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Old 03-17-2016, 03:56 PM
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Maybe Durango.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:13 AM
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am wondering if responders here are paying any attention to the very first requirement of the OP:

"CHEAP" .... mountain towns

Colorado tourist oriented/ski industry accessible mountain towns aren't CHEAP!

as well, the winters in those areas that have skiing nearby are where the snow flies for the greater portion of the winter season, hence ... not WARMER clime areas.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
"CHEAP" .... mountain towns

Colorado tourist oriented/ski industry accessible mountain towns aren't CHEAP!
Nor are they especially "young" which is the OP's second criteria, except perhaps for the couch-surfing service-industry folks who drift in for a ski-season or three. The high-country towns that are CHEAP are not also likely to be YOUNG but rather more likely to be gathering spots for not-always-so-friendly-to-outsiders locals who's great-great-great grand-daddy homesteaded something back in the day when folks like the OP could just up and homestead.

I'd tend to echo the Salida/BV suggestions. Not exactly "cheap" anymore but certainly not hedge-fund billionaire row like Summit County. Not exactly "young" but still pretty vibrant, you know for a retirement type community where people bring out-of-state money. Not exactly "warmish" but not exactly Fraser or Grand Lake either.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:42 AM
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
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Originally Posted by alexandreajean View Post
I'm looking to move again. I lived in the Rockies in Gunnison Colorado last year and absolutely fell in love with the mountains. I'm from Wisconsin, living here now and am just itching to get back out west. Gunnison was amazing in the summer and beautiful in the winter but I prefer a shorter, milder winter than Gunnison. I also love the small town, semi-touristy feel. I love being outdoors, hiking and camping primarily and I'm in my 20s so a generally younger city would be best, maybe even a small school?

What's Glenwood Springs like? There's a nice school there I was looking into a bit. How are the winters? What kind of crowd is it?

Is Flagstaff considered a mountain town? I know there are some mountains, but do they even compare to the rockies?

I'm not limited to Colorado either. I've heard great things about the Sierra Nevadas, but I know California is generally more expensive. Montana has always interested me, but isn't it quite cold during winter?

Definitely stuck on the west, not really interested in east coast areas.

You need to take a nice, long camping vacation in the states that interest you. If money is a problem, camp on BLM lands rather than at organized camp sites. The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is much more accepting of those who want to pull off somewhere and set up camp for free. The Forest Service and especially the Park Service will go into hysterics over such activities.

Your biggest problem is going to be to find somewhere "cheap." I like Flag, but wouldn't consider it cheap. Prices in Santa Fe are downright astronomical and Taos is not far behind. Durango would seem to have everything you're looking for - it's a college town, everyone tends to be outdoors enthusiasts with great ski runs, hiking, wilderness areas, etc. all near-by. But it also tends to be expensive. A number of people live in Mancos (a cute little town maybe a half hour to 40 minute drive to Durango - in the summer). Mancos has mild winter temps compared to Gunnison - as does almost every other town in Colorado - but it can get snow, making the commute between the two towns difficult at times.

I like Montana quite a bit, but I've never wintered there. I did spend a year right next door to Montana in the Idaho Panhandle, and I loathed the winters there - always cloudy from October through April and plenty of freezing fog and drizzle to ensure that every trip that involving a car was going to be a harrowing experience. If you don't mind all those cloudy days, you might consider parking your car on bad days and living in Moscow, ID proper. The University of Idaho is there, and the cost of living is reasonable. Moscow is getting to be more of an artsy community and Washington State University, highly ranked academically - is right next door in Pullman, Washington. So lots going on in the area and it is a fantastic place to be during the 6 months of the year that the sun is out. And the rest of the year, it still doesn't get as cold in Moscow as Gunnison does.

Finally, I would suggest either Westcliffe or Silvercliff. Last time I visited the region, they were cute, affordable towns in the mountains and you could commute to Pueblo for schooling from either town without too much difficulty. Also warmer than Gunnison.

Best of luck,
- Rambler
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:40 PM
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO
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I can pipe up about Montana. If you want mild winters, the Flathead Valley will be your best bet. Heck, there is a huge Cherry industry around the lake due to the mild weather and early start to spring (Flathead Lake is a big factor in the warmer weather here too thanks to it's moderating temperature effects, as it's the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi).

We are only ~3,000 ft elevation, and get roughly 50" of snow a year (though the surrounding mountains/ski areas get up to 300+"). Yes, we do get the occasional Arctic blast or two in winter, but most of the time, the 360 degrees of mountains surrounding the valley protect it, and the really cold air generally stays east of the Continental Divide/Glacier Park region. Is it really pretty amazing how mild the winters are for being this far north, and that's why I think the population is increasing as more and more people figure that out.

Whitefish and Bigfork are your best bets for a smallish semi-touristy town, however the whole valley is rather interconnected (Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Lakeside, Bigfork, etc) and has a population of around 100,000 now. Cost of living/housing is increasing, but still pretty reasonable...and no sales tax is a big plus. Unfortunately, due to the population explosion and the months on endless gray in the winter (which you're probably used to in Wisconsin) we are probably leaving soon for sunnier, quieter pastures.

Good luck
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:30 PM
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

I remember the last time I tooled around Fraser, heh heh. A few of the side streets--Xerex circle, Prestone Way, and a couple others. For a long, long time it was noted as THE coldest town in the lower 48. These days Gunnison is the undisputed champion!

No Fraser for me thank you very much!
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:45 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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While you are young, and on a quest, I would certainly encourage you to try some other states / locations.

Whitefsh, Columbia Falls, MT; Sandpoint, ID; Taos / Angel Fire NM should be high on your list (considering your requirements)

If you desire CA / closer to population, then try some CA destinations. There are places near Tahoe that you might like. Live and work in NV and enjoy more $$$ in your pocket (no state income tax)

Try to find a town with a college. Many of the above will do, as well as Sheridan, WY and Spearfish, SD. (Both are income tax free, and have a varied economy (not 100% tourism).
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Old 03-20-2016, 12:12 PM
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Annual average monthly highs and lows (across all months):

Gunnison Avg. high 55, avg. low 20.
Pueblo 69 and 36.
Montrose 63 and 35.

Gunnison warmest month hi 81, low 43. Coldest month, hi 26 and low -7.

Pueblo, warmest: 93 and 60. Coldest 46 and 14.

Montrose, warmest: 89 and 51. Coldest: 38 and 14.

Montrose is an example in the upper end of warmish for Colorado.

Last edited by NW Crow; 03-20-2016 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 03-20-2016, 12:22 PM
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Trinidad was cheap. Located south of Pueblo on NM border along I-25. Population is 10k. Has mountains on one side and desert butte on other.

I was VERY disappointed at nutty behaviors from the younger residents. Found out even men who checked it out were running away as there is lots of trespassing in the existing housing. New residents were only being left alone if they bought a new build house to keep the contractors employed. Cops were very lax and just let the kids run it. LOTS of the existing housing is clearanced and up for foreclosure. But, COWBOY you might find a good deal if you figure out how to enter this community without being screwed. I was told I would be dating, had lots of damage to my home business equipment, nails/glass on floor while gone. Told by neighbor, the person next door on other side was trespasser. Left within a couple of weeks. Previous occupant was male and did not stay long either saying the neighbor was stealing.

Was very disappointed. Looks like nice place with state community college, all the basics, Walmart, hospital, couple groceries, laundrymat, good roads...

Told by others their stuff is ruined twice a year in some OTHER parts of Colorado. Wyoming was easier on the poor.
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