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Old 02-02-2009, 02:59 PM
50 posts, read 108,625 times
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We are a semi retired couple who have been focusing on the western side of Colorado Springs and South of that area. We don't want to live in the plains. We need a little property of 5 or more acres for our horses.
We also understand that there are more job opportunities on the eastern side of the mountains.

Some folks have mentioned that the western region has more available horse properties and is prettier than the eastern side. Any thoughts on this?

Also, we've heard that the weather tends to be more severe on the western side and that smoke and smog tend to build up around the Grand Junction area??

We are not big city people so having Denver nearby isn't an advantage. Aside from the job market availability are there any other real advantages to living in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo areas?
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:02 PM
8,317 posts, read 27,134,950 times
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Where to start? I've lived on both sides of the state in numerous locales over the years. The economy, climate, and sociology of the western parts of Colorado is very much different than that of the Front Range cities.

First, the climate (go Weatherbase for climatic averages). The following are some generalizations. East or West Slope--elevation makes big differences in climate--the higher the elevation, the more precipitation and the cooler the overall temperatures. Growing seasons that can be as long as 160-180 days at 5,000 feet may be a few as 30 or less at 9,000 feet. Lower elevation areas (below 7,000-8,000 feet elevation) tend to have have drier winters and wetter summers on the Eastern Slope compared to the Western Slope. The higher elevation areas of the Western Slope tend to get more snow in winter than similar locales on the Eastern Slope, while summer precipitation tends to be more on the Eastern Slope areas in the northern part of the state. Southern and southwestern Colorado areas tend to get about the same precipitation in summer--and maybe more--than Eastern Slope areas. Severe thunderstorms are quite common on the Eastern Slope during summer--some with severe hail. Severe thunderstorms are much less common on the Western Slope. The Eastern Slope tends to get far more wind than Western Slope areas--including "Chinook" warming winds in winter that can moderate temperatures. The Western Slope is less windy--so cold air tends to settle in valleys in winter and stay there. This also creates air inversions that can cause air pollution issues in those areas. All of Colorado's lower elevation areas are considered arid to semi-arid. Forage on unirrigated land for livestock is very limited in all such areas--especially on the Western Slope. One cow-calf unit (pretty close to one horse) can take as many as 80 acres or more to graze in some areas, unless supplemental fed. Even if on irrigated land, a horse on five acres will require extensive supplemental feeding--unlike the Midwest, South, and East, where horses can actually survive without supplemental feeding on small acreages.

Second, the economy. Colorado's economic center are the cities of the Front Range. On the Western Slope, energy development, recreation, retirement, and government employment are the major economic activities. The Western Slope is generally an exceedingly difficult place to make a living, unless a number of the following are true:

- You bring a ton of money with you.
- You are not reliant on the local economy for an income.
- You bought your home years ago, before real estate prices inflated.
- You have one of the relatively few stable, decent-paying jobs (usually with government).

Third, sociology and other. Colorado's Front Range cities are the usual amorphous, sprawled suburban blobs--sociologically pretty much like metro areas everywhere. The Western Slope (and the rural parts of mountainous Colorado on the Eastern Slope) can be pretty much divided into two groups. There is the resort areas--cartoon-like playgrounds for people generally with more money than sense. Not especially sociologically balanced or healthy, with a very small middle class and most residents either some version of the idle rich served a minimum-wage underclass of the worker bees--many immigrants (legal or otherwise). The remainder of the Western Slope towns are pretty much agricultural/mining/ranching communities populated by blue-collar type folks. The resorts are Lexus, the rest--pickup trucks. Outside of the resorts in rural Colorado, things like fancy shopping, specialized health care, high-end restaurants, etc. are pretty rare. All of that said, nothing has kept real estate from being overpriced in the whole region--inflated by equity locusts and trustifarians trying to live the dream of "paradise." With the current economic meltdown, however, that may be changing.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:39 AM
50 posts, read 108,625 times
Reputation: 43
All good information which we will consider in making our decision. The smart thing to do would probably be to rent for a while and go from there. Of course, having four horses makes finding a place a little difficult and our preference is not to board if possible.

Thank you Jazzlover.
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