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Old 03-20-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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My fiancee and I are considering moving to Colorado, and she has a job where she will easily be able to transfer but I am wondering about the prospects in my field. I've worked in hospitality/concierge type positions with hotels for about 10 years, are there any growing areas in this industry I should check out?

We're mid 20's and very flexible on location. Cost of living would be a concern, as we're not hurting financially but also not in a position to live extravagantly. This was one of the things that concerns me as I'm sure the cost of living in one of the big name tourist areas is probably very high.

I am trying to get an idea for the age range/lifestyles/living costs of the various areas of the state. Any help you could provide would be appreciated!!

Side question:
I have also coached basketball for a number of years, is there a thriving basketball community in CO?
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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Wink Colorado overview

As a gross generalization, you might think of Colorado's economy comprised of farming and ranching, with a good deal of tourism included where feasible, which basically means the mountains for that. There is the state's economy in a nutshell, and a relatively limited one, with of course of the huge exception of the diverse metropolitan economy of the front range.

More than a third of Colorado is comprised of the flat eastern plains, with little population and a limited economy, and not what most outside the state think of when dreaming dreams of a Rocky Mountain high.

A good deal of western Colorado runs in geography from high desert, to mesas, canyons, and in some cases mountains. There is more population and industry than on the eastern plains, but not a great deal more; the largest towns, such as Grand Junction, Montrose, and Durango, are not all that large. Although given the nature of the land, there are more recreational opportunities, as well as tourism.

The central mountains of Colorado, which also include the San Juan mountains in the southwest corner of the state, are a realm unto themselves, and what most consider iconic Colorado. They begin in an abrupt uplift line from the plains at the front range, and extend from there west to cover a good third of the state. This is a region of high elevation, higher snow-capped peaks, river valleys, and parks large and small. There is relatively little population, with most of that existing centered in a number of generally small towns, or in larger number in winter resort areas. The economy will run from quite limited to maybe a little tourism, to a great deal of tourism at times in some areas, and thriving in a seasonal way for those so attuned and adjusted. For most people it is not at all the easiest place to make a living, and expensive as well.

The front range of Colorado runs in a long linear line from north to south. It could at a stretch be thought of a extending from Trinidad in the south, near New Mexico, to Fort Collins in the north, near Wyoming; but for all intents and purposes can be considered to be that from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. Here this metropolitan area directly abuts the high foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and is nowhere all that wide. This is where most of the population and businesses of the state reside.

Compared to the east or west coasts, Colorado is not all that expensive, particularly in housing costs. Taxes are also generally lower. If one has a decent income, then a higher standard of living might be enjoyed in respect to what one's money will buy, and also recreation, and the beauty of the place. But the overall market is not as large as on the coasts, nor in general the pay scales as high. What it comes down to for many people is if they can secure a suitable income, and if so probably the reality of it somewhere along the front range.

The reality of mountain dreams are largely confined to those with a secured and healthy outside income, or those with a determination to be in the high country, and willing to go through hardship and sacrifice to remain.

There is also the weather, which on whole most consider pleasant, if rough at times; but one had better like, or at least be willing to live with, winter, and all the more so if in the mountains.

As far as basketball, not much idea, although there seems a great enthusiasm for it in some quarters.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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That is some great information thank you very much for your reply!!
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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Colorado's tourism has always been and always will be fairly seasonal--that is dictated by climate. Obviously, the ski industry can only exist in winter. Ski areas have tried, with some success, to extend the ski season to include Thanksgiving and Christmas--by extensive investments in snowmaking. Colorado's climate is notoriously fickle in early winter--December is often the driest month of the year in some mountain locales. Starry-eyed beliefs to the contrary, the ski industry is a "mature" industry in Colorado. It has all of the economic signs of maturity--predatory competition, larger competitors taking over smaller weaker ones, financial distress in the weakest competitors, etc. The ski industry has never been especially profitable itself--it depends on its real estate development component for much of its industry profitability. Both economics and demographics are now becoming negative for the ski industry, so it is my belief that the boom days it enjoyed for much of the last 30 years are over--probably for good.

Summer tourism is another major component of the rural Colorado economy, much of it centered around the ski resorts because they have the lodging facilities, etc. to attract tourists. They have no bed of roses for survival in the current economy, but their prospects are likely better than the more rural "summer-only" resorts. The latter are always at a disadvantage because they must make their income in 3-5 months, with a "dead" season in winter and spring. The smaller places are almost all exclusively dependent upon tourists arriving by automobile or RV, and high fuel prices (which are going to become the norm, in my opinion) decimate their prime market.

Finally, there is the "hunter" market, which, in most cases are a market catered to by the smaller summer resort areas. This is another declining market, with both demographics (fewer people interested in hunting), environmental impacts (land development disrupting big game migration and winter grazing), and tightened hunting regulations (including much higher out-of-state hunting fees) shrinking the customer base. Not to mention high fuel prices that have big impacts on SUV/4WD/RV /ATV-heavy hunters.

About the only true "year-round" tourist destinations in Colorado are the Front Range cities, which have the facilities to attract convention and business travelers year-round to supplant the true "tourist" trade. The larger ski resorts also try to tap into the convention market, with some success, but they still must heavily discount their rates during the "shoulder" seasons--especially spring.

Oh, I didn't mention spring--called "mud season" in Colorado, which is generally an attractive season to almost no one. Even many Coloradans choose to vacation elsewhere during the spring months.

Of course, there is also the lodging/service trade in some communities strictly centered around the workers in the gas fields. Those places are doing pretty well right now, but it too is a boom and bust industry--and when it busts, the bust can last for years.

The OP has quite correctly observed that most resort areas in Colorado have high level costs compared to locally available incomes. Some young folks are willing to "take an oath of poverty" to live the resort lifestyle for awhile, but most wind up going "back to the world" once their savings are exhausted or their personal or family situation becomes such that they actually have to make a living wage.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:21 PM
 
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>About the only true "year-round" tourist destinations in Colorado are the Front Range cities, which have the facilities to attract convention and business travelers year-round to supplant the true "tourist" trade.

This would probably be what I am most comfortable with and accustomed to. I'm currently with a major conference center that supplants seasonal tourism with year round business/convention.

>Oh, I didn't mention spring--called "mud season" in Colorado, which is generally an attractive season to almost no one. Even many Coloradans choose to vacation elsewhere during the spring months.

We are both originally from northern New England, used to cold winters and muddy springtime!

How popular is commuting in Colorado? Do many people who work in tourist hotspots live 30+ mins away from their workplace to avoid housing costs?

Front Range could certainly be a good choice - but I have dealt with seasonal ebbs and flows of tourist markets before. I will have to sit down and spend some time going through your suggestions and I appreciate the time you put into them!
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
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30 minutes away is a short drive here. I know people who have their winter jobs driving an hour or more, then their summer jobs, driving an hour or more to a different location.

Good luck to you.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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The Broadmoor here in the Springs usually has several postings, they employ around 1,600. RP
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:46 PM
 
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Wink Aspects of commuting

I doubt many people in Colorado view commuting as a 'popular' pastime, although many of course through necessity engage in it.

In a metropolitan area, with a little forethought and planning, one might have a quite reasonable commute, in having arranged the location of home in relation to work.

Conversely, it is not unknown for those employed in Summit County to live in Leadville due the lower cost of housing, or some working in Breckenridge to live in distant Fairplay, on the far side of Hoosier Pass (elevation: 11,542 feet). That should qualify as a commute, and only debatable if mountain driving preferable to dealing with all the more traffic on I-25 through Denver. Anecdotal tales I've heard indicate that even those with stable employment in Summit County, such as police and firemen, must at times live at a far remove from where worked, due the cost of living.

If removed from resort areasóbut also most jobsóthen this wouldn't be as much an issue. A town such as Durango would probably be better in this respect, although reports on this very forum that many people who actually work there end up living outside of town.
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