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Old 01-18-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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Hey all, I've been offered a chance to interview for a position in Vail, CO. This is a full-time, salaried position and at a place I could see myself working for until retirement.

I would be relocating from Washington, DC and I do not own a home here, but rent.

I know Vail is expensive and that is definitely a concern. The company offers discounted rental housing and provides help with purchasing one of the properties they own. They mentioned Red Sandstone and Cattail Way. Anyone know anything about these areas? I am assuming they are some kind of planned development housing areas.

Ideally I'd like to rent a stand alone house with a garage since I work on old motorcycles in my spare time and I don't like condos or townhomes or that boxed lifestyle.

The benefits plan is exceptional, as is the contribution to retirement.

That said moving from DC to Vail is a big leap. I was recently in Denver, CO and while I loved the climate (30 degrees in Denver = 50 degrees in DC) the city itself didn't speak to me. Way more busy than DC and felt more like suburbia than anything - I live right inside of DC, which is about 80% housing. I cannot stand Suburbia, box stores and that plastic lifestyle.

I can say that the salary is a concern as it is only approximately $60,000 per year. I just don't know that that is doable there, esp if I want to purchase a home.

Still I have some questions:

What is the yearly life like for someone who doesn't really ski? I am outdoors oriented (grew up in the Mtns of Georgia) but I'm no ski bum. I prefer dirt bikes, road motorcycles, though I do love camping, hiking, and not against cross-country skiing. So let's say the allure of being in a ski community isn't as big a draw as it would be for some others.

What is the weather like compared to Denver? I loved the fact that at 34 degrees I was not cold due to the high altitude and sun. Does Vail get that or is it more cold, humid, and dreary?

What is the commuting like for Eagle County in the winter? Is it necessary to have a 4 wheel drive? Are places spread out and distant?

Anything else you can add would be great. I'm not someone driven by money so I know I'm not going to be a rich executive, but I also do like being able to pay the bills. Being able to be a short drive into work but also not living next to a Wal-Mart or Starbucks or an area like that would be a huge draw for me.

Thanks.

Also, for the record I am not married and in my 30s. My girlfriend would likely come with me, but she is a dog groomer at a corporate craphole. She hates the place but loves working with animals. What are the job prospects for someone in her position?
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
2,970 posts, read 6,605,182 times
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If nothing else take the interview and come visit, as long as they are paying.

You didn't mention who you would be working for in Vail, but the majority of jobs are some way tied to the hospitality business. Salaried, year round can mean different things in a seasonal resort town. If you are working in the hospitality business it may mean that the hotel will close for a month in the off season and you will need to take you vacation and personal days then. The property also may not close but may lay off most of the hourly employees, if you are a manager that means you get to cover all the empty positions. It's not a problem for us, but just something to be aware of when you come from a non-resort area.

We have never lived in employee housing, the rentals tend to be filled with seasonal kids and the homes to purchase had strict deed restrictions on the sale so it wasn't appealing for us. I don't know either of the developments that they have mentioned. Vail is expensive, we scored a single family in Avon for $2200 and that was a great deal. A single family will usually be $1800-$2800, Gypsum being less expensive and further out, then Eagle, Edwards, Avon, Minturn, Vail will run $3500+. Land is expensive here so Single Family Homes are hard to come by, there are a lot of duplexes, and townhomes that are very nice and have garages and green space. Check out the Vaildaily.com for rentals in Eagle County and the High Rockies section of Craig's list too.

My father in law is outside of the DC area, so I know about the sprawl there. It's nothing like that here. Vail has 2 grocery stores, Avon has a Super Walmart, Home Depot and a grocery store, there's a Costco out in Gypsum and a smattering of small local business in between it all. Locals are more geared to supporting other locals so there aren't big box chains.

As far as outdoor lifestyle goes, it's all right here. I don't ski, but the summers are amazing and we don't have bugs or humidity. Camp, hike, bike, there is no shortage, you will not be bored.

You've already made the weather connection from being in Denver. Right now it's 26 degrees here, we had 6 inches of snow last night and I was shoveling in a t-shirt and jeans, the sun is shining and the roads are clear.

As far as a car goes, tires are the key. Front wheel drive is necessary, a 4x2 pickup will have you sliding off a road into a ditch. 4x4 is great, but it doesn't mean 4 wheel stop, all wheel drive is best, Subaru sells very well up here. The plow guys are great and it's a rarity that a snow day will be called at school.

There are a few dog grooming places here, haven't seen any jobs for groomers lately. I have seen some postings for vet techs and vet receptionist. The mountains are a very dog centric place so your girlfriend should be able to find something.

Hope that helps some, time to go outside and play with my dogs.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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Ideally I'd like to rent a stand alone house with a garage since I work on old motorcycles in my spare time and I don't like condos or townhomes or that boxed lifestyle.

Well you better get used to the condo/townhome lifestyle because that is the way most of the housing is set up in the valley. Low end detached homes are going for above $750K in Edwards, Wildridge, Eagle-Vail and Singletree. Rent for a decent place with a nice garage is probably going to run over $2500-$3500 a month. You can rent a townhome/condo with a small garage for maybe $1600-$2000 a month. If your employer is going to offer subsidized housing, certainly worth looking at and comparing the numbers. Anything in the $1000-$1500 range might have a covered parking space, perhaps a garage, but likely it will be more of a well used apartment. I would not recommend renting sight unseen, as many places are older and well used and there is quite a variation in quality, even at the same price point.

The benefits plan is exceptional, as is the contribution to retirement.

Can't beat that.

That said moving from DC to Vail is a big leap. I was recently in Denver, CO and while I loved the climate (30 degrees in Denver = 50 degrees in DC) the city itself didn't speak to me. Way more busy than DC and felt more like suburbia than anything - I live right inside of DC, which is about 80% housing. I cannot stand Suburbia, box stores and that plastic lifestyle.

It will be a massive change in lifestyle. Denver and Vail also are apples and oranges. Denver is a big flat city that goes for miles across the prairie and Vail is a ski town wedged in a valley with a year round population of 3000 people. Remember that Vail and Beaver Creek cater to the wealthy so multi million dollar homes and that expensive lifestyle is what keeps the gears of the valley turning.

I can say that the salary is a concern as it is only approximately $60,000 per year. I just don't know that that is doable there, esp if I want to purchase a home.

A decent low end condo/townhome with a garage is going to run $300-$400K. That will be up to you if you can afford it. One of the main reasons I left the Vail is because I'd never be able to afford a decent home with space like a nice garage. You can live well on that salary if you rent and live in a lower end condo/townhome. If you aspire for better housing, especially a detached home, forget it.

However one nice thing with the valley is that there is plenty of part time and seasonal work, so you could take a second job. Most locals have 2-4 jobs that vary year round. Especially during ski season it is not uncommon for people to work a regular job from 8-5 and then go wait tables at night.

What is the yearly life like for someone who doesn't really ski? I am outdoors oriented (grew up in the Mtns of Georgia) but I'm no ski bum. I prefer dirt bikes, road motorcycles, though I do love camping, hiking, and not against cross-country skiing. So let's say the allure of being in a ski community isn't as big a draw as it would be for some others.

I'd say that what I looked forward to was the short summer. That's when I had the most fun as the umbrella of snow lifts over the rockies and much more of the backcountry is accessible. And the weather in the summer is really nice and cooler than most parts of the country. The ski season and winter is long and in the winter life revolves around skiing. I never skied the whole 7 years I was there and I did OK, however if I did it over again, I'd work less and learn how to ski as that is what most people are into. In the winter I found I did get some cabin fever, but Denver is 2 hours away so I could go down there for a day.

What is the weather like compared to Denver? I loved the fact that at 34 degrees I was not cold due to the high altitude and sun. Does Vail get that or is it more cold, humid, and dreary?

Vail is a ski town so it is cold and there will be snow and dreary days. Yes the high elevation sunlight helps when the sun is out. However in the darkest 2 months of winter due to the mountains and their shadow, some parts of the valley only get a few hours of direct sunlight a day. The first snowfall usually comes in Sept or early October and the last snowfall usually by May sometime. Summer temps vary from the 60s to the upper 80's and at night it cools off.

What is the commuting like for Eagle County in the winter? Is it necessary to have a 4 wheel drive? Are places spread out and distant?

I-70 helps. If you live in Edwards it takes 15-20 minutes to get to central Vail. Where AWD or 4x4 helps is if you live on a steep side street or something. Personally I would never live there again without my Audi Quattro. The snow plows don't always keep up with things.

Anything else you can add would be great. I'm not someone driven by money so I know I'm not going to be a rich executive, but I also do like being able to pay the bills. Being able to be a short drive into work but also not living next to a Wal-Mart or Starbucks or an area like that would be a huge draw for me.

There are some big box stores in the valley but I think you'll find as a local trying to survive and not a trustafarian or millionaire, they will be essential to your survival. Plenty of eco leftists belly ached when Wal Mart expanded into a supercenter, but a lot of us regular people just need a basic set of sheets, some simple dishes, personal health items, simple food, etc. and don't have hundreds of dollars to buy high end ritzy crap.

Also, for the record I am not married and in my 30s. My girlfriend would likely come with me, but she is a dog groomer at a corporate craphole. She hates the place but loves working with animals. What are the job prospects for someone in her position?

For the record, personal services such as this are dime a dozen in the valley and a lot of that work is seasonal and dependent on the wealthy second home owners for such services. As long as your GF is willing to work several seasonal jobs or do things she didn't expect to do, she will be fine, but I doubt for starters you will be making a decent year round living dog grooming as it is already well catered for.[/quote]
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
There are some big box stores in the valley but I think you'll find as a local trying to survive and not a trustafarian or millionaire, they will be essential to your survival. Plenty of eco leftists belly ached when Wal Mart expanded into a supercenter, but a lot of us regular people just need a basic set of sheets, some simple dishes, personal health items, simple food, etc. and don't have hundreds of dollars to buy high end ritzy crap.
I agree with this. I used to hate wal-mart with a passion. I still hate starbucks. When I moved out to Eagle County a couple months ago, I found that I have to shop at wal-mart to be able to afford the little things (like Wanneroo mentioned). The wal-mart here isn't in the middle of a neighborhood or anything though. It's surrounded by a few other stores like Home Depot and a small shopping center, and on its own little side street. You won't be getting wal-mart traffic living in Avon or anything.

Shop locally if you can, but you can always look to ordering items online and having them delivered as well. Amazon can be a life-saver sometimes.

Personally, I wouldn't want to live in Vail. When I drive there to go snowboarding, it's crowded with tourists. That's part of living in a tourist town. I live very close to chair lifts myself, which is highly convenient for me, but I also pay out my a$$ for that convenience. If you lived somewhere like Edwards, or Eagle, you can get away with finding cheaper places to live. If you're making 60k/year, you may be able to find a small house with a garage to rent, but I wouldn't plan on buying until you get several raises. I moved here with a job that paid much less than I'm making now, and through networking was able to find a better job. I've got a decent 2br/2ba apartment in a complex and only pay $1500 / month, so I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find something in your price range to rent. Again, I stress "rent." You may be able to find a deal if you stress that you will be renting year-round, and are not a group of ski bums living in a tiny place for a few months.

To be honest, I hated Denver. It had all the inconveniences of a big city, with very few of the conveniences. I also don't completely care for suburbia. Ski towns are an entirely different beast. You'll get traffic from time to time, but it goes away quickly (when the ski lifts close and people head back to Denver). The bars and restaurants will be full with people still in their ski gear, talking about their day, and discussing where to ski tomorrow. I haven't lived here through a summer yet, but I'm sure it'll gear more toward fishing or something in the summer. You'll get to know the locals, and I'm sure you'll come to love it.

Like the others said, your girl may have a tough time finding work to start, but if she becomes open to trying other jobs, I'm sure she'll do fine eventually. If she can market herself right, she may be able to start a small business taking care of rich yuppies' dogs while they spend their day hitting the slopes. Fido can get a cut, play time, and feedings while the trusties pizza-wedge their way down the hills at Vail. If you live cheaply at first, your 60k salary will take care of both of you until she can find work. Not sure about actually IN Vail, but somewhere like Edwards or Eagle, more than likely. Definitely come check it out and interview. You may even end up wanting to learn to ski!
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pyrotech View Post
I agree with this. I used to hate wal-mart with a passion. I still hate starbucks. When I moved out to Eagle County a couple months ago, I found that I have to shop at wal-mart to be able to afford the little things (like Wanneroo mentioned). The wal-mart here isn't in the middle of a neighborhood or anything though. It's surrounded by a few other stores like Home Depot and a small shopping center, and on its own little side street. You won't be getting wal-mart traffic living in Avon or anything.

Personally, I wouldn't want to live in Vail. When I drive there to go snowboarding, it's crowded with tourists. That's part of living in a tourist town. I live very close to chair lifts myself, which is highly convenient for me, but I also pay out my a$$ for that convenience. If you lived somewhere like Edwards, or Eagle, you can get away with finding cheaper places to live. If you're making 60k/year, you may be able to find a small house with a garage to rent, but I wouldn't plan on buying until you get several raises. I moved here with a job that paid much less than I'm making now, and through networking was able to find a better job. I've got a decent 2br/2ba apartment in a complex and only pay $1500 / month, so I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find something in your price range to rent. Again, I stress "rent." You may be able to find a deal if you stress that you will be renting year-round, and are not a group of ski bums living in a tiny place for a few months.
When we would get 150 new employees every winter, many from down under or a few other countries, we'd take them to wal mart so they could buy TVs, sheets, kitchen ware, towels and other things they'd need for the winter and for their personal use in employee housing. Almost all the local shops cater to the high earning second home owner or wealthy tourists, so I really don't see how Wal Mart would steal their business. Personally I see Walmart as the modern day general store and during my 7 years in the valley I really don't know how I could have done it without Walmart.

Vail has some nice cheaper parts but also it gets more snow and more cold than Edwards. Having lived in all the different parts of the valley, I'd say I would go for Edwards again. Warmer with plenty of places to eat and shop and a bit more spacious and away from the tourist traffic.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:21 AM
 
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In my experience ... as a Vail 2nd homeowner/rental property owner since 1982, and a frequent year-round visitor to the area since it's inception ...

You'll appreciate not living in core Vail as a full-time resident. That's where the tourists are at, where the hospitality centers and shopping cater to them, where the "party" is at full time. It's their discretionary dollar recreation center, and you're not a player in their league with a $60,000 gross salary. Many of these guests spend 5-figures + per week for their stay in Vail, and they aren't looking to you for a social experience, they're looking to you for goods and services to enhance their stay in the area.

Especially since you're not a skier, having close access to the lifts is no added value to your residential requirements.

You will appreciate the areas where shopping is targeted to "locals" ... such as the Wal-Mart/Home Depot complex, and the other shopping/services downvalley, as well as the residential areas that are less expensive and require commuting to the core Vail areas. Edwards ... or even further downvalley ... is a viable option. You'll find that a FWD or AWD vehicle is your best all-around commuting vehicle (or a 4x4 if you're going off-roads) ... and that the downvalley areas have milder climates with a longer warm/dry season than Vail itself.

Dreary is a term hardly applicable to the area, there's so much sunshine throughout the year which is part of why the area is so stunning; storms move through fairly quickly, and when they're gone, it's intensely sunny and dry. Of course, they can leave a lot of snowfall which builds up on the terrain during the winter months, and can make for some sporting driving conditions during the winter season.

IIRC, Red Sandstone is West of town a bit, on the North side of I-70 ... relatively close to VV, but not in it ... on the Vail local circulating bus route, so public transport access is pretty good throughout the day/year-round. It's a timeshare development complex ... which leads me to ask, if I may ... what your salaried position might be there? My concern is directed to how stable you'll find the job opportunity to be at this facility, given that timeshares aren't exactly a booming business these days. In my view, it's a pretty mature industry that's been proven to not be a good deal for many people who bought into the concept and have since discovered that their fees and expenses don't necessarily equate to a lifetime of blissful interval ownership and useage. FWIW, the marketplace is flooded right now with folks that can't even give their timeshares away .... Maybe Red Sandstone's market niche is a little different, but timeshares aren't selling these days to the average folk with a few thousand to put down who don't know if they'll be able to afford to use the places in the future; even a timeshare takes discretionary dollars and vacation time to use.

You'll find that you'll work hardest during the prime ski season months in this area, and if you're not a skier ... then you won't be distracted from your work and may even have the opportunity to pursue a 2nd income, as so many area residents do to make ends meet. With that work schedule, you'll find that the fabulous summer months in the hills will give you the opportunities to follow your recreation goals ... and there are numerous places for all the outdoor activities you can envision. But keep in mind that Vail is a two-season resort ... and the summer months have a lot of tourist/2nd homeowner activity, too, which can keep you busy making a living. That leaves you spring mud season ... which can limit outdoor activities, or the fall months (which IMO are the best months of the year up there) for your outdoor recreation.

SFH with a garage is going to be at a premium cost in the area. When I look at the brochures that I get every month from my property managers as well as brokers in the Vail area, I see the starting price points for anything close to Vail, especially if it's on a public bus route to Vail ... in the mid to high 6 figures ... and very few with garages. In Vail itself, the price point is closer to 7 figures ... and up ... even in today's marketplace where the price points have come down in the last year or so.

If I were in your position at this time, I'd take advantage of your company housing opportunity to get into the area and then take my time to search out the possible alternatives in housing that would suit my needs and budget. Don't forget that the mill levy for property taxes is a significant annual cost given the high prices for the properties in the area, and utilities aren't inexpensive on monthly basis. I think you'll find that your after tax income on a $5K monthly gross income will be a difficult situation to qualify for a loan on the type of housing you seek in the area unless you're quite some distance away from Vail ... and that presents an adverse commuting cost which may be significant in time and expenses. Best to sit down with a knowledgeable local realtor and get a handle on the real world PITI costs of owning in the area, as well as historical utility and maintenance costs that you'll have in your own place.

Do keep in mind that if you find housing in a facility with a multi-unit garage structure that you will not be allowed to perform automotive repairs in those places. They're strictly vehicle parking garages ... and most have insurance prohibitions specifically against allowing any repair work on site. From a managment standpoint, they don't want the mess of drained fluids or disabled vehicles on the premises. Similarly, open parking areas in most condo/townhome developments do not allow vehicle repairs.

Absent your own private garage where you can store and work on your bikes, your best opportunity for your motorcycle hobby will be to find a space in one of the commercial district areas down-valley where you can rent a shop space or perhaps sub-let from another business some of their commercial/industrial space.

As others have mentioned, I'd second the advice to come on out for a visit/interview and check out the place for yourself ... especially during the winter months. Take the time to visit with your prospective co-workers and get to know what their schedules are in the area ... there's a huge difference between having the affluence and the time to enjoy the area and all it has to offer compared to just living there and trying to make ends meet. It's why so many workers up there come to the place for a season or two, and then move on ... you've really got to be dedicated to the mountain lifestyle and place a very high premium on being able to live in the resort area. I take this viewpoint from what information you've provided about yourself ... you're looking at a career long term opportunity/situation, as opposed to a youngster wanting to go up there for a season or so and willing to stay in a shared housing situation ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 01-19-2011 at 04:08 AM..
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:29 AM
 
77 posts, read 60,921 times
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Guys, Girls, etc:

Thanks for all the posts and feedback, I do appreciate it.

The company I would work for is not in the catering to tourists business. I'm hesitant to say but it is not seasonal. Let's say it's akin to a state employee.

I have been looking at housing stock, etc, and it is pretty frightening. That would be the biggest detriment. I'm the type who would be fine with a 1 bedroom cabin with a loft, heated with wood, etc, with a spot to grow vegetables and a barn to work on the old metal junk I like to work on, but I understand that wouldn't really be viable there, at least yet.

Wal-Mart? Heck I'm cheaper than that. I get my linens and such from places like TjMaxx, Marshalls, Ross... in fact I'm wearing a regularly priced $278 Polo dress shirt I snagged for $19 dollars. Beat that!

The salary is a serious concern as it would be a pay cut of about 30K...but is it more important to make less and live somewhere wonderful, or make a lot and live somewhere (here) I'm not a fan of?

I know I could never live in a condominium or planned development area. I'm too outdoorsy and if I am moving from a row house in DC (albeit with an enormous back yard and my own garden) it would be to somewhere where I have space. Sometimes I may want to stand outside in my drawers and watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee...

That said, it's the outdoors activities that attract me. I don't ski because I've never tried. I may ski eventually, with a pair of vintage wooden skis I score off e-bay but I'm never going to be outfitted from head to toe in the latest equipment. I just don't care that much.

I guess what would be perfect is to find some ranch in the area that has an additional house on it and pay rent but also do work around the place - I can run a tractor, etc, etc... but haven't seen something like that pop up. I figure it would be something that would be word of mouth anyway.

And yes, the position is located in Vail itself, and I realize I'd be looking for something in the county with a 30 minute or so commute...
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AirborneVespa View Post
Guys, Girls, etc:

Thanks for all the posts and feedback, I do appreciate it.

The company I would work for is not in the catering to tourists business. I'm hesitant to say but it is not seasonal. Let's say it's akin to a state employee.

I have been looking at housing stock, etc, and it is pretty frightening. That would be the biggest detriment. I'm the type who would be fine with a 1 bedroom cabin with a loft, heated with wood, etc, with a spot to grow vegetables and a barn to work on the old metal junk I like to work on, but I understand that wouldn't really be viable there, at least yet.

Wal-Mart? Heck I'm cheaper than that. I get my linens and such from places like TjMaxx, Marshalls, Ross... in fact I'm wearing a regularly priced $278 Polo dress shirt I snagged for $19 dollars. Beat that!

The salary is a serious concern as it would be a pay cut of about 30K...but is it more important to make less and live somewhere wonderful, or make a lot and live somewhere (here) I'm not a fan of?

I know I could never live in a condominium or planned development area. I'm too outdoorsy and if I am moving from a row house in DC (albeit with an enormous back yard and my own garden) it would be to somewhere where I have space. Sometimes I may want to stand outside in my drawers and watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee...

That said, it's the outdoors activities that attract me. I don't ski because I've never tried. I may ski eventually, with a pair of vintage wooden skis I score off e-bay but I'm never going to be outfitted from head to toe in the latest equipment. I just don't care that much.

I guess what would be perfect is to find some ranch in the area that has an additional house on it and pay rent but also do work around the place - I can run a tractor, etc, etc... but haven't seen something like that pop up. I figure it would be something that would be word of mouth anyway.

And yes, the position is located in Vail itself, and I realize I'd be looking for something in the county with a 30 minute or so commute...

There is no way you will ever afford a house in Vail on a 60K salary unless you bring a huge lump of cash with you. Even downvalley, it would be a stretch. You have the same idyllic vision of living in a cabin in the woods that thousands of others have had, but those cabins are gone, replaced by mansions. The raw land is so expensive that almost nothing like that has survived, and if it has, it is in private hands. You'll most likely be looking at condo or tight single family townhomes.

This is not unique to the Vail Valley. Virtually anywhere within an hour of a major ski area is impossible on a 60K salary if you want single family housing with some acreage. Steamboat, Summit, Vail, Telluride, Aspen, Durango. The days of finding a cheap little cabin ended about 20 years ago. The last time I saw anything remotely like what you want was near Fairplay about 20 years ago. Fairplay is a 40 minute drive over a high pass from Breckenridge.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:53 AM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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The idealized cabin on acreage in the Vail Valley really doesn't exist. The area is a narrow valley with an interstate running through it, land that can be built on is at a premium and thus the reason why developments are common. I live on an acre in Avon, but the lots are long and narrow, public green space is easy to come by, private green space not so much. The concept of caretaker on a ranch happens now and again, but people don't leave those situations so saying that they are rare would be an understatement. My neighbor rents a 1 bedroom, furnished in-law apartment for $1200 with a garage. The landlord comes up a couple times a month to ski for the weekend, she has the upstairs of the house completely separated. That's probably the closest you can come to a SFH that is affordable in this area.

I long for TJMaxx, but the closest is in Denver and really not worth the drive for me, Target is in Glenwood Springs and I make a run every month or so. One of the nice things about the mountains is a pair of jeans and a fleece will get you every where, no one dresses up. We do have some great thrift and consignment shops and a new Habitat Re-Store, great deals to be had there.

Eagle and Gypsum will be your best bets to find a SFH, but you'll still be in the $2000 range an have close in neighbors. The Ebby Creek area in Eagle my afford you more privacy but will be more expensive too. Commuting from Eagle or Gypsum will run closer to 40-50 minutes, factoring in getting from the house to the highway and weather. Gas right now is $3.29, it will only go up this summer.

Living out here is a lifestyle choice, we took a big pay cut to move back but it's where we like to be. Fly out, take a couple days and look around. Townhomes and Duplexes out here are very different than the East Coast sprawl.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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I have been looking at housing stock, etc, and it is pretty frightening. That would be the biggest detriment. I'm the type who would be fine with a 1 bedroom cabin with a loft, heated with wood, etc, with a spot to grow vegetables and a barn to work on the old metal junk I like to work on, but I understand that wouldn't really be viable there, at least yet.

As I said that's pretty much why I left. Here in PA for $200K I can have a big house, a barn/workshop and a few acres. That's not happening anywhere in the local area near Vail. What you have to remember with that area is that for starters 85% of the land in Eagle County is owned by the state or federal government. The I-70 corridor through Vail is deceiving as the area looks more populated than it is. But pretty much what you see is what there is. You can walk north or south of Vail right out of some of the neighborhoods and climb up and over mountains for 30 to 50 miles without seeing any sign of civilization except for some forestry roads.

Vail itself is in a narrow valley with the flat floor of it being in some places only a couple hundred meters wide. In the lower vail valley, it is wider but all developed. Living in a cabin and having a barn and garden, well that really doesn't exist anywhere in a reasonable distance from Vail. In addition the growing season is very short.

Wal-Mart? Heck I'm cheaper than that. I get my linens and such from places like TjMaxx, Marshalls, Ross... in fact I'm wearing a regularly priced $278 Polo dress shirt I snagged for $19 dollars. Beat that!

Denver West is only 100 miles away so I'd often head down there occasionally to shop and get out of town.

The salary is a serious concern as it would be a pay cut of about 30K...but is it more important to make less and live somewhere wonderful, or make a lot and live somewhere (here) I'm not a fan of?

Only you'll be able to decide that. Having traveled the world there is no perfect place, everything has it's ups and downs just depends on what works for you. I had my reasons for living in Vail, but once those were exhausted I left. It is a fun place to live with lots going on and things to do, especially in the summer. But for that you trade off the ability to have a regular home and consumer goods that might be fun. I wanted a garage with motorcycles and race cars and room to work. That's just not happening at all in the valley until you become a millionaire several times over.

I know I could never live in a condominium or planned development area. I'm too outdoorsy and if I am moving from a row house in DC (albeit with an enormous back yard and my own garden) it would be to somewhere where I have space. Sometimes I may want to stand outside in my drawers and watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee...

If you stand outside in your drawers at sunrise 11 months out of the year in Vail, you'll be frozen. Vail is an wealthy urban compact town in a confined area of livable space. On your budget there will be no place to run around naked in your backyard without anyone noticing. Even the multi million dollar houses have small lots.

I guess what would be perfect is to find some ranch in the area that has an additional house on it and pay rent but also do work around the place - I can run a tractor, etc, etc... but haven't seen something like that pop up. I figure it would be something that would be word of mouth anyway.

It hasn't popped up because it doesn't exist. Of the few ranches that existed they are long subdivided into mega million dollar home neighborhoods. The last few ranches around eagle and wolcott are either headed towards development or going under water like 4 Eagle.
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