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Old 08-07-2017, 12:03 PM
 
447 posts, read 572,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBUplander View Post
My wife and I are looking to relocate from Seattle to somewhere with less rain and way less people. We were in Telluride twice this last year and fell in love. The mountains are so dramatic and we're ready for small town life. We both love the outdoors, have no kids, and between the two of us we spend all the free time we have hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, rock climing, dirt biking etc...

We're all but committed to the move until we recently learned what summer monsoon season is all about. My wife just finished hiking the CO trail from Denver to Durango and out of 30 days she got rained on every day but two. This wasn't light Seattle drizzle, but sideways hard driving rain for hours with hail and temps dropping to the upper 40's. It wasn't just a passing thundershower at 4pm, but long nasty spells of rain starting as early as 11am. She said it was an absolutely stunning backcountry, but being cold and wet setting up camp in the rain every day was a huge buzz kill, especially knowing Seattle rarely gets a drop in the summer.

We don't mind some rain, but the idea of having your day's activity of choice wrapped up by 1-2pm to avoid the rain EVERY day isn't what we're looking for.

Finally to my question. Is northern CO, say the Steamboat Springs area, any better off when it comes to monsoon season? Do we need to give up on the idea of CO and head further north to avoid daily rain? Living in the desert is not an option. We need to be in the mountains or foothills less than 30 min to skiing and not somewhere folks from Denver will go to in a day trip. Does such a place exist in CO?
I think SkyDog linked you to the statistics from a couple of other areas, but the first thing that occurred to me was Sun Valley. It's big enough to have everything you need in town in either Ketchum or Hailey. A resort town just like the others you've been looking at. Much closer to Boise than either of those towns is to a large city (airport for trips to see family or business, specific shopping needs, etc.) and the summer time rain looks to be about *half* as much in Sun Valley vs. Telluride. And unless I'm way off, it looks like your money will buy you a bit nicer of a house in Idaho vs Colorado.

You're also right next door to the Sawtooth Recreational Area - absolutely perfect for most of the activities you look to be in to. If willing to go go further abroad, there's a ton of whitewater rafting/kayaking and the largest wilderness in the lower 48 if you want to get lost for a couple weeks. If you absolutely hate rain but want to be in the Rockies, that's probably your best bet.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
3,115 posts, read 1,916,073 times
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I've spent a great many days/nights in the Colorado mountains. The weather is unpredictable, and except for a short morning hike I'd always carry a rain jacket. I also always bring a tent when overnighting, except when it's not legal. With that said, what your wife experienced is out of the norm, in my experience. If you can be flexible with your schedule I don't see it as a big issue. Forests need moisture to survive, of course.


I'm keen on following your thread, as we may eventually retire in the CO mountains. Steamboat is on the "short list". I also like the Roaring Fork valley, although the towns I have in mind are not ski towns. Telluride is certainly nice, but awfully expensive, and a bit isolated for my tastes.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
Whatta difference a year makes! Last summer ( 2016 ), I spent 22 days and night camping out in my tent, in the Colorado high country. During those 22 nights out, I had 21 campfires with only one rainout, due to an hour long gentle rain. That was the only rain I encountered the entire summer. My 22 days consisted of 5 - 4 night outings and 1 - 2 night outing.

This year started out great. By June 23rd I had already camped out 10 nights. I was ahead of last years pace, and thought I might get in 30 nights this summer.

Now it's August 7th, and I haven't been out even one night since June 23rd. Being a fair weather tent camper, I look for 3 or consecutive 4 days in the weather forecast for chances of rain being 30% or less. It simply hasn't happened this summer. On occasion there has been 2 days in a row of 30% or less, 5 or 6 days ahead, but when the date gets closer, the chance of rain rises dramatically.

As of right now, the weather forecast for later this week looks promising. Perhaps the wet pattern is ready to change! Time will tell.
That's an encouraging report! Looking at daily historical US Climate data for Telluride I do see over the last several years that there are indeed dry stretches in July and Aug.

Backpacking is my wife's #1 love and there is no chance we can move somewhere she can't enjoy it. It's a pretty clear consensus that she drew the short straw on this year's weather.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:25 AM
 
5,285 posts, read 2,733,498 times
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You can't judge based on one or two strange years. I took long trips (several weeks to several months) to the southeast for a break from CO winters, two winters in a row. Both times the weather was abnormally cold, like temps in the 40s most days, and freezing nights.

That said, climate change could be setting a new normal.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:36 AM
 
21 posts, read 11,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadoAngel View Post
I think SkyDog linked you to the statistics from a couple of other areas, but the first thing that occurred to me was Sun Valley. It's big enough to have everything you need in town in either Ketchum or Hailey. A resort town just like the others you've been looking at. Much closer to Boise than either of those towns is to a large city (airport for trips to see family or business, specific shopping needs, etc.) and the summer time rain looks to be about *half* as much in Sun Valley vs. Telluride. And unless I'm way off, it looks like your money will buy you a bit nicer of a house in Idaho vs Colorado.

You're also right next door to the Sawtooth Recreational Area - absolutely perfect for most of the activities you look to be in to. If willing to go go further abroad, there's a ton of whitewater rafting/kayaking and the largest wilderness in the lower 48 if you want to get lost for a couple weeks. If you absolutely hate rain but want to be in the Rockies, that's probably your best bet.
I've spent some time the last couple days looking around Idaho via Zillow. As house shopping in most ski towns go it was pretty discouraging, except for McCall. The skiing in McCall isn't world class, but still decent. The winters have far more sun than I get in WA, but not as good as CO or Sun Valley. We were in McCall in March and they had cold drizzle for several days just like Seattle, which wasn't the best first impression.

In McCall ID $800k gets you a super nice house. In Ketchum or nearby Hailey/Bellevue it'll be a teardown or at least a very expensive remodel. I'm just shocked at what crappy homes people think are worth $1.5-2M, and they aren't even in great locations like Telluride or Mountain Village where to you can walk to everything, including skiing. Some folks want +600/sq ft for an older outdated home that is still a 15-20 min drive to skiing and the heart of the town. Sun Valley is starting to make Telluride look cheap. haha Both places have such small inventory hence the crazy prices.

We love to fly fish too, and that would be a big plus in Sun Valley. The big wood river is awesome. The mountain biking there is great, and yes the time we spent in the sawtooths was nothing short of amazing.

We need to do a road trip back through McCall, to Sun Valley, over to Driggs and if time permitted back to CO.

Anyone want to buy a house in the Cascade foothills 30 minutes outside of Seattle? The summers are really nice!
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:40 AM
 
21 posts, read 11,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
You can't judge based on one or two strange years. I took long trips (several weeks to several months) to the southeast for a break from CO winters, two winters in a row. Both times the weather was abnormally cold, like temps in the 40s most days, and freezing nights.

That said, climate change could be setting a new normal.
So last summer was drier than normal and this year was wetter than normal? The daily weather stats on usclimatedata.com don't go back far enough to get a good sense on how often there are stretches of dry weather for backpacking.

We don't need a whole month to be dry. On the contrary I like green so rain is good. Three to 4 day stretches of dry would be ideal.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBUplander View Post
So last summer was drier than normal and this year was wetter than normal? The daily weather stats on usclimatedata.com don't go back far enough to get a good sense on how often there are stretches of dry weather for backpacking.

We don't need a whole month to be dry. On the contrary I like green so rain is good. Three to 4 day stretches of dry would be ideal.
Last two winters and springs were wetter than usual. I don't know if last summer was drier than normal on western slope, because I was in the PNW then. However, I saw unusually green vegetation (and not just the irrigated kind) on western slope both last June (this would have been premonsoon season anyway) and in the fall. Weird.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,821,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Last two winters and springs were wetter than usual. I don't know if last summer was drier than normal on western slope, because I was in the PNW then. However, I saw unusually green vegetation (and not just the irrigated kind) on western slope both last June (this would have been premonsoon season anyway) and in the fall. Weird.
I'm not sure where last summer ( 2016 ) stands in regard to relative wetness/dryness over the long term, BUT there were many 4 and 5 day periods with a low ( 30% or less ) chance of rain, even in the high country. In 22 nights of camping out, I experienced only one gentle hour long rain ( not a downpour ). The summer of 2016 was great for camping, and taking day hikes into the high country.....and for campfires too. I enjoyed 21 campfires out of 22 nights.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:55 AM
 
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Well, the gist of it is that some places have less predictable weather than others. If you can't be flexible about plans and schedules, the more predictable places will be less irritating.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,821,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Well, the gist of it is that some places have less predictable weather than others. If you can't be flexible about plans and schedules, the more predictable places will be less irritating.
Absolutely! Generally speaking, the higher the elevation, and/or the further south you are, the greater the chance of rain. Go north and stay low for a better chance of dry conditions. As with everything else, their are exceptions to this generalization.


PS. as of right now ( Tues 8-8 @12:12 AM ), the next 4 days in Crested Butte look like they could be relatively dry. IF this forecast holds, it would be the longest dry stretch of weather since late June-early July.
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