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Old 12-01-2010, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
11 posts, read 21,460 times
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Default Recommendations for place to live in CO? Seeking moderate temps and sun...?

Hello Colorado posters. I'm looking for recommendations on cities to check out. I've learned that there are many different climates within CO, and I'm not sure what area to focus on.

We're seeking moderate temperatures (not too hot / not too cold) and plenty of sun. I like four seasons, but I'm tired of the bitter winters in Wisconsin and could be happy without ever dipping below 30 degrees again. We don't like really humid weather either. We'd love a college-town, and of course, someplace with decent cost-of-living. Is it possible to find all of this together? I welcome any and all advice! Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:57 PM
ndk
 
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 145,454 times
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You won't find moderate temperatures in Colorado. The climate here is even more continental and extreme than it is in Wisconsin. Summers can be scalding hot, and winters can be freezing cold, no matter which part of the state you're in.

There's great variety in the types of extreme, but it's all extreme. And it certainly all gets well below 30 degrees routinely. The low humidity can make it feel a bit less extreme at times.

If you want moderate temperatures, you'll have to go closer to the coasts, where the ocean acts as a buffer.

We have excellent sun and low humidity, though, and you'll get that basically anywhere in the state.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:21 AM
 
9,694 posts, read 11,715,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figment98 View Post
Hello Colorado posters. I'm looking for recommendations on cities to check out. I've learned that there are many different climates within CO, and I'm not sure what area to focus on.

We're seeking moderate temperatures (not too hot / not too cold) and plenty of sun. I like four seasons, but I'm tired of the bitter winters in Wisconsin and could be happy without ever dipping below 30 degrees again. We don't like really humid weather either. We'd love a college-town, and of course, someplace with decent cost-of-living. Is it possible to find all of this together? I welcome any and all advice! Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
How about Southern California or Arizona?

Colorado is one of the coldest average states in the USA and is the highest elevation state. Even places people will tell you are the "banana belt" are anything but with freezing cold winds and winter weather that can strike anytime in winter.

Colorado can have four seasons in one day. The weather is highly variable due to the topography of the mountains and it's crossroads for weather patterns in the USA. So there is nothing moderate about Colorado weather so don't expect that at all.

Colorado has few real "college towns" and the options in that regard are either pricey like Boulder or remote like Gunnison.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:31 AM
 
7,934 posts, read 15,159,783 times
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Short answer--no.

There is no place in Colorado that has a growing season longer than about 180 days between killing frosts. That should tell you plenty about what others have already said about the Colorado climate. Most places have growing seasons shorter than that, often less than 130-150 days. Even in some of the mildest locales (Pueblo, Cañon City, Grand Junction, and Delta come to mind), all have many, many nights in winter where the temperature will drop below 20° F. or lower--especially so in the Western valleys where cold air frequently pools.

"Decent cost of living," especially in comparison with local incomes, will leave most of Colorado off of your list, as well.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,458 posts, read 10,790,613 times
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My comments are based on a mere 4 years of living in Colorado, so keep that in mind as you read my words. Finding the sun you crave won't be a problem just about anywhere in Colorado. We have an abundance of sunshine in this state! However, finding the moderate temperatures will be more challenging. Although 30 below is quite common, most locations in Colorao will not experience 30 below during any given winter. However, you can count on a stretch of temps in the Zero range just about anywhere, just about every winter. But it is commonly sunny and the air is just about always very dry, so the cold ( unless it is windy or even just breezy ) is not the bone chilling cold that occurs in a more humid climate like Wisconson. Someone mentioned a banana belt, which typicaaly conjures images of swaying palm trees. Be informed that there are no such banana belts in Colorado. The so-called banana belts here are not the kind of place I'd choose to hang out in if I was a banana. The banana belts in CO ( Grand Junction where I live is supposedly one of them ) still get pretty darn cold. Banana belts and 18 below are not usually used in the same sentence, but 18 below did indeed occurr in the banana belt of Grand Junction this past winter.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 12-02-2010 at 08:54 AM..
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
11 posts, read 21,460 times
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Thanks for the great info! I guess I'd always heard about the great weather in Denver, but it's probably more that you can get great weather (all four seasons in a single day, like you mentioned) any time of the year. But it does get cold. You're probably right about the humidity making the cold feel worse, so that's good to keep in mind. Well, I'll be in CO in a few weeks for work, so I'll get to compare the colds then. Thanks again for the great info!
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:58 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,702 posts, read 16,723,905 times
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I really like Rocky Ford, Fruita and LaJunta. (well, "like" is a relative term when it comes to Colorado). Anyway, these are areas that are highly agricultural, so I would think they have a pretty decent growing season although I have not researched them to find out the specifics.

You might check them out.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:21 PM
 
8,020 posts, read 20,665,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
I really like Rocky Ford, Fruita and LaJunta. (well, "like" is a relative term when it comes to Colorado). Anyway, these are areas that are highly agricultural, so I would think they have a pretty decent growing season although I have not researched them to find out the specifics.

You might check them out.

20yrsinBranson
"decent" growing season when your prevailing crops are Hard Red Winter Wheat is prepping and planting in the Fall for emergence before the winter sets in, and then hoping to trap enough moisture on the field during the snow season so it melts into the ground for the spring growth of the plants, hoping to see them grow fairly tall before jointing and then heading out. Harvest time is summer for those fields of wheat. Alternate years, the fields lay fallow.

Gardening, OTOH, is a seasonal thing of just several months between the last frost of the spring and the first frost in the fall.

We fly in to La Junta for lunch now and then, and it's pretty hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter months ... most certainly not what the OP had described as a moderate climate area. With the combination of topography, altitude, and distance from the coastline ... I'd say that what the OP set for parameters will not be found anywhere in Colorado.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
We'd love a college-town, and of course, someplace with decent cost-of-living.
For me Fort Collins is the obvious choice. Despite the thread on our extreme weather, I can say (having lived in the snowbelt) that the winters come with sun and long spells of 50-degree highs, with snow rarely staying for mroe than 2-3 days, and the summers lack the extreme humidity (although being in a river valley I enjoyed that FC had some summer humidity.) It is dry here, but the areas adjecent to parts of the Front Range get 13"-15" of precip annually and are considered tallgrass prairie. Summers are much milder than the desert weather, and winters more bearable than the NE. The shorter growing seasons are in part the result of our large temparature swings between daytime and nighttime and this the likelihood of frost - sunny days still tend to warm up. Yes, Dec-Feb are still cold!

Fort Collins has a college town feel, a nice downtown that is improving (more and better restaurants) a river and bike trails, an active lcoal food and bicycle movement, and views itself (at least policy-wise) to be a developing into a small city, not trying to remain a "small town" or sprawl outwards. And unlike some college towns, there is an economy beyond CSU, though it isn't Denver or Boulder.

Cons are it doesn't have excellent access to the mountains (foothilsl are close by but the high country is 1 - 1 1/2 hours away) and if you are from a big city or a coastal area, you may find it a bit slow and less diverse. The southern parts of town tend to be more typical suburbia (culturally) but I think this is common of college towns.

Boulder County also offers several small towns (Lousivile, Lafayette, Longmont) that are suburbs of Boulder in a way.

Smaller towns that may provide wwhat you want include Salida (milder than the high country and attracting some of the same culture you'd find in a college town).
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:38 PM
 
9,694 posts, read 11,715,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figment98 View Post
Thanks for the great info! I guess I'd always heard about the great weather in Denver, but it's probably more that you can get great weather (all four seasons in a single day, like you mentioned) any time of the year. But it does get cold. You're probably right about the humidity making the cold feel worse, so that's good to keep in mind. Well, I'll be in CO in a few weeks for work, so I'll get to compare the colds then. Thanks again for the great info!
Taking the place of the humidity is the wind and due to the up and down drafts of the mountains, the wind blows frequently. I just spent 2 weeks back in my old home town in Colorado and I'd say at least 5 days we were rocked by 50 mph plus winds.

You also have a large number of microclimates thanks to elevation change, sunlight and so on.

Then there is the dryness and I have to say I am glad to be back in humidity as my cracked and bleeding skin is heeling quickly.

Describing Colorado's climate as moderate is like saying a roller coaster is a gentle walk. Are there nice days in CO? You bet. I experienced one last Saturday, 57 degrees in Denver and drove 500 miles around the mountains with the lowest temp I experienced was 15 degrees.

But I've seen nice days in Wisconsin too, so Colorado doesn't have the lock on that.

In my 7 years in CO, I went through hellacious blizzards that have scarred me for life, winds that nearly knocked me or my vehicle over, ice, hail, tornadoes, floods, crackling dry air, intense sunlight, dust storms, temperature inversions, -30 temps, 105 degree heat, incredible wind chills way below zero.

So as long as you are on board with that, cool, but you can forget the dreamlike four season thing.
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