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Old 08-29-2010, 07:55 AM
 
5 posts, read 24,205 times
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Folks,

I have seen very little useful written on this subject, so if you have some good resources please let me know!

My spouse and I are planning to move in retirement from the DC area to a place, most likely in the Rockies, to spend a lot of time skiing and doing other outdoors activities (especially hiking, mountain biking and flatwater kayaking). Money, primarily housing expense, is absolutely a factor (we would never consider a place like Vail, though not only because of the $$$), but our primary criteria would be: (1) a friendly, genuine town in which we could become active participants, (2) good access to high quality skiing, (3) reasonably good access (within 90 minutes) of at least a mid-size airport, (4) very good access to skiing (an hour at the very most, and preferably less than 30 minutes) and (5) a place where active though not-so-young (early to mid-60s) would feel welcome. Oh, and we probably would not be a good fit for a place with a socially conservative bent (e.g., Colorado Springs, not that it is really a "ski town"). We would also consider the right place in Canada.

We have thought about places like Frisco, Colorado; Bend, Oregon; Durango, Colorado and Bozeman, Montana, but are more than open to other places. To give a sense of how serious we are about skiing, we are not quite convinced that Bend or Durango would offer sufficient access to great skiing (i.e., not sure that we would like Mt. Bachelor or Durango Mountain Resort as our home area -- we need to check them out in person, and I apologize if that sounds snobby, we just really love our skiing! ).

Many thanks to anyone who can help out on what seems to be a challenging issue to research!

Nigel
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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Montana offers everything your looking for. Some other resorts that i personally went to that seemed nice were Copper Mountain,Co and Crested Butte, CO.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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Thanks, but where in Montana would you recommend?

We love the town of Crested Butte, but the skiing is a little limited -- they don't get as much snow as a lot of places and though we enjoy steep, much of Crested is just plain extreme. Copper is great skiing, but not a place to live.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I can't be specific on Montana, but i know they offer all of that. Maybe Big sky? Other than that the only experience i have with any other places would be Sunrise Ski Park Arizona. It has everything you want just not as good as skiing as your probably used too. It has so much to do outdoors, i think their are a couple of airports within 2hrs, and some nice towns near bye to the ski resort. It has 800acres and 60 ski trails so probably smaller than your used too. Also gets 260in of snow a year.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,536 posts, read 8,122,145 times
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I personally like Durango, and the ski mountain is not bad at all. I wouldn't like it there if I was a snowboarder though, as there are ocassional flat sections between the steeps. The plus to Durango is a fantastic climate (mild by mountain town standards) and also easy access to really steep stuff at Silverton and a short drive to Telluride.

Also in Colorado, I think anything along I-70 from Frisco/Dillon down to Idaho Springs would be good. That'd put you in the middle of a number of good mountains (Loveland, Winter Park, Breck, A-Basin, Keystone, Copper, etc...) and a short drive to Denver. Much colder than Durango, but there is a nice lake which would give you some good flatwater kayaking.

The best option for both skiing and flatwater kayaking, IMO, is in Washington. You can ski Stevens Pass, Crystal or Mt. Baker (and of course all the backcountry skiiling up there is mind-boggling) and then you can paddle the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, etc... Hiking is diverse, from high mountain/glacier/meadows to lush forests to coastal treks to high desert and rainforest environs. You could live anywhere from Bellingham down to Tacoma or east a bit into the mountains.

I have heard really good things about the Kalispell/Whitefish, MT area. Beautiful scenery, close to Glacier NP for world-class hiking, the Big Mountain for great, uncrowded skiing, and Flathead Lake for kayaking.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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What about something in Upstate NY? You might like areas that are growing like Glens Falls, Plattsburgh or Ballston Spa. All are close to the Adirondacks and Lake Placid and other good ski resorts in NY and Vermont. All are pretty affordable and offer something different. Plattsburgh is an hour south of Montreal. So, you can go there from time to time as well. Burlington VT is just across Lake Champlain too.

Glens Falls is a cheaper alternative to nearby Saratoga Springs. Same with Ballston Spa, which is even close to SS and closer to Albany. Glens Falls is also close to Lake George and the Adirondacks too.

Just a thought.......
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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Thanks MDP and CKH!

I've been to Durango briefly and liked it, but should check it out in more depth. It would be the height of optimism for me to think I'll do much skiing at Silverton in retirement, but I love Telluride (though about 2 hours away from Durango).

The State of Washington idea is intriguing, but got me thinking if I would think about that, why not some place near Whistler?

I am actually from upstate NY, and have skied extensively at Gore and Whiteface, which I enjoy a great deal. But for consistency of snow there can be no substitute for the west, and that will only become more and more true as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced.

Folks, please keep the ideas coming!
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:54 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,607,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelst.hubbins View Post
We have thought about places like Frisco, Colorado; Bend, Oregon; Durango, Colorado and Bozeman, Montana, but are more than open to other places. To give a sense of how serious we are about skiing, we are not quite convinced that Bend or Durango would offer sufficient access to great skiing (i.e., not sure that we would like Mt. Bachelor or Durango Mountain Resort as our home area -- we need to check them out in person, and I apologize if that sounds snobby, we just really love our skiing! ).

Many thanks to anyone who can help out on what seems to be a challenging issue to research!

Nigel
Mt. Bachelor is a great mountain to ski...Maybe not at the level of my favorite ski areas in Utah or Lake Tahoe, but it often has the best snow conditions in the Northwest. You have some above treeline skiing when the summit is open and you've got tons of great glade skiing--nice steady pitch most of the way around the cone, no real flat spots or long cat tracks to contend with. Bend is a good town as well---it's the closest thing in Oregon to Colorado. Just for reference I lived in Lake Tahoe for 3 years in addition to growing up skiing the Canadian Rockies, so I have an idea of the best in the West.

How big a town do you want? There are tons of great ski towns in Colorado that I love--places like Crested Butte or Silverton(which is short drive from Telluride, but has it's own wild experts only peak right outside town), but some of those are pretty small and remote. I love Durango, but the ski area isn't as good as a lot of Colorado, but you've also got Wolf Creek nearby, which has some of the best snow in the state. I've never really been that big a fan of Summit County(Breckenridge, Frisco, etc.) Nice towns, but a little too touristy with the weekend crowds. The advantage of the central Colorado Rockies is that you have a huge number of ski areas in close proximity---Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and than Snowmass, Vail, Aspen, etc... But personally I like the areas of the Wasatch(Snowbird, Alta, Brighton) or Tahoe(Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Northstar) although Tahoe is very expensive and Truckee, the best ski town is fairly overdeveloped these days.

Bozeman is a great western college town and Bridger Bowl is a fun mountain, if fairly small---more of a locals hangout, but the bowls at the top are great... Sandpoint, Idaho has a beautiful location right on Lake Pend Oreille and Schweitzer is a good ski area that remains uncrowded most of the time. Also you've got good skiing right over the border in British Columbia that is close enough for trip.

And as someone else mentioned, Bellingham, Washington is close to both the epic, wild and crazy Mt. Baker ski area and Puget Sound...Whistler isn't that far either, especially since they've fixed up the road from Vancouver for the Olympics---although the border crossing can be a long wait.

But let me know if you want any more information about any of these spots--I'm very familiar with Bend and most of the West Coast mountain areas.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Deezus,

Thanks for all of the helpful advice. It sounds like we should really try to check out Bend, which sounds like a pretty great place year round. I would admit to being a little bit reluctant to tie myself down to a single ski area, unless its really great (e.g., Jackson, Big Sky, Telluride), but maybe I should think a little more broadly. I guess Steamboat Springs could be considered as well -- seems like a nice town, and though other ski areas other than maybe Mary Jane/Winter Park are not really convenient, they are close enough to be occasionally visited. I too really like the town of Crested Butte, but the mountain skis a little small given how often a fair chunk of it is closed for insufficient snow.

I actually thought about some places outside of Telluride, which seems pretty much unaffordable, but I think they would seem a little too small and remote for us.

Utah has great skiing; I'm just not sure whether there are towns where an apostate like myself would be welcomed (other than maybe Park City, and that isn't really the ideal location).

Thanks again, and let me know if you have any other thoughts on this!

Nigel
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:42 PM
 
Location: S.W.PA
1,361 posts, read 2,507,906 times
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Don't forget Tahoe and Mammoth Mtn in Ca.
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