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Old 09-29-2018, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
41 posts, read 16,994 times
Reputation: 33

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Greetings!

First, let me state that I'm writing this post in an effort to determine which cities/areas seem like promising places to visit. If I visit and love it, then maybe I'll consider something more permanent. Right now, though, I have limited vacation time at my new job, so I'm just trying to see if Bozeman belongs on my list.

I'm in love with my hometown, Charleston (SC), but it's hot and on the coast, and I've always been a mountains-and-snow kind of guy. I'm a single, 30-something male, if that helps.

I'm trying to find a place that maintains a lot of the fun and friendliness of Charleston, but then mixes that with amazing mountain vistas; open space; fresh, clean air; world-class recreational activities, like skiing, sledding, snowmobiling; river/lake activities; etc.

There are a lot of places in the country with mountains, snow, ski resorts, etc., but not many of them include a decent-sized town with good restaurants, an active social scene, etc. Does that sound like Bozeman?

So, ideally, I'd want something like:
  1. Close proximity to great skiing
  2. Plenty of open space
  3. Active social scene (good and plentiful dining options, dancing, concerts, etc.)
  4. Decent-sized city (20,000-ish or more)
  5. Friendly, down-to-Earth people
  6. Fresh, clean air
  7. Lower summer and winter humidity than the East coast
  8. Low crime rate
  9. A reasonable amount of sunshine
  10. Access to summer watersports a definite plus

I'm also considering:
  1. Coeur d'Alene, ID
  2. Idaho Falls/Rexburg, ID
  3. Sandpoint, ID
  4. Kalispell/Whitefish, MT
  5. Bend, Oregon
  6. Park City, UT (SLC's insane crime rate and air pollution rule it out)
  7. Steamboat Springs, CO
  8. Durango, CO
  9. Burlington/Stowe, VT

Does Bozeman sound like it's worth a visit? Are there others on that list (or not on that list) that I should definitely also consider?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-29-2018, 04:47 PM
 
2,879 posts, read 3,622,136 times
Reputation: 2211
Bozeman: Occasional touring acts (genre may or may not interest). People, high % are educated. Some folks say snobby, others don't. Water rec? Some, with a drive.


How much are you willing to spend on housing, rent or buy? A lot of your list are pricey.


CDA, Sandpoint or Kalispell / Whitefish could work. But not much sun in winter.


Bend probably has best music scene.


Idaho Falls/Rexburg, ID
has a very high % LDS. Could affect dating scene.


You want snow for skiing. Ok to live & drive in it for 4-6 months? Care about sub zero mornings? Most get 10-20 per year. CDA, about 5. Steamboat, about 50.

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-29-2018 at 05:08 PM..
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:29 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,308 posts, read 8,490,094 times
Reputation: 9935
Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmettoStater View Post
Greetings!

First, let me state that I'm writing this post in an effort to determine which cities/areas seem like promising places to visit. If I visit and love it, then maybe I'll consider something more permanent. Right now, though, I have limited vacation time at my new job, so I'm just trying to see if Bozeman belongs on my list.

I'm in love with my hometown, Charleston (SC), but it's hot and on the coast, and I've always been a mountains-and-snow kind of guy. I'm a single, 30-something male, if that helps.

I'm trying to find a place that maintains a lot of the fun and friendliness of Charleston, but then mixes that with amazing mountain vistas; open space; fresh, clean air; world-class recreational activities, like skiing, sledding, snowmobiling; river/lake activities; etc.

There are a lot of places in the country with mountains, snow, ski resorts, etc., but not many of them include a decent-sized town with good restaurants, an active social scene, etc. Does that sound like Bozeman?

So, ideally, I'd want something like:
  1. Close proximity to great skiing
  2. Plenty of open space
  3. Active social scene (good and plentiful dining options, dancing, concerts, etc.)
  4. Decent-sized city (20,000-ish or more)
  5. Friendly, down-to-Earth people
  6. Fresh, clean air
  7. Lower summer and winter humidity than the East coast
  8. Low crime rate
  9. A reasonable amount of sunshine
  10. Access to summer watersports a definite plus

I'm also considering:
  1. Coeur d'Alene, ID
  2. Idaho Falls/Rexburg, ID
  3. Sandpoint, ID
  4. Kalispell/Whitefish, MT
  5. Bend, Oregon
  6. Park City, UT (SLC's insane crime rate and air pollution rule it out)
  7. Steamboat Springs, CO
  8. Durango, CO
  9. Burlington/Stowe, VT

Does Bozeman sound like it's worth a visit? Are there others on that list (or not on that list) that I should definitely also consider?

Thanks in advance!
Most of these requirements can be found in Bozeman except friendly down to Earth people. Bozeman has some good people and a whole lot of pretentious *******s. Enough of them that I couldn't wait to leave after I graduated from college. Living there as a non student may be different, but that was my experience. As far as the other places on the list, be aware that living near a ski resort means a VERY high cost of living. Make sure you can actually afford to go skiing and enjoy your off time. Poverty with a view is no fun. Working 2+ jobs is also no fun. I'd go so far as to say it's not living, it's existing.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:38 PM
 
110 posts, read 75,236 times
Reputation: 200
Anywhere on your list is basically poverty with a view. Prepare to have no social life as you'll be working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet unless your a doctor, lawyer or CEO.......
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
41 posts, read 16,994 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
Bozeman: Occasional touring acts (genre may or may not interest). People, high % are educated. Some folks say snobby, others don't. Water rec? Some, with a drive.


How much are you willing to spend on housing, rent or buy? A lot of your list are pricey.


CDA, Sandpoint or Kalispell / Whitefish could work. But not much sun in winter.


Bend probably has best music scene.


Idaho Falls/Rexburg, ID
has a very high % LDS. Could affect dating scene.


You want snow for skiing. Ok to live & drive in it for 4-6 months? Care about sub zero mornings? Most get 10-20 per year. CDA, about 5. Steamboat, about 50.
I'd be willing to spend $400-500,000. As for Idaho Falls/Rexburg, that's kind of a reach for me, fit-wise; I'm not religious. I can probably scratch it off the list.

I went to grad school at App State in Boone, NC. We had long, cold, wet, windy, icy winters. There were entire weeks where the wind chill never got above -10, and the wet air just sliced right through your layers and into your bone marrow. I'm okay with the cold, and I love snow (especially usable snow, like on mountains and sledding hills). I don't know anyone who likes driving in it, but it's a necessary evil.

I think my biggest concerns in the Flathead Valley would be the lack of sunshine and the air quality (supposedly not great, especially in winter). That's why I was looking at Bozeman, really (better air and more sun). Do those seem like valid reasons, or am I overstating the severity of the problem in Flathead Valley?
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
41 posts, read 16,994 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjstef View Post
Anywhere on your list is basically poverty with a view. Prepare to have no social life as you'll be working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet unless your a doctor, lawyer or CEO.......
Well, I'm a software engineer. I'm sure I don't earn as much as a doctor, lawyer, or CEO, but I do decently, and I'm not looking for an outrageously expensive place to live.

I currently live in Charleston, which is every bit as expensive as most of the cities on my list (far exceeding most of them, if you're looking for something in a decent part of downtown). Here, I live 15-20 minutes from downtown. It's safe, quiet, rent is cheaper, and I still have easy access to everything the area has to offer. I'd search for a similar situation if I lived elsewhere. Maybe there's no equivalent in Bozeman or any of those other towns. I don't know. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out which places fit my desired locations. Once I know more about that, I'll dig into suburbs, etc.

Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:00 AM
 
2,879 posts, read 3,622,136 times
Reputation: 2211
Average home price in Bozeman is supposed to be about 400k. 275k in Belgrade. You might look at Gallatin Gateway if you want lower density. Manhattan is also another small town option. Livingston if you want to be further out.


Yeah by government stats Bozeman has better air quality than Kalispell (but K's is still above national average on average, maybe not in winter). And more mostly sunny days (188 per year vs. Kalispell very low 151). But Bozeman is still almost 20 short of national average.


Odds are you'd like Bozeman. Most do. It has one of the fastest growth RATES of any metro in the country. Bend might be the leading competitor. Durango could work too, especially is sun is important. 266 mostly sunny days. UV is usually high, often very high in mid-day during summer.

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-30-2018 at 12:28 AM..
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:02 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,308 posts, read 8,490,094 times
Reputation: 9935
Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmettoStater View Post
Well, I'm a software engineer. I'm sure I don't earn as much as a doctor, lawyer, or CEO, but I do decently, and I'm not looking for an outrageously expensive place to live.

I currently live in Charleston, which is every bit as expensive as most of the cities on my list (far exceeding most of them, if you're looking for something in a decent part of downtown). Here, I live 15-20 minutes from downtown. It's safe, quiet, rent is cheaper, and I still have easy access to everything the area has to offer. I'd search for a similar situation if I lived elsewhere. Maybe there's no equivalent in Bozeman or any of those other towns. I don't know. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out which places fit my desired locations. Once I know more about that, I'll dig into suburbs, etc.

Thanks!
The problem is the most of these are outrageously expensive. Neither Bozeman nor Kalispel have suburbs in the traditional sense. Bozeman had Belgrade but it's gotten just as expensive as the rest of the Gallatin Valley.

I'm not trying to scare you away. This is the reality. I grew up near Bozeman and couldn't count the number of people who came in with a romanticized view of Montana and ended up leaving broke. You're doing your research now which is good. Just be careful not to get caught up in the "it's so pretty" mentality. There's nothing fun (and I think most sane people would agree) about living somewhere pretty if you're struggling to make ends meet and can't actually enjoy what it has to offer.

I also forgot to mention, if you look into Park City, be aware that Utah is the closest thing to a theocracy in this country. While Park City may not be as religious, the LDS Church has a massive amount of influence in the state. If you're not religious this is definitely something to consider.
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Old 09-30-2018, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
41 posts, read 16,994 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
Average home price in Bozeman is supposed to be about 400k. 275k in Belgrade. You might look at Gallatin Gateway if you want lower density. Manhattan is also another small town option. Livingston if you want to be further out.
$275k really isn't bad. I could do something like that. Do those suburbs have some decent grab-and-go dining options (Moe's, Chipotle, McAlister's, etc.), Walmart/Target, etc.? In other words, is it easy to live there?

Quote:
Yeah by government stats Bozeman has better air quality than Kalispell (but K's is still above national average on average, maybe not in winter). And more mostly sunny days (188 per year vs. Kalispell very low 151). But Bozeman is still almost 20 short of national average.
That'll take some getting used to. Charleston gets around 3000 hours. Boone gets something like 2300. Pretty much everywhere northwest of Colorado gets 1500-1800, it seems. I don't know how I'd handle that, because I've flat-out never experienced it. I know a lot of people get S.A.D.

Quote:
Odds are you'd like Bozeman. Most do. It has one of the fastest growth RATES of any metro in the country. Bend might be the leading competitor. Durango could work too, especially is sun is important. 266 mostly sunny days. UV is usually high, often very high in mid-day during summer.
I know I'd like Bozeman. The question I have is whether or not I'd want to live there. I'd like it just based on it being a modern city with world-class skiing nearby.

You'll probably laugh, but my biggest concerns with Montana/Idaho are 1) sunshine (as discussed), 2) convenience to restaurants/stores (as discussed), and 3) wildlife. I grew up in an area with 0 large predators (the biggest was the fox or bobcat). I never felt any fear whatsoever in going outside at night and playing basketball on the concrete patio beside our house for hours on end, unsupervised. I never felt any fear walking around our country neighborhood. I never hesitated to walk through the woods (just keep an eye out for snakes). Can you ever let your guard down in areas with grizzlies, black bears, mountain lions, moose, etc.? That'd be a huge change for me.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
41 posts, read 16,994 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by NDak15 View Post
The problem is the most of these are outrageously expensive. Neither Bozeman nor Kalispel have suburbs in the traditional sense. Bozeman had Belgrade but it's gotten just as expensive as the rest of the Gallatin Valley.

I'm not trying to scare you away. This is the reality. I grew up near Bozeman and couldn't count the number of people who came in with a romanticized view of Montana and ended up leaving broke. You're doing your research now which is good. Just be careful not to get caught up in the "it's so pretty" mentality. There's nothing fun (and I think most sane people would agree) about living somewhere pretty if you're struggling to make ends meet and can't actually enjoy what it has to offer.
I appreciate the honesty! No place is perfect, so it's good to read an honest assessment of its flaws.

Quote:
I also forgot to mention, if you look into Park City, be aware that Utah is the closest thing to a theocracy in this country. While Park City may not be as religious, the LDS Church has a massive amount of influence in the state. If you're not religious this is definitely something to consider.
I figured. That's always been a major strike against it, in my book. It has a few things going for it, though, if I can get past the religion and ludicrous expense:
  1. Plentiful snowfall
  2. Ridiculously awesome skiing with great powder
  3. 229 days of sunshine
  4. Moderate highs during the summer (upper 70s and low 80s)
  5. Close proximity to a major airport
  6. Close proximity to a big city with lots of social/sporting events

But again, I'd have to swallow my general disdain for organized religion and also sell both of my kidneys, plus half of my liver.

Like I said earlier, nowhere's perfect. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out which combination of traits will make me happiest.

(So far, Vermont is in the lead. It's probably because it reminds me of Boone and Asheville, just with far better skiing. It just gets so cold!)
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