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Old 03-16-2016, 06:27 PM
 
16 posts, read 19,468 times
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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.

PLEASE HELP!

Last edited by alexandreajean; 03-16-2016 at 06:42 PM..
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Old 03-16-2016, 07:33 PM
 
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While it may not sit in a basin that's quite as cold as Gunnison, a move to Glenwood Springs is still in the mountains at altitude ... which means lengthy winters. Consider, too, that GS is in the center of a highly tourist dependent area ... there's nothing "semi-touristy" about the town or the pricing ... it's full tilt ski industry and tourist industry oriented for the winter, particularly with it being on the I-70 corridor through the heart of ski country. And tourism is a big deal for the summer season, too, there.

Flagstaff AZ is considered a mountain town. It may or may not have the charm and appeal for you that the rockies present.

Given your interests in this area, I'd suggest that you take a discovery trip through the region ... you may find what you're seeking in CO, MT, ID, WY, NM, SD, AZ, or CA. Lower elevation areas in the mountains may yield the combination of shorter/warmer winters that you seek.

PS: let me be absolutely clear on this point for you: High Altitude = Cold Winters throughout the Rocky Mountains.

If you want "warmer winter" climes, head to the lower elevation areas. Maybe even a town like Spearfish would meet your expectations.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
650 posts, read 561,573 times
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If you want shorter winters you will need to go further south.

Santa Fe in NM.,
Moab or Park City in UT.

All smaller touristy towns with very cool surroundings, and Park City still has a full winter.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Since you lived in Gunnison, I assume that you know something about Salida and Buena Vista. Considered by many to be the “banana belt” because winters are relatively warmer. Although I think anywhere in the country is going to have shorter, milder winters than Gunnison LOL.

You didn't mention jobs. It's hard to find work in a small mountain town, and sometimes the cost of living can be quite high. I think that rents right now in BV are high and there is very low inventory. Shouldn't your ability to earn money be more important than a shorter, milder winter?
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:30 PM
 
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Shorter, milder winter--try Pagosa Springs, CO, though it's not as mountainous as you might like. You may not get everything on your wish list in one place. It's not a long drive to Durango, which is more rugged and great for hiking. You could look into Durango, as well, for that matter. There's a college in town. Otherwise, try Taos, NM. Definitely touristy, artsy, near a world-class ski area, with a local Native American community, in what's considered the southern Rockies. Montana and Idaho will be too much winter for you. Of course your options will depend on what you can afford. Check Craigslist rental listings to get an idea of the range of rents in each area.
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:10 PM
 
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Glenwood Springs might be alright choice if you are willing to share a place or can find something cheaper to the west in say Silt or Rifle. Winter snow in GS itself is much less than further up Roaring Fork Valley and Rifle gets even less snow and warmer temps.

You need to define "cheap" for yourself at least and it would help us offer suggestions too. Is $800 per month affordable for your own place, assuming you want your own place? If not, you should probably cross off Glenwood Springs unless you look hard and will accept small or old units. Same for Durango unless you share or live way outside it.

Did you ever get to Montrose? It is comparatively cheap, with low snow / high sun in town, semi-touristy and has a small branch of Colorado Mesa University (main campus in Grand Junction).

In Montana, Dillon sounds sorta like what you are looking for. Winter there is fairly mild by Montana standards. Town is nice for its size, if you can stand being moderate distance from Butte and Bozeman and can adjust to open usually brown land immediately outside of town and the mountains 30-60 minutes away. University of Montana Western is a small liberal arts college with an innovative one intensive class at a time schedule.

In Wyoming you could look at Sheridan or Powell. Small schools in both.

Flagstaff has the altitude of a mountain town and gets over 100 inches of snow in an average year. It will sometimes burn off quick but can stick around awhile too. There are just a couple of peaks in the 10,000 to 13,000 foot range and a bigger number of small peaks in the 8,000 to 9,000 foot range nearby, lots of fairly flat ponderosa forest land and lower desert and canyon country too including Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona. It is fairly expensive but maybe cheaper than most CO mountain towns and some affordable places might be found if you look hard in summer before the fall student population returns. NAU is a pretty big school and would probably be pretty good for many subjects if you work at it. I think there is a community college too. Some go from one to the other.


Spearfish South Dakota is a modest sized college / tourist town. There is a real winter but not that bad. Might get a bit more spring and fall than CO mountain towns. The mountains are only half the height of the Rockies but do offer nice hiking, camping, star gazing, climbing, fishing, etc.

Santa Fe isn't a small town but it is a moderate sized city. Expensive unless you are willing to take an older unit and live around lower wage workers. The higher minimum wage though is something of a plus. Some say it is a better town to be middle aged or retired in than young but there are a lot of 20 and 30 something's in state government and the art and tourist businesses. Several schools in town, a couple of specialized schools and a community college. Taos has a small UNM branch campus. A metro area of about 25,000 compared to Santa Fe's 170k population.

With regard to mild winters, it can help to know if it is cold temps or snow that you are trying hardest to avoid. Some places avoid one to a degree but not so much the other. Avoiding both and being near the Rockies is hard. Pagosa Springs isn't as cold as Gunnison but it gets plenty of snow. Lots of high mountains within an hour drive. For some Silver City and Ruidoso NM are options. Southern Rockies with desert mixed in and full on nearby. Modest sized college in Silver City. Small branch campus in Ruidoso and a college an hour away in Roswell.

In the west coast states, you might look at Ashland and LaGrande in Oregon. Quincy and Ukiah in CA for very small and small towns, Chico and Eureka for moderate sized cities. All these have colleges, though of widely differing size.

So there are a good number options. You just need to establish your priorities, do some more research (here and elsewhere) then visit your top ranked places.

Last edited by NW Crow; 03-17-2016 at 12:36 AM..
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Warmish, any place but Gunnison. Wow, that is one of the most consistently cold small towns throughout the year, in the state.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,892 posts, read 6,465,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Since you lived in Gunnison, I assume that you know something about Salida and Buena Vista. Considered by many to be the “banana belt” because winters are relatively warmer. Although I think anywhere in the country is going to have shorter, milder winters than Gunnison LOL.

You didn't mention jobs. It's hard to find work in a small mountain town, and sometimes the cost of living can be quite high. I think that rents right now in BV are high and there is very low inventory. Shouldn't your ability to earn money be more important than a shorter, milder winter?
Second BV and Salida.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,024 posts, read 12,361,150 times
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Check out Montrose. It's only 5700 feet but the mountains are minutes away. Winters are mild.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:28 AM
 
124 posts, read 138,800 times
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You didn't mention skiing, but like Gunnison (Crested Butte) it is nearby, Monarch to the west, and Leadville to the North, between 30 minutes to an hour away from Salida/BV.
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