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Old 08-20-2011, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Behind you
388 posts, read 670,649 times
Reputation: 137

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Ive been in a lot of the forums recently trying to make my mind up on where I want to live in the U.S. I'm torn between quite a few places and Colorado is one of them.

Now for a small back story on why. I am originally from Maryland, joined the military and have been parading around the world for about 10 years now. My wife, kid and I will not be able to afford the life we want in Maryland due to the housing costs and taxes. We want somewhere with lots of stuff to do along the lines of cultural things, zoos, sports, day trips, and good colleges which the Denver area has for us.

Now in our travels we were able to spend a few days in Switzerland, in the alps, and we both agree it is the most amazing place we have ever been. The views and the atmosphere was incredible. Now, obviously we wont find anything quite like Switzerland in the U.S., but has anyone ever been there and thinks Colorado might be close?

The things we loved most about it was how green the lower hills were leading up to the mountains and waterfalls and streams coming down from the mountains when we were driving through them, and, really the main thing I really want to know about, and most important to me was how clean the air felt. We felt like we were just breathing in the most pure clean air on the planet. Does that happen to anyone in Colorado, or does the U.S. just have too much pollution for that to even be possible? Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,521 posts, read 11,628,203 times
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Visit. Colorado is vastly different depending on what part of the state you're in. If you're looking for that little bit o Switzerland, check out Ouray. Unfortunately for work you're stuck with Denver and the front range (ew). Visit visit visit and do a lot of research. Good luck to you.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:07 AM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,017,909 times
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Switzerland(been there) and Colorado(lived there) don't have much in common. Colorado is a very dry state by comparison.

For one thing on the front range in Colorado along the I-25 corridor the air quality can be pretty bad at times, a lot of it naturally occurring due to temperature inversions, especially in the winter or on hot days. There are times in Denver where you cannot really see the mountains too well.

Also the air in Switzerland can be not the greatest at times either, depends on the winds.

If you live in Denver or along the I-25 corridor you are living on prairie with a view of the mountains.

If you expect Colorado to be like Switzerland, I don't think that is the reality. What they have in common is mountains but that is it.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Colorado
486 posts, read 1,234,872 times
Reputation: 639
Ouray Colorado is known as "Little Switzerland"
check it out: Ouray Colorado - Come Visit

I have a friend who moved there and she absolutely loves it, even in the winter.

There is also an area of Manitou Springs (just west of Colorado Springs) that is called Little Switzerland - not the most accessible neighborhood, but the views are fantastic.

But as another posted stated, Colorado has a very dry arid climate. If you want a more lush mountain experience, try the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Behind you
388 posts, read 670,649 times
Reputation: 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim9251 View Post
Visit. Colorado is vastly different depending on what part of the state you're in. If you're looking for that little bit o Switzerland, check out Ouray. Unfortunately for work you're stuck with Denver and the front range (ew). Visit visit visit and do a lot of research. Good luck to you.

I've done quite a bit of research over the last few years, and I am planning on visiting this October for a week. I was kind of asking for that trip as well if there is anywhere I could go to check out that would give me an idea of what I'm looking for.

Ouray looks nice, I might have to make a stop there, thanks for the input.

Is the air quality still bad in the mountains, you guys know that "cold clean air feeling" I'm talking about? I know it wouldnt be possible near the major cities, but what about in towns like Ouray?
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:43 AM
 
540 posts, read 1,063,055 times
Reputation: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by jifie View Post
I've done quite a bit of research over the last few years, and I am planning on visiting this October for a week. I was kind of asking for that trip as well if there is anywhere I could go to check out that would give me an idea of what I'm looking for.

Ouray looks nice, I might have to make a stop there, thanks for the input.

Is the air quality still bad in the mountains, you guys know that "cold clean air feeling" I'm talking about? I know it wouldnt be possible near the major cities, but what about in towns like Ouray?
I highly doubt you're going to find things less expensive than they are in Maryland there. Colorado has been infested with Californians who have driven up the price of housing beyond what anyone who actually holds a job could usually afford. Take a look and see what you think.

Also note the cultural amenities of which you speak are not going to be so prevelant in Colorado mountain towns.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:21 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,835,868 times
Reputation: 2615
Wink Aspects of Switzerland in America

Ouray likes to term itself the 'Switzerland of America,' which is not all that accurate as far as geography goes, but it is nevertheless surrounded by lovely mountains.

A glance at the map will also quickly reveal that it is even more dissimilar to a place such as Denver. If at all considering metro Denver in terms of employment, services, shopping, etc., forget Ouray. It is a small town of about 800 people, and a long way from other towns of any size. The closest would be Montrose, which is not all that large, or a good drive farther north, Grand Junction. Even Grand Junction will pale in comparison to all that metro Denver has to offer.

On the other hand, in being nestled within a box canyon, with the Uncompahgre River flowing merrily through it, Ouray is one of the most beautiful towns in Colorado. As a former mining town, the legacy of certain Victorian buildings of another era lend a certain charm to the inspiring mountains rising high above the town on all sides. Quite easily a postcard type of place.

The air quality is probably pretty good, too, with about the only industry tourism. Although one might wish to look more closely into possible air inversions at times, as within such a confined space. Not to mention that particularly in winter direct sunlight will be a more fleeting visitor. But the larger region should amply suffice in the way of clean air, and a rather pleasant environment. The only negative in this regard I am aware of off-hand are occasional dust storms that blow in from the drier environs of Utah to the west; for one thing, this negatively affects the snowpack, and may be a continuing and growing problem as projected trends have the Southwest becoming more arid.

Overall air quality in the mountains of Colorado should be quite good. One could place themselves in a town such as Estes Park, for instance, which is not really that far from the front range, and enjoy an abundance of fresh air. There are few days when the sky is not perfectly clear and blue, aside from whatever clouds present. If anything distinctly less than that more likely because of nearby forest fires, such as some unfortunately last season near Boulder. There was also a forest fire in the far northeast quadrant of Rocky Mountain National Park. For all this, the air can seem quite clean, especially if near a river.

If largely so, then also part illusion. Rocky Mountain National Park has suffered increasing problems with ozone, airborne nitrogen and other pollutants. With the greater part of them originating from the nearby front range. The effects of this are not always visible to the naked eye, although at times certainly are, and they monitor it closely. If looking, one will also see the insidious effects on the lakes and rivers of RMNP, at even the highest most remote locations. So all is not entirely well.

Even so, if fortunate to live somewhere near there, probably with few complaints. Well, aside from the poor trees. If such things are really a concern, and one prefers their nature sans much influence of man, then probably best to seek the remotest regions. Such as Ouray possibly, although do not overlook such bad neighbors removed at a distance as the coal-fired power plant at Page, AZ.

Aside from probably more cloud cover than Switzerland usually receives, what you are seeking might be more closely approximated in the Pacific Northwest. Colorado is a semi-arid environment, whereas more than enough rain in the PNW to keep everything quite green. Colorado can appear as much in a good year, such as this, in May and June. But by then Seattle, WA is just beginning to warm up, and clouds part, with an ever so lovely landscape which more or less remain as green throughout summer and on. With also a fair number of choices of location which will see air affected by little more than the Pacific Ocean and forests. There are of course culprits in China and Fukushima mucking things up, but that will blow across the better part of the continental United States as well.

If venturing not far beyond Port Angeles, WA on the coast, high above to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, one will understand. Spread before one a lush carpet of green meadow dropping down to verdant green forest beyond, highlighted with the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Olympus and her sisters in the near distance. It might be a scene from the 'Sound of Music,' and as lovely.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Behind you
388 posts, read 670,649 times
Reputation: 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
Ouray likes to term itself the 'Switzerland of America,' which is not all that accurate as far as geography goes, but it is nevertheless surrounded by lovely mountains.

A glance at the map will also quickly reveal that it is even more dissimilar to a place such as Denver. If at all considering metro Denver in terms of employment, services, shopping, etc., forget Ouray. It is a small town of about 800 people, and a long way from other towns of any size. The closest would be Montrose, which is not all that large, or a good drive farther north, Grand Junction. Even Grand Junction will pale in comparison to all that metro Denver has to offer.

On the other hand, in being nestled within a box canyon, with the Uncompahgre River flowing merrily through it, Ouray is one of the most beautiful towns in Colorado. As a former mining town, the legacy of certain Victorian buildings of another era lend a certain charm to the inspiring mountains rising high above the town on all sides. Quite easily a postcard type of place.

The air quality is probably pretty good, too, with about the only industry tourism. Although one might wish to look more closely into possible air inversions at times, as within such a confined space. Not to mention that particularly in winter direct sunlight will be a more fleeting visitor. But the larger region should amply suffice in the way of clean air, and a rather pleasant environment. The only negative in this regard I am aware of off-hand are occasional dust storms that blow in from the drier environs of Utah to the west; for one thing, this negatively affects the snowpack, and may be a continuing and growing problem as projected trends have the Southwest becoming more arid.

Overall air quality in the mountains of Colorado should be quite good. One could place themselves in a town such as Estes Park, for instance, which is not really that far from the front range, and enjoy an abundance of fresh air. There are few days when the sky is not perfectly clear and blue, aside from whatever clouds present. If anything distinctly less than that more likely because of nearby forest fires, such as some unfortunately last season near Boulder. There was also a forest fire in the far northeast quadrant of Rocky Mountain National Park. For all this, the air can seem quite clean, especially if near a river.

If largely so, then also part illusion. Rocky Mountain National Park has suffered increasing problems with ozone, airborne nitrogen and other pollutants. With the greater part of them originating from the nearby front range. The effects of this are not always visible to the naked eye, although at times certainly are, and they monitor it closely. If looking, one will also see the insidious effects on the lakes and rivers of RMNP, at even the highest most remote locations. So all is not entirely well.

Even so, if fortunate to live somewhere near there, probably with few complaints. Well, aside from the poor trees. If such things are really a concern, and one prefers their nature sans much influence of man, then probably best to seek the remotest regions. Such as Ouray possibly, although do not overlook such bad neighbors removed at a distance as the coal-fired power plant at Page, AZ.

Aside from probably more cloud cover than Switzerland usually receives, what you are seeking might be more closely approximated in the Pacific Northwest. Colorado is a semi-arid environment, whereas more than enough rain in the PNW to keep everything quite green. Colorado can appear as much in a good year, such as this, in May and June. But by then Seattle, WA is just beginning to warm up, and clouds part, with an ever so lovely landscape which more or less remain as green throughout summer and on. With also a fair number of choices of location which will see air affected by little more than the Pacific Ocean and forests. There are of course culprits in China and Fukushima mucking things up, but that will blow across the better part of the continental United States as well.

If venturing not far beyond Port Angeles, WA on the coast, high above to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, one will understand. Spread before one a lush carpet of green meadow dropping down to verdant green forest beyond, highlighted with the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Olympus and her sisters in the near distance. It might be a scene from the 'Sound of Music,' and as lovely.
Wow, amazing info, thanks a lot. Ive driven through the mountains east of Seattle before, but it was at night so I didn't get a good look at them.

I think Colorado is as far from home on the east coast as we'd like to live, and from what I've checked out around Washington, the houses and cost of living is cheaper in CO.

Colorado is def less expensive than MD, the income tax is 3% lower and the housing prices are much more reasonable(my mom is trying to sell her 3 bdrm townhouse for around 300k).
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,139 posts, read 5,484,234 times
Reputation: 945
Yes, unless there are a bunch of wildfires burning, air quality is much better than metro east coast.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:33 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,017,909 times
Reputation: 7537
Quote:
Originally Posted by sesamekid View Post
Ouray Colorado is known as "Little Switzerland"
check it out: Ouray Colorado - Come Visit

I have a friend who moved there and she absolutely loves it, even in the winter.

There is also an area of Manitou Springs (just west of Colorado Springs) that is called Little Switzerland - not the most accessible neighborhood, but the views are fantastic.

But as another posted stated, Colorado has a very dry arid climate. If you want a more lush mountain experience, try the Pacific Northwest.
Yes I've heard Ouray call themselves that and I think it's pretty hilarious and ridiculous.

It's like Surfers Paradise in Australia, it sucks for surfing and isn't much of a paradise, yet someone came up with that marketing gimmick 50 years ago.

I've been all over Switzerland with the exception of the French area in the west and comparing Colorado and Switzerland is like comparing apples and oranges. Both fruit, but very different, and in this case, both have mountains but completely different otherwise.

Personally, I think the Cascades or New Hampshire/Vermont would have more in common with Switzerland.

The one thing you have to adjust to in Colorado mountains is temperature inversions and wind. There is plenty of dust, pollen and sharp wind, plus any valley in Colorado will have temperature inversions in winter which will keep all that particulate matter and moisture hanging low.

A lot of misinformed people link it to "man made pollution", but that is only a small part of it, compared to the massive amount of dust and other natural matter whipped into the air and then compressed in a temperature inversion.

I don't want to sound like a negative nelly, just want to unhitch any disneyland fantasies the OP might have about Colorado. And as I pointed out recently in the following thread, of the pretty waterfalls and mountain vistas you might see in Colorado, for a variety of reasons, you will neither be able to live nearby or afford to live there. The reality is you might be able to visit once in a while but for 90% of Coloradans you are living on the mostly flat prairie on the I-25 corridor living a suburban lifestyle.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/20486206-post12.html
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