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Old 08-15-2007, 01:48 PM
12 posts, read 66,473 times
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I have read a lot of posts and am thankful for all of the great information. While we are still trying to decide the best location for our family, I was hoping someone might have some answers regarding the smaller ski towns:
With regards to hospitals, when the nearest hospital is 25 or 30 miles away does the town usually have an all-night clinic open for emergencies? For example, according to City Data, the nearest hospital to Frisco is in Vail. It's just something that concerns me with very small children, and it seems as though it may be a long commute on bad roads in the middle of the night. Also, does everyone eventually get used to the change of altitude, even at the higher elevations above say, 8000 feet? Is this in any way hard on infants and small children? I have asthma and I've heard different things...some say that high altitude is actually better for asthma and others say it may be more difficult. Generally in the ski towns, are the public schools better? What are the drawbacks of living in the resort areas besides the cost of living? Thanks so much for any help!
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:49 PM
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There is a brand new hospital in Frisco, just past Main Street. Frisco is a great town, lots to do, summer and winter. Pretty expensive though.
The altitude takes a bit to get used to, but you will.

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Old 08-15-2007, 10:54 PM
Location: South of Denver
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You're asking for a lot of information, but I think your fears are unfounded. When you have a medical emergency, you call the paramedics, 24/7. There are medical centers in every ski town, and if for some reason they are closed, they have a doctor/nurse on call. Why would they close? In the shoulder seasons most people leave. They don't call it "mud season" for nothin'.

While the roads do get snowy in the winter, they have the equipment to handle it. They can't allow skiers to not get there. You have as much chance getting stranded in Denver as in Summit County.

My asthmatic niece does much better in the mountains. Is it the air? Well, it's cleaner and the heat is never oppressive and much drier. Kids can adapt to altitude better than adults because their body can grow to accomodate lung & heart changes. There are always exceptions. High altitude sickness can appear at any age, and you usually know within a few days.

Summit County is at 9,000 feet, and over time, people who live at that altitude live longer because their hearts work harder, and thus are healthier. Statistics are the same for other high country counties.

Summit, Grand and Eagle Counties are close to Denver culture and sports which are among the best in the country. Get farther out, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, etc. you are more dependent on culture coming to you. But they do. Symphonies and stage shows like to come there for a summer cool-off.

Schools? My wife worked in Vail (Eagle County) schools and found them as good as other public schools in the state, but finding teachers who can afford to live there is a problem, so there is higher turnover. Drugs and social problems are the biggest problems...gangs and violence are not.

The cost of living not only limits what YOU can do, but it limits what kind of services you get. Police & firemen can't afford to live right in town, but they are just as motivated. A rock slide is a bigger threat to blocking a road than snow, but it's just part of living the mountains.

How do you stand on immigrants? They are among the majority who can & will work in resort towns and make up a big percentage of the local population. When shopping at the Avon Wal-Mart or Home Depot, you'll hear more Spanish spoken by customers than in urban Denver stores. You'll also find Germans, Swiss, Brits who come to work during the ski season, so the variety changes during the year.

Downsides? As an example, over 70% of the homes in Eagle County are 2nd homes and are usually unoccupied. Unless you're in a neighborhood of "locals", you could live where the houses around you are empty most of the year. There aren't many discount stores. Getting a good electrician/plumber/day care is either a problem, or expensive. But it's a great life.

Last edited by BillRadio; 08-15-2007 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:29 AM
Location: Montrose
63 posts, read 305,862 times
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Ski Towns are that ...much higher in price..why not look at cities with good hospitals that are real close to Ski areas...

Such as Montrose ..we have great skiing in Telluride and Grand Mesa just a short drive away..
and our Medical Facilities have grown and improved ..we now have a complete Cancer center.
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Old 08-17-2007, 01:57 PM
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This will start the flames, but I wouldn't raise children in a ski town. The towns tend to be sociologically unbalanced--a lot of "idle" rich, an underclass of "worker bees" (often aliens, legal or otherwise), and not a lot in between. I've said this many times before: resort towns may be nice to visit, but they often aren't very nice places to live. I agree with HappyMontrose--better to live in a "normal" community near one of the ski areas than to live in the resort town itself. It's not surprising not many of the old-line Colorado natives who were born and grew up in towns that became resorts moved away from them. They did not like what they had become.

As for living at high altitude, you should consult medical pros about that. Generally, if you have a condition that impairs your ability to get enough oxygen, high altitude willl aggrevate it.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:31 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Jazzlover is correct about the health issues of living at altitude. You could google a ton of information about the effects of altitude on one's general health. People with respiratory conditions are usually cautioned about living in the high country. Denver's altitude is even hard on some people. "Dry air" used to be thought to be a cure for respiratory problems. Now we know differently. In the office where I work, we use the word "humidifier" dozens of times a day, especially in the winter.

OP: If your children are generally healthy, I don't think you need to fear living in the mtns, as long as you don't go too remote. If you are going to have more children, be aware of this statistic: Colorado has one of the highest low-birth-weight rates in the country, thought to be the effect of altitude. I read once that a typical baby gestated at 5000 feet weighs approx. 1/2 # less than at sea level; a baby gestated at 10,000 feet weighs approx. 1# less. If you go early, your chances of a LBW are pretty high. I work in a pediatricians' office in metro Denver; we do not see many newborns over 9#. Actually, most are in the 6 1/2 - 8 # range.
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:43 AM
12 posts, read 66,473 times
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Thanks so much to everyone for all of the great information. We have taken an exploratory trip, and are interested in the vail valley area. We would probably choose not to live right in Vail, but maybe in Avon or Edwards. I am glad to hear that there is some sort of community among the families even though 70% of the houses are second homes, but it seems as though there are plenty of events for younger children throughout the year. Does anyone have any inside info on the public schools in Edwards or Avon? Pittnurse, thank you for the medical info, I have talked with my dr. and he said the best way to know is just to spend some time in the mountains, and I didn't experience any reactions to the altitude, I think it will probably be better than where I am now (Fort Worth Tx) with all of the pollution, smog, humidity, etc. Thanks again everyone for taking the time to answer and I am eager for more input if anyone has any!
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:27 PM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,654,823 times
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Lots of good info in BillRadio's post.

If you want a local feel, you'll have to find neighborhoods which are occupied by full-time residents (there are pockets of them).

Finding jobs is obviously the biggest hurdle most people face in the mountains, but since you didn't mention anything about it, I'll assume that's not an issue for you?

One thing to keep in mind (especially seeing that you're coming from Texas) is that the winters are l-o-n-g here. We had our first snowfall two weekends ago (Oct-13/14), which dumped about 12-18". Another storm is in the process of dumping another 12-14" this weekend. Winter lasts into April/May (snow is possible any month of the year). Now that can be a good or bad thing depending on whether you're into winter sports or not!
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:16 PM
12 posts, read 66,473 times
Reputation: 15
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post

Finding jobs is obviously the biggest hurdle most people face in the mountains, but since you didn't mention anything about it, I'll assume that's not an issue for you?

Jobs are not an issue, my husband can work from anywhere. Billradio made a very good point about immigrants, which brings up another issue. We did happen to go into the Wal-Mart in Avon and I literally felt as though we were in Mexico. I have nothing at all against other races, but I have to say I was a little shocked. People were basically just destroying the store; they would pick up a shirt or pair of gloves to look at, and then just throw it on the floor; there were piles of discarded things everywhere. It just seemed as though there was no respect at all, and I am just wondering if this carries over into the towns and schools? I am not trying to offend anyone but I think this is an issue that needs consideration. I guess what I am trying to ask is what people think are the issues that come along with so many immigrants in this area particularly.
As for the weather, I know that it is very different from Texas and we are definitely ready for a change.
Also, regarding the point that there is basically no middle class in these types of areas, is that a statement that everyone agrees with? Our situation is fortunate in that we live comfortably, but would not be considered "wealthy" by Vail standards. We have investigated the housing and can afford a decent house in Avon or Edwards (somewhere in the 500-600k range). I am assuming there would be other families like us, but am I way off base?
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:50 PM
Location: South of Denver
291 posts, read 1,884,941 times
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The Avon Wal-Mart is exactly what I was referring to. Most of the locals are respectful of the store, you saw a few rude people that may very well be from out of town.

During the ski season, you will see a larger number of visitors who really do carry an attitude, some of it comes from paying so much for a vacation, they get an idea they get some right to be rude. Rich Mexicans are rather mainstream, other nationalities are often the bad eggs.

It sounds like you're in a good income bracket and, once you find the right neighborhood, should be relatively happy. Our family is of modest means, but we bought right. The locals are much nicer to us than those from similar income groups because we have "paid our dues", by buying into the market. The wealthy in Vail are a lot more relaxed than they are in big cities. They enjoy slipping into their flannel shirts, and you often can't tell them from those less 'advantaged.'

None of the issues you have mentioned are significant enough to avoid the area. The weather is. From October to May, the ground is always covered with snow, although less so the farther down valley (west) you go. And that's a good thing. Since it's a resort, they promote a feeling that's its Christmas all winter long.
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