably only worth the drive if you live in the Fort.

I've run Bailey as early as March 7th or something like that (175 cfs or so) and there was snow everywhere, but the ice was gone (that was after the '03 blizzard, though and I think most of that water was just natural flow). The quality of the boating isn't four-star, but it gets me amped for the season to come and strong for when the real water comes. I've also done Westwater in March and it was totally fine. We did Ancient Art out at the Fisher Towers and some ice in Ouray in the days on either side. Gotta love this state. It's not like having GSMNP or LRC in your backyard, but it sure doesn't suck.

joneser - you still digging out? Ain't trainspotted it in a while, LOL. Just be careful at Olive Garden, ok?
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Old 02-09-2006   #10
Metro Area, Colorado
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Waterton Canyon is running the last week of March usually too. The hike out afterwards isn't great, but when nothing else is running and you are just itching to get on the water it works.
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