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Old 08-17-2011, 12:36 PM
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So, as a Philly native, I've skied just about every major peak in North America. This summer, I have finally decided it's time to move closer to my passion - while I still can. I have my health, a mobile $100K job performed on a laptop, and no wife and kids. It's now or never. Do I wish I had done this 10 - 15 years ago? You bet. But this is where I am and this is what I'd like to do.

I have read hundreds of posts on here comparing ski towns. But it seems the original posters are either married couples, families, or 20-somethings looking to be ski bums for a year or two. That is not my situation. I need some feedback that is more specific.

I'm ok renting a 2-bedroom place for a while. My income will appreciate each year, and I will inherit enough at some point in the next 20 years to afford a decent place in either town, should I like it enough to stay. I hope it's more than 20 years, but... life is what it is, and that's my situation. Anyway, it has boiled down to Aspen vs. Telluride, based on the following criteria;

1. Lots of superb advanced terrain; steeps, trees and bowls. (I know Aspen/Snowmass has about three times the amount of total terrain, plus it's closer to Crested Butte. But I'm not sure which has the edge in terms of what I like to ski. I am done with bombing narrow chutes and banging VW-sized bumps, except after a fresh dump of course)!

2. A decent ratio of single ladies to men; basically the place where I would have the best chance of finding a cool, athletic woman who can ski at my level, who might want to settle down. (I know, I might as well ask for peace in the Middle East while I'm at it, right?) This is a RELATIVE question people; where do I have a BETTER shot at this, relatively speaking?

3. Culture (i.e.nightlife, great restaurants music and film festivals)

4. Proximity to a major city; Yep, Aspen's about half the distance to Denver that T-ride is, but still a 3+ hour trip.

5. Tons of outdoor activities in summer and spectacular scenery. Maybe a tie here.

I am also open to other suggestions. I am sort of considering Winter Park also for it's proximity to Denver, which might improve the singles situation considerably given it's proximity to Denver, which Forbes rated the best city in the U.S. for singles, ironically enough.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses! I appreciate them all.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:21 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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I've lived in both, currently back in Vail, married, no kids and have heard the complaints of my single friends for years.

Telluride is a very small town, everybody knows everybody and their business. Most of the single women I knew in Telluride were older or just there for the season. It's amazingly beautiful, but it's a little too small for me. The winters are really long in a box canyon, the year we were there it snowed on the 4th of July. Telluride has a festival pretty much every weekend in the summer which can be fun but can also be an annoyance if you want some space from the masses.

Aspen has more diversity in professions and people since it draws from a larger geographical area. We lived in Basalt and really enjoyed it there, close enough to enjoy what Aspen has to offer but far enough away to avoid it if we chose. Probably 90% of my female friends were single normal professionals, many who eventually ended up moving away because the selection of normal men was sparse. We were never at a loss for new things to do in Aspen.

I would throw Breckenridge into the mix, great town, real people and closer to Denver, Steamboat is worth considering also.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:04 PM
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Thanks Dogman, for a helpful response. I am leaning towards Aspen/Snowmass at this point, and was looking at living in Basalt, but I know nothing about it. I will have to visit it when I check out Aspen next month. With T-ride being so far out of the way, and it being so sleepy and small, I wonder if I could deal with that. I might find I love it. I don't know. But I do know that I am used to more diversity and larger numbers of people.

My concern with Breck is the abundance of college and post-college kids who seem to be everywhere. But I hear it has a great town, and I don't think I've yet heard someone say they hate Breck. So... I will investigate..... Cheers!
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:54 PM
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What about Vail? In my opinion, of all these towns so far mentioned, I think the Vail Valley is better. Certainly the skiing is better than anything Aspen can offer.

From what it sounds like the scene in Aspen and Telluride you are looking to run with, your $100k salary is chicken feed. Both of those towns are populated with the hollywood pseudo intellectual leftist trustafarian crowd and it's all about look at me with a lot of vain hollow people with all sorts of problems.

Vail to me is wealthy, but a bit more down to earth and can easy run with or exceed Aspen and Telluride for activities and "culture" as you define it.

I was a long time vet of the dating wars in these mountain towns. There are a lot of dudes aged 35-50 that are not rich but are working professionals that have a condo, big slobbery dog, a garage full of outdoor activity gear and no woman. It's a tough scene.

And I think part of the problem is that when people visit these towns during the seasons, it looks populated but it isn't, as most of the people you see are transient seasonal workers and tourists. Only a few thousand people live year round in these towns and a good chunk of them are older people above 55. So that doesn't really leave a lot of people to pick from for a long term year round relationship.

Of what you have to pick from is tourists and transient workers. Of the workers, most of them are not into 45 year olds for any type of relationship beyond being "friends" and of the tourists you can prey on the cougars that come through town with mixed results. Most of the cougars though want younger studs to satisfy them, of which there is a ready supply as the younger stud seasonal workers in town, don't have much to pick from either in their own age group.

It's been estimated in these towns that there are 3-4 single men for every woman.

I found it a very tough competitive environment with anything from hookups to dating to long term relationships, with the obvious turnover of people and it was a shock for me to come back to the "real world" with "normal" people and normal ratios of men and women after that. Trying to get a long term relationship going was like trying to stand up straight on ball bearings.

I always find when the ratio is so stacked in the women's favor, they play it for all it's worth.

The other thing with Aspen is you will see some stunning women around, but a lot of them are washed up "models" or other hanger on types, looking to score themselves a sugar daddy. I came across a lot of these types when I worked in Aspen and if you don't have the wallet with millions, you don't stand a chance.

Also consider that these are seasonal towns, so that "culture" you desire, there is basically 6 months of the year when these towns are bangin', 3 months of quiet and 3 months where is it is completely dead with a lot of closed shops and no people.

Winter Park, I don't think is all that happening of a place and has nothing to do with Denver in terms of geography. When it comes down to it Winter Park is basically an hour 15 minutes to 1.5 hours to downtown Denver. Winter Park and Granby is more a rustic type deal which might appeal to some.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:59 PM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Originally Posted by fredorama View Post

I am also open to other suggestions. I am sort of considering Winter Park also for it's proximity to Denver, which might improve the singles situation considerably given it's proximity to Denver, which Forbes rated the best city in the U.S. for singles, ironically enough.
Ha! Maybe they mean the best for single women, but even then it's iffy.

Anyway, I can't answer most of your questions because I don't ski, but I do like Aspen a lot and personally would prefer it to Telluride or Winter Park. Aspen is cultured, good restaurants, beautiful mountain setting, which would be great for somebody with money (as it sounds like you would have.)

Despite its proximity to Denver, Winter Park is pretty isolated. There's a huge mountain sitting between it and I-70 which I think would be difficult and slow in the winter.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:02 PM
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Wink Tempting choices

Telluride may suite you best.

If having visited both Aspen and Telluride a number of times, I've never lived in either one, so hopefully you'll also receive some on the ground advice.

Both are lovely places with scenic locations, but Telluride is simply magnificent in this regard. As far as your specific criteria is concerned:
1) Telluride arguably has the more advanced mountain. Both towns have ski lifts directly to the edge of them, which is quite nice if you so situate yourself. With Telluride you also have the option of an upper mountain village, so in effect two towns and environments to choose from. I will not swear to it, but Telluride should also prove less crowded, with basically no retinue of weekend and day-tripping skiers. Its isolation should prove a distinct advantage in this regard; anyone present is not there by accident.

2) As far as women are concerned, I think you'll have better luck in Telluride. Maybe. The two towns should prove fairly dissimilar in this regard. One advantage Aspen would have is more overall people, with down valley, in places such as Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, etc., all the more to choose from. But as far as Aspen itself is concerned it is probably the most exclusive and expensive town in Colorado. The kind of place where they say the billionaires are displacing the millionaires, with some truth to that. You may find that many of the people you encounter in Aspen, whether resident or tourist, are in elite social circles, with few invites to outsiders. More than a little supposition of this on my part, so check it out in person.

A lot that defines Telluride will be its absolute remoteness. That will mean less people than Aspen, although with visitors possibly more or less in the same circles, and expectations, as those visiting Aspen. My feeling that locals should prove rather different, at least in part. In the end you may have to cast a far wider net all the way out to the front range, with surely more than a few females willing to decamp to the mountains. But if a limited market in Telluride, you might as well run into a like soul right in town.

3) As far as culture is concerned, I'll give the nod to Aspen, if only because it can and surely will offer more activities, with also more happening in the region. Among other things, Telluride has a Mushroom Festival (August 18-21). Aspen has such things as The Aspen Institute, should one wish to broaden their horizons. Also, part of the equation with activities is where you'll best enjoy them, with of course a different ambience between towns.

4) For proximity to anything with major services, Aspen hands down. You may really wish to consider this one. Aspen is still a long drive to any city, whether it be Grand Junction or all that the front range offers. But aside from all the haute couture in Aspen, you also have nearby options in grocery shopping, etc., in places such as Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. It is not all that far or hard a trip to Glenwood Springs, and once there of course with fairly easy access via I-70. Not to mention you can zip on over to Vail or Summit County if bored. Although maybe not so much in the winter.

What are you going to do from Telluride? I'll tell you what: contemplate a long drive to anywhere. Durango is a great town, and the regional center for southwest Colorado, but still a long drive from up and over Lizard Head Pass (elevation: 10,222 feet). If the other direction, you've got another pass of sorts for the long drive to Montrose, which does not compare with Durango. For anything more major its on farther north all the way to Grand Junction. You may find what you are looking for there, and if not? Well, Denver. Or maybe a long excursion southeast to Albuquerque.

To happily live in Telluride one would probably be best advised to embrace its isolation, and revel in it. There will be no shortage of fine daily wants and services provided for. So one can stay right there and have it all brought in to you -- at a price. But one is unlikely to find very many of the species Americanus Shopaholics actually resident, or if so looking in vain for any mall.

5) For tons of outdoor activities one might be best advised to check out Breckenridge, or one of the other towns in Summit County. But Telluride and Aspen will have their fair share. In those organized, Aspen may have the edge. But Telluride probably better if one just wants to get lost in the wilderness.

Since mentioned, Winter Park will have a distinctly different ambience from what are more the related sisters of Aspen and Telluride. This, aside from any other reason, due its relative proximity to the front range, with that influx of visitors. It also seems less of an actual town to me, more resort. But for its proximity to Denver and the front range, bear in mind that it is still a dedicated excursion, as there is the little matter of Berthoud Pass (elevation: 11,307 feet) to navigate. Also, and no small thing, Winter Park is unfortunately in the region with its forests being decimated by the mountain pine beetle. For now, environmentally speaking, Aspen and Telluride enjoy happier circumstances.

With this as a brief synopsis you may have a somewhat vaguer idea of that preferred. If as carefree, take the laptop and spend some time in all these places. You'll find them different, and, with some familiarity, even perhaps begin to think of one as home.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:49 PM
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A few observations ... from experience with Aspen starting in the mid-1960's, and Vail from the late 1970's ...

I've seen very few people form stable relationships formed in these mountain communities, and fewer still that have lasted long term. The problem is that they're both "party central" for the seasonal guests that pass through. You'll never know just how many truly close friends you have until you move to these places and everybody you've ever met, shaken hands with, had a drink with, or is somehow distantly related to you is all of a sudden your very best pal ... and somehow, they all discover that you're now in those towns and have a place to stay.

Your $100K income is entry level to a decent year-round living in Vail at a level I think you're expecting to live ... and isn't even on the charts at Aspen where you simply don't have enough money to have a nice 2-bdr condo and be able to be in the activity and dating scene there unless you are seeking a cougar to assist with your finances.

I'll second Wanneroo on the skiing issues ... Aspen's a nice place to ski, but Vail has more of the challenging terrain (and simply more terrain, total) you seek with it's bowls and hillsides. Telluride is a contender for the skiing qualities, but it's going to fall way short of your expectations on every other score when it comes to being a player in the dating scene with a year-round job bringing in only $100K.

Why my focus on the income issue? Because you are looking at entering a social group where that's not even annual pocket change for their typical income level. Now the single worker bees that survive up there do so on much less income ... but I'm sensing that group (which is mostly younger women) is not where you're looking for a relationship.

IMO, you'd do better to come out to Colorado to enjoy the skiing as your time and schedule allows ... and not make any committment to a longer duration stay unless/until you can find a particularly attractive living situation that you can lease for awhile and see what goes on in your world through the year's cycle. The allure of living in these resort communities may be quite different than the reality of being there as a primary residency.

FWIW, a tip: Get no more than a month-to-month lease so you can leave with 30 days notice.

Really, you've got to be pretty dedicated to be a full-time resident in these towns and very much want to live there. It's an acquired habit, not without it's drawbacks. Even for me, with a SFH in Vail that's paid for ... I wouldn't, and haven't ever ... chosen to live there full time. Even when I retire, I don't envision living in Vail full time, probably no more than a total of 5-6 months in any given year.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:19 PM
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CDOT much improved Berthoud Pass several years ago, repaving and widening it, but it is often sketchy. Not a place you'd want to be driving in a snow squall at 3 am after a night out in Denver.

People in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, no doubt there are a lot of cool people there. I was fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people.

However being the place for desperate "look at me" showy wealth, Aspen has a lot of weird wealthy people hooked on all sorts of extremes and that attracts quite a selection of BS artists, poseurs, schemers, sugar daddy chasers and other hanger ons.

Summer I find calms a bit of that down in Aspen, I really like Aspen in summer, really dislike it in winter.

It's a place that is for few and for those that can afford it, it's an acquired taste.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:11 PM
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Wow. I expected SOME kind of response, but really -- nothing as thoughtful, detailed, and right to the point as several of you have taken the time to provide! First off, about the salary, I am fully aware that this qualifies me for poverty level (i.e. one small step above homeless) in these communities. That's why I mentioned renting a 2 BR condo for a while. The inheritance may or may not be enough for a down payment on a mortgage at some later date. But that's way down the road.

Waneroo, your description of Aspen was so helpful, as it is from the point of view of my situation, which you have directly experienced. I considered Vail initially, for all the reasons you mentioned. The problems with Vail for me are 1) the lift lines, which T-ride certainly doesn't have, and 2) The fairly limited (although superb) terrain. I only ski the back bowls there and that gets old after a while. Wearing myself out trekking on the flat in the fresh pow to Outer Mongolia... F that S!... But I have had some of my best ski days on that back side, so I guess it ain't that bad really. Great town and all that. I'm trying to remember why I scratched it... It escapes me now.

Idunn, thank you as well. Extremely informative and right to the point. Best line so far; "What are you going to do from Telluride? I'll tell you what: contemplate a long drive to anywhere." I actually laughed out loud at that one! Thanks for adding some comic relief, whether intentional or not. I just spoke to someone today who lives in T-ride year round. She is married, fairly well off (now), and met her husband while there on a 6 month stay from Australia. If I had to guess, I'd say for every one of him (the husband that is), there are 200 others who are 45, own a condo but share it only with a big slobbery dog, as Waneroo said. To be fair, I had a chuckle at that one too (don't want you feeling one-upped by Idunn, after the time you took to set me straight).

Sunsprit, I think I am going to take your advice. I really don't want to move to a ski town, only to find that I want to move again after a year or two.

Conclusion; too many obstacles in areas that are important to me. My best bet is probably to shelve the idea for the moment. My lease in Philly is up Oct 31 and I want to be out of here Nov. 1. Before my grand idea to move to a ski town, I was deciding between Santa Monica and Tampa. I lived in Santa Monica for 3 years and still have good friends there. My family is moving to the Tampa area this winter, but I only know a few people through friends there. Anyway, it seems like it makes more sense to pick one of those places, and then just plan on plan renting a place each winter (and maybe summers too) for a month in Telluride, a month in Aspen, and a month in Vail, if I can swing it. Or something like that...

Thanks again everybody for your responses. Truly appreciated!
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by fredorama View Post
Wow. I expected SOME kind of response, but really -- nothing as thoughtful, detailed, and right to the point as several of you have taken the time to provide! First off, about the salary, I am fully aware that this qualifies me for poverty level (i.e. one small step above homeless) in these communities. That's why I mentioned renting a 2 BR condo for a while. The inheritance may or may not be enough for a down payment on a mortgage at some later date. But that's way down the road.
You could have a reasonable lifestyle in a reasonable condo near most of the towns mentioned. It just wont be lifestyles of the rich and famous though. I just think you have to watch your money as these towns can bleed you dry if you let them. It's easy to go out on a night on the town and drop $200-$300.

And also since your job is mobile, you could do it for a year, give it a go and see what you think.

Actually I think it's the summer time when these towns are really a good time. Wide variety of outdoor things to do, lots of concerts and festivals, plus favorable weather. Lots of days in the 70's and 80's, when other parts of the USA are cooking in 100 degree temps.
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