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Old 03-03-2010, 12:36 PM
8 posts, read 18,308 times
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My husband and I are living in the the Chicago area. We are thinking of moving to CO. I'm a teacher, and I know things are getting tight out there.. but trust me it's better than Illinois!
Anyway, my aunt used to live near winter park and I applied for an opening there. When I asked her about it, she said that the mountain towns can make people feel "isolated". Would you agree? We're not super social people who have to go out every night, but would like to have some things to do.... not quite sure what she meant by that (it was in an email, so I'll have to find out)! Any opinions?
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:28 PM
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We lived in the country north of Salida for 3 years and my wife felt more isolation than I. She is a city girl and it's a whole new deal living in the high country. The only real stores left are Walmart, Truevalue and a Safeway.
Depends on what you are accustomed to. If you enjoy endless year-round outdoor activities at your doorstep you will be happy. I think many move to these places to get away from the rat race and embrace the isolation. RP
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:53 PM
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Not "getting tight"--ARE tight. A lot of rural school districts are going to be making layoffs soon. It's ugly and likely to get worse. As I have posted many times before, Colorado tends to lag the rest of the country going into economic difficulties and it also tends to lag the rest of the country coming out of it.

As to "isolation," do you mean physcial isolation, cultural isolation, or what? Most in-town areas (as opposed to strung-out rural subdivisions and the like) in rural Colorado have cable TV, high-speed internet, and year-round highway access that will get you to a metro area in less than 6 hours from most places in the state. So physical isolation is not near as "oppressive" as it used to be, although the coming (in my opinion) exploding fuel prices and deteriorating transportation infrastructure may change that in the future. Cultural isolation? If you are used to all of the benefits of big-city culture (concerts, museums, art, etc.), most of Colorado outside of the toniest resorts or the metro areas may be absolutely a cultural desert for you. The running joke in Wyoming--and true in much of rural Colorado--is that "a high society event" means a rodeo at 7,000 feet elevation. The other factor in the resort towns (and Winter Park is one) tend to be full of a very transient population with no deep roots in the community and also tend to be very economically/culturally/socially schizophrenic--that is, a combination of a very wealthy (mostly part-time resident) leisure class and a low underclass (including a lot of immigrants--some legal, many not) worker bees--with not much of a middle class in between. If you are somewhat "normal" middle class family, that can be somewhat culturally isolating.

I know that I will get a lot of dissent from this opinion, but as a half-century plus Colorado native, it is my opinion that most all Colorado resort mountain towns may be great places to visit on vacation, but they are lousy places for most middle-class family-type people as a place to live.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:55 PM
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Wink Indubitably

Isolating? In a word: yes. Whether good or bad, that depends on what you like.

You might begin by understanding that Winter Park is the town in that area, anything else smaller and less upscale, and visiting a town of appreciably larger size will entail a drive across Berthoud Pass (elevation 11,307 feet). While the pass is well maintained and not particularly hazardous, you will know you've crossed something. On the far side I-70 and ready access to Denver and other front range towns, save perhaps at the wrong time and lost in a parking lot of slow moving skiers. In other words, any visit to a larger town will be an enterprise you'll likely think twice on. So Winter Park had best suite you for society and shopping most of the time.

It might. Groceries and other day to day needs can be met. You'll likely find yourself traveling elsewhere for appliances or other serious shopping. I am not well versed on the society there, but would suspect if your pastimes are simple, entail entertaining yourself, a nice meal with friends, the out of doors, then you'll be happy. Lovers of organized culture, such as opera, are likely to be at a loss what to do. If a town, Winter Park is principally a ski area. I'm not even sure much of anything would exist there save for that. But as such things are, it is a very seasonal affair, busiest in winter and then more mellow in summer. You are likely to find the cusp seasons of spring and autumn rather dead. Which may prove a blessing, as it is only in such periods that dedicated resort towns ever seem halfway normal, or quiet.

One advantage of such an area is that your backyard is a vast and largely empty forest. One should note however, sadly, that the ongoing pine beetle infestation has not been kind to much of it. This would include nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, but if you can somehow manage to overlook that, it remains an incredibly beautiful place. Just up the road from you, although in winter the pass across to Estes Park on the far side is closed.

One thing is for sure, snow and cold are about the only features Winter Park will share with Chicago, and even these different. It might be exactly the difference you'll like. Once there for any length of time you'll probably know. If it is not, fine options exist along the front range, and they are almost in the mountains. But of course that a different world.
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:59 PM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 4 days ago)
Location: Western Colorado
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As isolated as you want to make it I guess. You can feel isolated in a big city too.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:11 AM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Yes. Usually it's a long drive to the larger towns and cities. In the winter, these drives can be slow or impossible during snow storms. Shopping generally leaves something to desire unless you're in a bigger place like Dillon. Social networks and friendships may be more difficult to establish simply because there's less venue and fewer people.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:39 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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OP. it will be a big enough leap from Chicago to Denver, much less to an isolated mountain town. Unless you are really into skiing and other outdoor activities, you will go totally crazy in Winter Park or any other mountain town. Be prepared for limited shopping, snow from October to May, amd not much else.
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:10 PM
Location: CO
2,534 posts, read 5,821,494 times
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Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
. . . Unless you are really into skiing and other outdoor activities, you will go totally crazy in Winter Park or any other mountain town. . .
That's the key. If you *are* really into skiing and other outdoor activities, you will have plenty to do, and you will find friends and kindred spirits. If you're not, most likely you'll feel isolated and be miserable.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:51 PM
Location: cemetary
363 posts, read 860,975 times
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I grew up in the Midwest, but fell in love with the mountain towns of Colorado in the 70's. Been living large in one since the mid-80's and don't want to consider leaving for friendlier climes. I would really miss the high altitude and low humidity - clean air is something you don't find easily.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:15 PM
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When it comes down to it, despite the tourists that come into many of these mountain towns at different times and the associated activities, they are still really small towns where everyone knows everyone. I found after a while I'd get what I call "cabin fever" where I felt constricted and hemmed in and just had to get out of town and out of the mountains. Even if for a day down to Denver, it was something I had to do.

Even with that by March I'd be climbing the wall to get out and I could always tell with the hotel and restaurant staffs as well with everyone getting burnt out and snippy. Winter conditions can exist from September to May, so nine months of winter is tough to deal with and you do get tired of it after a while.
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