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Old 09-14-2017, 08:40 AM
31 posts, read 51,129 times
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Hello, we have a 2nd grader and a 6th grader and looking at a move to year round ski town life. Our housing budget is max 1.5 million and I work from home.

We have narrowed our choices down to Aspen/Snowmass, Avon and Steamboat.

Aspen - I understand the Aspen market and prices. We could live in Snowmass pretty easily and commute kids to public school in town. We have visited in summer time but are not sure what winter would be like making that drive every day.

Avon - Have only driven through but the schools and rec department all seem to be nice and new. Easy access to Beaver Creek. How practical is it to live in avon and ski vail mid week? Can you avoid crowds going midweek or is it a constant battle?

Steamboat - Have never been to this town but on paper it seems like a great family town. More moderate prices and down to earth vibe?? The skiing doesn't seem quite as spectacular and it is very remote.

Curious what the locals of these towns have to say about family life and quality of schools. We spent a couple weeks in Mammoth lakes this past summer and loved it but the schools are our big hesitation and we think there would be better public school education in Colorado... thoughts?

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Old 09-14-2017, 01:49 PM
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Others with more relevant, direct experience will be by. I'll just say if MORE "down to earth" is an important factor, give Steamboat a good look.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:12 PM
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I can not directly comment with experience on any of the options. What I can say is that several CO families that I do know have moved to Steamboat in the past year after ruling out other towns for a in-state move. They all raved about more locals then tourists and skiing without fighting the crowds. Some of the families were moving solely for excellent ski or snowboard teams for their children and Steamboat won over the other towns. It would certainly be worth a closer look.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:38 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully some locals of these areas can chime in as well We are planning a scouting trip soon.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:57 PM
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Steamboat is more remote which has disadvantages for driving elsewhere but some also like for a less hectic experience. The airport has lots of flights in winter, a modest amount the rest of year.

Avon might be a good middle ground in several ways. But would being within sight or sound of interstate (when at home or out & about) bother you?

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-14-2017 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:15 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Steamboat for a more holistic family experience (+/-, but would be my choice if I was most concerned about my kids and their benefit to a 'real' community and all the +/- of that experience.) Hot Springs is a bonus! (worthwhile to me / improved quality of life, more variety of activities)
(but I'm Wyoming centric and feel the 'closer-the-better'! Especially for kids / community relationships and no income tax! and terrific and inexpensive University)

Vail is very 'social', / small % of Year Round dwellers but the benefit of being closer to other communities / services / recreation / activities. A friend just spent 10 yrs there in City Admin, and was happy to leave to rejoin a 'normal' community.

Avon is more of a 'commute to Vail or similar (Fewer Year Round residents, but more 'working class' / genuine community, bit small for a holistic community engagement / variety, but possible)

Come try on Colorado, but consider a few more options within the state. I prefer a college town and a diverse economy.

Carbondale / Glenwood / Durango / Alamosa / Gunnison

nice 'ski' places to live Outside of CO... WY / ID / MT / NM

Sandpoint, ID is pretty sweet and great access to: Lake / Skiing (including; MT, WA, ID, + BC and Alberta!)
It is also quite close to Spokane (decent airport) / large city. And... close to WA (no income tax + FREE Full time college instead of wasting time in High School) that was a great option for our kids and thousands of others since 1990...

If you have a lot of dough, and can pull it off... Living and working in Switzerland was 'heavenly' during our kids 'ski yrs' No commute... 'ski out' chalet, and ride the lift on the way home. Schools are awesome, tho we homeschooled cuz we were out of country a lot. We have hosted many school teachers from Switzerland and Austria and they (and their system) is extraordinary. International living was very 'formative' to our kids. (from Asia to Europe). Not EZ, but worth it. IMHO. We spent a lot of time in CO, but it was not their favorite place, and can be difficult on kids / families / long term relationships.

Find a place that FITS you. Be a good detective while searching abodes / communities, engaged in activities you would do as a family. We generally stay with locals (seldom a hotel) usually with families with kids near same age. That was enlightening to all. We traveled all of 2016 and spent only 8 nights in hotels (usually due to early flights). House (or pet / plant) sitting / house swap is a good way to try on a new region.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:34 PM
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Have you thought about Durango? It would be at the top of my list for family living and it's a short drive to the slopes.
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:20 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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I currently live in Avon, have lived in Aspen and visited Steamboat. I don't have kids so I can't comment on the schools except to say where I have lived the kids seem to be pretty well educated and well rounded.

Steamboat is a really great town but isolated, if you are coming from an area with Target, choices of grocery stores and a variety of restaurants and shops it can be a hard adjustment. I've always enjoyed visiting but have never wanted to live there.

Aspen/Snowmass are is beautiful, also a bit isolated if you are use to lots of choices. It can get a little celebrity filled and some people play into it and behave poorly but it's not really what the locals are about. I thought it was a nice community but preferred to live in Willits/Basalt where it was a bit warmer.

In Avon, Eagle-Vail is a great family community between Vail and Beaver Creek, you can easily ski either midweek without issue, unless it's a powder day and then everyone has the same idea. It's a easy drive into Denver which is good but also means more tourists.

Living and driving anywhere in a mountain resort community requires at a minimum front wheel drive and great snow tires, rarely are there snow days up here so it's never an excuse. If you aren't comfortable driving in all sorts of conditions be wary of buying a house up a big hill or with a crazy driveway where you will be at the mercy of the plow guy.

I'll add more later, sorry the pups need a walk!
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:18 PM
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,904 posts, read 6,496,831 times
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I think you should look at Carbondale and Basalt as well. Have friends who just bought in Snowmass. $3.5M for about 3,000 square feet. I don't think your budget is high enough for Aspen.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:56 AM
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I would choose Pagosa springs myself it is much easier to find gardeners, servants , domestic help and others who can be paid with cash there. It is just 35 miles north of New Mexico a poor but charming state. The Wolf creek ski area is very close by where one can go skiing with the Elite from around the world. 1.5 million will go a long way here.

Pagosa Springs facts and figures about the Town, Southwest Colorado and hot springs

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