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Old 11-28-2012, 07:12 PM
 
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I believe I first heard this term on "The Weather Channel." I've heard it used in other venues, too.

The states which make it up, IMO, are Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
Excluded are Arizona and New Mexico which I consider to be the Pacific Southwest.
Excluded are Washington and Oregon, though technically their eastern portions, east of the Cascades, could be part of the Intermountain West.

I think parts of it are very scenic. However, I think the negatives outweigh the positives.

The negatives are the sparse population, the extreme independence and self-reliance that is expected, the many parched areas, the large swaths of overly conservative people, the coolness to transplants in places such as ID/WY/(especially) MT, and even the fact that studies indicate the suicide rates are the highest in the US as a result of the isolation.

The positives are the dry weather patterns, recreation, the reasonable cost of living, and the inclusion of metro Denver, its only large and more international urban core. I would not want to live in this region.

Is the Intermountain West a moniker that rings a bell with you? How do you define it? Are you inclined to like it or dislike it? Would you live there?
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Northridge, Los Angeles, CA
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INTERMOUNTAIN West to me literally refers to the area between the eastern edge of the Rockies and the western edge of the Pacific Mountain system (Sierras and Cascades for those who don't get it).

If using states, this would be NV, UT, CO, MT, ID. I've heard it used in conversation in real life..

The way I conceptualize the west is literally this:

California (really it's own subregion in the West)
Desert Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona)
Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington)
Intermountain West (the rest)

Of course, all three overlap and there are no exact boundaries, and each region has traits of the other sub-region.

My opinion of the Intermountain West: Probably the most isolated area in the lower 48 states. I'd love to explore more of this region, but haven't made my way out to Colorado. Idaho is EXCEEDINGLY beautiful (underrated), and Utah has landscape that looks like it should belong on Mars.

Nevada, for better and for worse, is literally Eastern California. Heck, up until 10 years ago, California license plates outnumbered Nevada plates in both cities, at least among my observations.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:34 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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To me out of the states identified as the Intermountain West there is Colorado, and then there is the rest. Colorado is one of my favorites states and it's really in a league of its own as it has the benifits of having a good amount of civilization mixed in with plenty of wide open spaces and natural superlatives. Denver has a very good quality of life as it big enough to suit most urban dwellers needs as long as they are not too high maintenance about city living, plenty of sunshine, and some of the world’s best mountain recreation in its backyard.

I think Montana/Wyoming/Idaho have the same DNA; very conservative, cold and windy, plenty of open desolate spaces and no real large cities except Boise which isn't very large. They all have their exceptional corners of beauty such as the Tetons/Yellowstone in WY, Northern Rockies/Glacier in MT, and the lakes of Northern ID, though most of Wyoming and Eastern Montana are very bleak and baron and pretty much highlight many of the negatives that the OP had stated.

Utah really is one of the most beautiful and remarkably scenic states in the country with five exceptional national parks and the kind of unusual scenery not found anywhere else on earth (yet perhaps on other planets). Utah skiing and outdoor recreation is phenomenal and Salt Lake City is growing into a major league metro area. It's the region's second city but will probably never catch up to Denver. Salt Lake City has very good infrastructure with an expansive light rail system and nice modern freeways. The city is just starting to shake some of its LDS stigma though it will take many years for most people to notice. If it weren’t for that stigma which honestly is a reality and the uber social conservative environment I'd consider living in Utah. However that's a reality there so I'll stick to NM where I don't have to be in a city where feel like I'm living on an island or in analogical terms West Berlin.

Nevada outside of Vegas I don't think of much other than say Area 51. New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah have some very beautiful desert and mountain scenery but Nevada not so much (save Tahoe which is mostly identified with California anyway).

Here in the Desert Southwest, I can identify with many of the characterstics of the Intermountain West as its just a few hours due north of me so I like a lot of it but mostly Colorado. One thing I appreciate about the Interior West is plenty of elbow room and a variety of different landscapes and scenery, having come from the Northeast I pretty much had enough of the rat race up there.

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 11-28-2012 at 09:59 PM..
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
To me out of the states identified as the Intermountain West there is Colorado, and then there is the rest. Colorado is one of my favorites states and it's really in a league of its own as it has the benifits of having a good amount of civilization mixed in with plenty of wide open spaces and natural superlatives. Denver has a very good quality of life as it big enough to suit most urban dwellers needs as long as they are not too high maintenance about city living, plenty of sunshine, and some of the world’s best mountain recreation in its backyard.
First, I should correct myself, after the post was no longer up for editing. When I said I would not want to live in this region, I'm probably not including Denver, but more so the rest. I've driven across I-70, and from west to east, and the dramatic scenery during the trek through the ski resorts makes one feel they're in the Dolomites and literally coasting out of the Eisenhower Tunnel to Denver is neat. I don't know what to make of Denver. They say that it is so diverse and full of transplants that it is used as a test market for that very reason. There also seems to be too much of an allegiance to its Old West customs, beer (Coors), and winter recreation (no longer interested in the money it takes to keep up with skiing and ski equipment). I prefer a more ethnic city, and I don't think Denver is that city, though some Front Range suburbs are beautiful.

However, aside from the anomaly of Denver and I-70 through the ski resorts, I can't think of anywhere in the Intermountain West I'd want to live, and that includes the scenic places in MT and ID, because of how homogeneous the people seem to me.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Detroit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
The negatives are the sparse population, the extreme independence and self-reliance that is expected, the many parched areas, the large swaths of overly conservative people, the coolness to transplants in places such as ID/WY/(especially) MT, and even the fact that studies indicate the suicide rates are the highest in the US as a result of the isolation.
Most of those are positives for me. Obviously minus the suicide rates
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Northridge, Los Angeles, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
Nevada outside of Vegas I don't think of much other than say Area 51. New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah have some very beautiful desert and mountain scenery but Nevada not so much (save Tahoe which is mostly identified with California anyway).
To be honest, the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is MUCH more scenic than the California side, which is crowded and a bit overdeveloped for its own good.

I think the Great Basin has some stark beauty. Next spring, I think I'll try to do the whole US 50 route across the state and check out how lonely it REALLY is.

Quote:
Here in the Desert Southwest, I can identify with many of the characterstics of the Intermountain West as its just a few hours due north of me so I like a lot of it but mostly Colorado. One thing I appreciate about the Interior West is plenty of elbow room and a variety of different landscapes and scenery, having come from the Northeast I pretty much had enough of the rat race up there.
Most of the West has that in common. Really, there aren't very many small rural towns dotting the landscape in the West like in areas east of the Mississippi. Geography makes human habitation difficult in most of this side of the country.

I personally love exploring the natural scenery, even though to my friends from the East Coast who've visited me and traveled throughout the region think its a bit off-putting.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lifeshadower View Post
To be honest, the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is MUCH more scenic than the California side, which is crowded and a bit overdeveloped for its own good.

I think the Great Basin has some stark beauty. Next spring, I think I'll try to do the whole US 50 route across the state and check out how lonely it REALLY is.
The Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is an oasis. The only place on the California side that is comparably beautiful is Emerald Bay.

Correct about the bleakness. Driving I-80 from 4 miles beyond the CA line, all the way to the UT state line, is desolate, and what went through my mind is how oppressive it must be to live anywhere along that route.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
I think Montana/Wyoming/Idaho have the same DNA; very conservative, cold and windy, plenty of open desolate spaces and no real large cities except Boise which isn't very large. They all have their exceptional corners of beauty such as the Tetons/Yellowstone in WY, Northern Rockies/Glacier in MT, and the lakes of Northern ID, though most of Wyoming and Eastern Montana are very bleak and baron and pretty much highlight many of the negatives that the OP had stated.

If you are lumping these three states together then you must add Utah as well. Utah is one of the most desolate states in the nation, the dryest state in terms of precipitation and has a lot of wind, very conservative even right in SLC compared to most other cities. Boise feels more liberal then SLC. Idaho is not nearly as desolate as the rest of the intermountain west or even the desolation of New Mexico because Idaho is the most forested state in the west except for the coastal states, some of the healthiest intact forests left in the Lower 48 are in Idaho. Colorado is "bleak" as well, the eastern side just like eastern Montana and Wyoming. I feel the most scenic states considered to be Intermountain West are Idaho and Utah.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Syringaloid View Post
If you are lumping these three states together then you must add Utah as well. Utah is one of the most desolate states in the nation, the dryest state in terms of precipitation and has a lot of wind, very conservative even right in SLC compared to most other cities. Boise feels more liberal then SLC. Idaho is not nearly as desolate as the rest of the intermountain west or even the desolation of New Mexico because Idaho is the most forested state in the west except for the coastal states, some of the healthiest intact forests left in the Lower 48 are in Idaho. Colorado is "bleak" as well, the eastern side just like eastern Montana and Wyoming. I feel the most scenic states considered to be Intermountain West are Idaho and Utah.
On scenic, I'll give you Idaho. I drove from Coeur d'Alene through Sandpoint (Sarah's home town ) and Bonner's Ferry up to the Canadian border, on to Banff Canada, and it was beautiful, except for the exchange at the border immigration booth, but parts, and I only mean parts, of Montana and Wyoming are beautiful, too. Note that southern Idaho, on approaching Utah, is not at all scenic.

Interesting to hear that Boise is more liberal than SLC, but there's better "separation" of church and state, so I can buy that.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
On scenic, I'll give you Idaho. I drove from Coeur d'Alene through Sandpoint (Sarah's home town ) and Bonner's Ferry up to the Canadian border, on to Banff Canada, and it was beautiful, except for the exchange at the border immigration booth, but parts, and I only mean parts, of Montana and Wyoming are beautiful, too. Note that southern Idaho, on approaching Utah, is not at all scenic.

Interesting to hear that Boise is more liberal than SLC, but there's better "separation" of church and state, so I can buy that.
Southern Idaho is such a large area and cannot be classifed in a blanket statement. There are many areas in Southern Idaho that are incredibly beautiful and other areas of more flat desert much like Northern Utah.
There are several approaches to Utah from Southern Idaho and many of those are very scenic especially in the Preston area.
Each state has their less then scenic areas. Northen Utah approaching Idaho is pretty mundane, between Brigham City and Snowville to the state line and then when you enter Idaho the scenery steps up.
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