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Old 12-19-2009, 08:40 PM
Location: Canon City, Colorado
1,331 posts, read 4,423,989 times
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:34 PM
Location: CO
2,172 posts, read 1,153,312 times
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Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Here in PA.... {edit} the mountain/trail biking for instance WAY better than Colorado.
I realize this post is over a month old and a bit off-topic but seriously? You're joking, right? I don't know where you went riding in Colorado but someone must've steered you down a wrong trail. There's not much east of the Mississippi that I'd consider 'mountain biking' of any kind whatsoever.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:36 PM
857 posts, read 1,351,357 times
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Default Colorado Mountain Towns Are VERY Different From Each Other

Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Nederland, west of Boulder, might work for you. The schools are small, but they are part of the Boulder Valley SD, so they have more resources than an isolated district. I know less abt the mtn towns in southern/western CO. I've only been to Buena Vista once, it looks like a thriving place, but I have no idea what people do there for a living. Durango has a college, as does Gunnison; my guess is they are major employers in those cities.
This would be a difficult decision since you mentioned Colorado and adjacent states. The various cities mentioned in this thread vary tremendously in terms of climate and demographics. I would visit all these places before making a decision. This post is long however EVERY town in Colorado that I've had the pleasure of visiting is unique w/ very nice folks. However, they are all VERY different from each other that you don't want to move to the wrong place.

Nederland, and the adjacent town of Ward, along with Buena Vista-Salida (Chaffee Co.) 100 miles south, do not even compare to Durango, in terms of size (Ned is only 1300 persons; BV/Salida 8000 total; the Durango MCA is 30,000), there's a college in Durango, more recreational opportunities in Durango, more tourists in Durango, more schools in Durango, etc. etc.

And, in my view all these other places are too cold, as they are at elevations of 7000' +. I think Nederland is at least 9000.' Alamosa at 7500.' You can search the climate of all of these places at Reno's Western Regional Climate Center:

Durango is at 6500,' yet is further South and West, resulting in greatly lessened "back door cold fronts" that stall over Colorado from the Great Plains, bringing horrible blizzards to Denver in April.

Durango has low unemployment at 4.6% and is located near the oil and gas industry, that extends into neighboring Farmington, NM.

One "advantage" to Nederland, however, by way of a 4WD exclusively, would be a "long steep and treachorous commute" to Boulder-Longmont and Denver. (Durango is 6 hrs from Denver, and everyone wishes it was closer!)

In my view the best mountain towns of a reasonable size at reasonable elevations w/ a larger selection of jobs in Colorado are in two categories:

1. larger places on the Western Slope (Durango, Montrose, Grand Junction)

2. larger places along the Front Range (eastern CO), such as Ft. Collins, Boulder, Longmont, Golden, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, etc. etc.

The central part of the state from Vail to Aspen to Breckenridge to Leadville to Buena Vista/Salida ... down to Colorado's Cradle (i.e. the San Luis Valley: Alamosa, Crestone, Great Sand Dunes Ntl. Park) are generally heavily dependent on tourism and/or agriculture and/or natural resources - I think way too cold to live there in the winter, but absolutely beautiful places to visit anytime!

I'd suggest a road trip in April visiting all of these Mountain Towns. The reason is that people on City-Data have inconsistent interpretations of different towns in Colorado. There is a difference between how some people feel west of the Continental Divide, versus to the east, due to weather patterns.

Generally speaking, The Front Range has worse winters, higher winds, and more violent thunderstorms. I did a road trip through CO. last summer, and concluded that if I would ever move to the state, Durango was my absolute favorite, followed by Alamosa / San Luis Valley.

Last edited by CCCVDUR; 01-11-2010 at 12:17 AM..
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:48 AM
20 posts, read 50,004 times
Reputation: 16
Colorado is beautiful, however that which you seek is not always as it appears. Example if you desire to purchase land in Colorado - chances are you will not have any water rights. You cannot even install a cistern as the government even tries to control the water falling from the heavens. We moved here to Montrose and have been greatly disappointed, over priced slumlord housing, cities force citizens to repair public sidewalks at the residents expense and the people are not friendly they are selfish, hording mizers who are part of the good old boys clubs and care less about impoving the quality of life for citizens. No work, high taxes over charging for water, fuel and other products are only a few of the items. Forget the city manager who has no time for citizens only to draw her salary and do a very bad job of running the city.

The only positive I can think of is the honesty of the chief of police who will do his best to insure the safety of the citizens. WE
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:18 PM
Location: Del Norte NM
529 posts, read 1,140,770 times
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Yes, to live in mountain Colorado requires sacrifice. Even rich people have to accept that what might buy 1000 acres of prime Tennessee land may net them 50 on the Western Slope but it is worth it to them. What I've noticed about the Durango area is that rents are expensive and few will accept pets or kids. Is not accepting kids illegal? So, you might have to accept a lesser, lower paying job and tighter quarters and generally higher prices for things but if it is worth it, then it is. I don't know what the schools are like on the Western Slope but I guess they are smaller than those you might find in LA.

I noticed you mentioned Los Alamos, NM. It is pretty much a retirement town for old scientists who don't retire to Hawaii. LANL is there but they are cutting back right now. Schools in NM aren't too good when compared to the Midwest, Northeast or gennerally the East Coast. But, the private schools are very good but pricey and selective.

Rio Rancho has the best propects for jobs and the best public schools in the state. HP is opening a big call center there but it is a suburb of Albuquerque and it is pretty crowdwd and not a mountain town.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:08 AM
Location: Colorado
90 posts, read 276,416 times
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Originally Posted by MountainBound72 View Post
Like the 50 million other people who want to move to the mountains, I am looking for a town that would fit my needs. I have read tons of your helpful posts on this site and have learned a lot. But can't seem to narrow it down enough to plan my scouting trip.
Did you complete your "scouting trip?" What did you conclude?

I am looking for a place my kids can go to a public school that isn't ginormous (several hundred per grade is ginormous to me). A school that's big enough to offer football, volleyball and basketball, and either school or club soccer. I do not want my kids to grow up exclusively among the wealthy, which is what it sounds like all these mountain towns have come to.

I really, really don't care about shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
Of course I'd like a little land with a little (not a mc mansion!) house at the edge of town, again, just like everyone else.

I am looking at Durango, maybe southern Idaho.....Utah???
Sorry for the lengthy post.
Thanks in advance for any help or advice you have!!
You appear to be focusing on Western mountain towns. IMO, three kinds of people "make it" when they move to mountain towns out here:

a) The wealthy (retiree / trust fund-er) types who "create" their own slice of heaven no matter what the cost. If they want it and don't have it, they fly it in or pay somebody to build it on their patch of land.

b) The self-sufficient (preparedness / retro-hippie / live simply) crowd. This category is broad and varied in terms of personality type. (Where the other two groups are more homogenous.)

c) The faith-based (commune / LDS / Left Behind-er) who "move here with their neighbors in-tact" crowd. People in these groups bring their own governance, rules, communities and micro businesses with them (and for this very reason tend to take much longer to assimilate).

The most common trait across all groups is they have a "live and let live" attitude with each other. (Note, I wrote "most common;" not that it's a universally adhered-to principle. It varies-by-location how common this characteristic is in evidence.

In my experience the most represented traits of those who do not make it in our western mountain towns, are they:

1 - Want "the Town" to supply all their needs and wants. These folks are either constantly whining "Why doesn't somebody (meaning local government) fix this mess?" Real westerners see a need and take care of it themselves. We don't rely on "the government" to take care of us.

2 - Remember "back home" being idyllic in how things were. They regularly complain, "Back in 'Podunk' we did it this way. It was much better." After 120-150 repetitions of this mantra, the locals start asking, "If Podunk was so much better, why'd you leave?" (This is the beginning of the end for the Podunkians....)

I'm curious to see if folks from Eastern mountain communities see different dynamics.

- KK
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:53 AM
2 posts, read 3,738 times
Reputation: 15
Default Middle Class dissappearing and views from a "mountain townie"

I know this post is two years old, but I came upon it during a google search and felt inclined to join the discussion. MountainBound72- I completely understand what you are going through, and if you haven’t already, I really hope you have found a good place to land that works for you and your family. Truth be told, if I had to do it over, I would probably do what you are doing (or have done depending if you have already moved or not).

I have been reading all the enlightening posts regarding your issue and I feel this brings up some even bigger questions than just “where should I live?” but also questions about the middle working class disappearing and capitalism in America.

Let me tell you a little about me- I have lived in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs for 20+ years and when I first moved out to Routt County back in the 70s, it was definitely the type of town/land you are looking for, a sleepy town with a small ski area, a few restaurants, and plenty of space between you and your neighbors. Over those 20 years, development and growth has been gradual, the wealthy started moving in towards the late 80s, and property values sky-rocketed. Since then the town has become a playground for the inordinately wealthy (even more so than Aspen in some regards) and I have been down-right appalled by the resort developers (there seems to be a new condo development everywhere you look) and the corporate greed that has simply taken over the town.

The ski-mountain and the Mt. Warner basin used to be home to a movie theatre, some locally owned restaurants, and shops until a large development company chased everyone out and bull-dosed the entire complex down, leaving absolutely nothing for people to do up there while they are visiting, and an unsightly empty lot the developers will ‘sit-on’ for years until the economy bounces back. Same thing happened downtown and now we have a big ugly vacant lot that could be a park or local businesses.

Due to some corrupt city officials and questionable politics, the Steamboat City Council has turned a blind-eye for years and let the rich move in and do whatever they want to what was once a pretty great place to live.

So needless to say, I would NOT recommend Steamboat, and if I didn’t own my house out-right and I wasn’t retired, I would move.

Sorry, that was a lot. But I felt I needed to add my two cents-worth from someone who lives in a mountain town. Now on to how to address your problem-

1. I think one of the main factors for me if I were moving would be water quality (that’s another factor that keeps me pinned to Steamboat, YES, the water is THAT good). Also heed poster “cljblind” warnings about water rights in Colorado. It is illegal to harvest rain water in Colorado (which is completely rubbish if you ask me, we get tons of runoff, especially this season, collect whatever you want!) So if you decide to live in a rural area without city water, you will have to have access to, or dig a well. The big problem (at least for me) is that well water in Colorado tastes horrible and I don’t think the quality is very good (but then again I have Steamboat water, so I hold water to a higher regard I guess, some people just drink bottled all the time and don’t think twice about it).

2. You mentioned you wanted your children at a public school where they didn’t have to attend along with the children of the wealthy. I urge you to think about this carefully. Just because it’s in a rural area and it’s a smaller school, it doesn’t necessarily make it a “better” school. In fact, after putting a child through the Steamboat Public School system, I wished my child had gone to a school in a bigger metro area were they would have been exposed to more and had more opportunities for extracurricular activities besides Skiing or Winter Sports Club. Also, because it’s so expensive to live here, they can’t keep good teachers around for long and students end up with sub-par ski bums teaching English. Lastly, there is nothing for young people to do in Steamboat so a lot of the daughters and sons of the wealthy end up having drug and alcohol problems (truly, I’ve seen it happen on many occasions). The wealthy kids grow up, try to leave Steamboat, go out in the real world, decide its too much for them because they’ve never had to work hard for anything in their lives, and then come back and become a ‘lifer’ for mommy and daddy with nothing to show for it but a nasty drinking problem. I’ve seen this more times than I care to admit. So when looking at schools for your dream town, make sure it is truly “balanced” as you say. That means not only a strong sports program, but that your kids are encouraged to exercise ALL of their talents, not just sports.

3. The other thing you have to take into consideration when living in a mountain town, is that it's TERRIBLY….TERRIBLY seasonal. Steamboat is pretty lucky that it gets all-year around business, but the “off” season is still quite potent around these parts. Places like Grand Lake, its even worse. The town opens up in May, and closes in September and that is COMPLETELY it. I’ve been up there in the winter and besides snowmobilers, a few restaurants and stores open, it’s pretty grim. But if you don’t mind that, and you like a really quiet winter, somewhere like Grand Lake might be the place for you. Again though, as people have mentioned, it’s a resort town and the real estate price tag doesn’t come cheap. However, just a few miles down the road is the town of Granby which seems very down to earth.

So I guess the three factors here are:

1. Water.
2. School (making sue your kids are getting a well-balanced education from good teachers).
3. The Seasonal issues with mountain towns.

Some towns I would check out (if you haven’t already moved)-

1. Craig, Colorado
This town gets a bad rep from ‘Steamboaters’ who often call it “Craig America” but I think it would actually be a pretty great place to settle down. There’s lots of employment opportunities, the same water as Steamboat, cheap real estate, a charming downtown with locally owned shops and restaurants, and completely free of the snotty resort/tourist crowd. Not sure about their school system. Would need to look into that.

2. Granby, Colorado
As I said, pretty unpretentious town near Grand Lake. But does get some of the wealthy tourist/second home run-off.

3. Loveland, Colorado
It’s a lot bigger than what you are looking for but I think it also has a lot of good qualities. Good water, it’s a big town but there’s nothing flashy or fancy about it, close to the mountains, and I think its about the right size to have a pretty strong school system. Also decently priced real estate if you count out Lake Loveland.

4. Glenwood Springs/Redstone/Marble areas are worth checking into, they are a bit touristy but not insanely so.

Town out of state-

1. Missoula, Montana
Again, probably a little bigger than what you are looking for but its definitely got some good things going for it.

Sorry for the novel and again I really enjoyed reading everyone’s insightful posts! Good luck with your future endeavors and your move! (if you haven’t already.)

Last edited by ste2011; 07-21-2011 at 01:06 AM..
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