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Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weather

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Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weather

Postby oldschool » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:05 pm

So I've been planning to post this for a few weeks now and may as well since I'm looking out the window at typical late March or early April weather and not liking how this is looking for the next few years of my skiing. So here's the deal - my wife and I are thinking for various reasons about retiring from our current jobs when we hit 60. Our current house is way larger than we would need if we decided to stay here and so we are thinking at that point we will likely move and downsize our home, rolling any funds out of that into our retirement/future meager survival. So there will be a choice then - stick around here or relocate to someplace we can see ourselves living for at least 20 more years. The point of moving for me would be to get out of the city - Syracuse is better than many larger cities in that there is decent recreation in and around town and zero traffic issues compared to more major metropolitan areas. I'd like to live in a more rural area or maybe a small ski town. It would be nice to be someplace where, in the period starting 8 years from now and for another decade or two, the snow would be more reliable (meaning as reliable as it can be then) and the tele skiing for me would be a 30 min drive and not a 3 hour drive each way.

So if you could live anywhere and your criteria was a nice rural or small town area that is 30 min. or so (hell, maybe even 45) from the closest ski area AND close enough to occasionally hit two or three others within an hour's drive or two plus some decent backcountry close-by where would you live? My wife and I are looking out toward making some job changes then so we can hike, ski, canoe and do everything else that we've been a bit busy with work to do more of over the past several years. Decent fly fishing someplace nearby would be a plus, but our family cabin in PA has that part largely sorted for me.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby lowangle al » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:53 pm

Hi Oldschool, I'm gonna throw this out there even though it doesn't match your criteria. Anchorage, what it lacks in small town rural feel it makes up for in wildness, adventure and a more varied and robust job market than a small town. Within the the last week there have been numerous moose in my yard, there are fresh lynx tracks from last night out there, we got woke up earlier this week by two owls hooting it up on our roof and there are both black and brown bears around every summer.

The skiing opportunities are awesome. There are two major xc areas with lit trails in town in addition to other bike baths, multi use trails a small downhill resort, you can even join the ski jumping club or try out curling, and that's just what's in town. Anchorage is surrounded on three sides by 500,000 acre Chugach State Park. From the many trail heads you can access any type terrain you like, from trails to meadow skipping to the extreme. There is also a ski area in the park, Alpenglow, it's a non profit owned by the Nordic ski club. It's only open on weekends so when you get snow during the week it makes for fantastic powder days, and I think it's only 35 bucks for a ticket.

Alyeska Resort is less than an hour drive, and the popular bc areas of Turnagain Pass is an hour and Hatcher Pass is 1.5 hours. Paddling opportunities also abound. Anchorage has many lakes right in town that make for interesting paddling and wildlife watching. I believe it is the only major city in North America that has a population of nesting loons. You can paddle Eagle River, also in town, which is mostly class 1 and 2 with one class 4 rapid. My favorite paddling destination is in the kenai National Wildlife Refuge which is anywhere from a 2 to 4 hour drive. Not too far to go for a chance to get a 30 inch rainbow or fill your freezer with salmon. If you are into the ocean we have that too.

If I were in your position I would consider coming up here for at least the remaining years that I had to work. When I retire and have more free time I think I'll be happy back East in Pa., being able to drive north and chase the snow or explore the great canoeing in the Northeast and Canada. A little drive south wouldn't be too bad in the winter either. BTW where is you cabin in Pa. maybe we're neighbors?
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby RobRox » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:58 pm

Here is a vote for Rangely, Maine. Even if Saddleback stays NELSAP, it's there and The Loaf is just beyond. Paddle sports? Nailed: steep creeks, fastwater, big water and flatwater. Hiking the Bigs.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby flyingcow » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:14 am

Lake Placid/Saranac Lake

It's got everything.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby Biff » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:50 am

RobRox wrote:Here is a vote for Rangely, Maine. Even if Saddleback stays NELSAP, it's there and The Loaf is just beyond. Paddle sports? Nailed: steep creeks, fastwater, big water and flatwater. Hiking the Bigs.



I bet the climbing and skiing at Saddleback has been awesome the last few years.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby benny » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:40 am

Rangely is one of the first places I thought of. It's probably a very affordable area as well, particularly with the ski hill closed. I seem to recall plans for a reopening.
Last edited by benny on Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby MikeK » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:44 am

flyingcow wrote:Lake Placid/Saranac Lake

It's got everything.


I'd vote for SL even though they don't get a ton of snow.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby Biff » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:35 am

I guess, re-reading your post, that if I really wanted great skiing and dependable snow I would consider CO or UT. I mean, nothing is all that dependable these days but even bad snow years in those two states are good ones for us here in the east. I used to stay with some friends in Ogden, UT and ski Powder Mountain. That was a decent town. If I was going to stay here in the east and was looking for close, great skiing I might consider up Jay Peak way. You can always count on some good powder days there. But then Rangley really is a beautiful area. I'm just not how sure the snow is going to be for us here in Maine the way things are looking.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby RobRox » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:42 am

benny wrote:... I seem to recall plans for a reopening.
The Saddleback sale to the Majella Group has been delayed. I have opinions as to why there are delays, but the Berrys (current owners) are not the problem. There is a rumor that the purchase agreement expires in June.

The Saddleback Mountain Foundation (locals and long-time Saddlebackers) offer was displaced by the Majella offer. The SMF is still active, but not actively pursuing financing....but I bet they will once the Berrys are done with Majella's problems.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby lowangle al » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:47 am

When I was making the decision to relocate 30 years ago Lake Placid was high on my list, but I didn't see enough economic opportunity there. Things may have changed back there and Oldschools financial needs may be different than what mine were as a young guy with a family.

Our winters may not be the same as they were in Anchorage but even when it is crappy there are people still skiing the groomed xc trails in town and bc skiing within an hours drive.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby MikeK » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:32 pm

Also, I'm just agreeing with what others said, but if I were to think on my own... if one wants the best snow in NY, park your a$$ right on the western edge of the Adirondacks.

Maybe not the coolest place to live, but Boonville area is pretty central to decent skiing and snow. I'm destined to spend my next 20 years (at least) in NY due to my wife's retirement, so if and when I buy a second piece of land, it will be in that area. It's close enough to good XC and DH skiing and they actually get the most snow of anywhere in the state. There is better terrain elsewhere, but the snow is less reliable. I'd rather make the drive to Gore or WF from there and spend the majority of my skiing on the surrounding areas (BREIA, Snow Ridge, McCauley, Haderondah Wilderness and Black River WF) rather than park out in North Creek and ski man made waiting for it to snow. That area of the Adirondacks is the least snowy.

Land is pretty cheap and you can find pretty good places to build a camp right inside the park or just outside. Just outside the blue line is more ideal because you don't need to deal with APA approvals.

Anyway, after much research, this is what I have settled on. Just waiting for the cash to show up in my bank account before I start the process :wink:
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby Dirk » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:50 pm

If you want to stay in the northeast, how about Morrissville, Vermont? Stowe's low-rent next door neighbor. If snowpack and length of the season is your number one priority, then somewhere in the Cascades or on the Olympic peninsula.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby wallag » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:31 pm

As a recent immigrant to the PNW, I second Dirk's suggestion. Long and reliable winters, even if it isn't "the greatest snow on earth"™. The Seattle area is expensive, but housing on the east side of the Cascades is cheap and more sunshine, too. Look into Leavenworth: there's a small ski hill right in town, 45 min to the big resort at Stevens Pass, lots of backcountry options. Summertime hiking, mountain biking, and paddling are opportunities excellent. Still close enough to the city for day trips to shopping, healthcare, major airport, etc.
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby flyingcow » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:17 pm

Dirk wrote:If you want to stay in the northeast, how about Morrissville, Vermont? Stowe's low-rent next door neighbor. If snowpack and length of the season is your number one priority, then somewhere in the Cascades or on the Olympic peninsula.


Don't tell them about that... I'm still saving up for my down payment!
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Re: Another thread to try to stay distracted from the weathe

Postby oldschool » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:42 pm

Thanks for all the great suggestions - I was going to add a comment about any places out west, but this was great. I think my ideal place is somewhere in the eastern ADKs or VT. Like I said, I'd like to be close enough to a ski area to put in some part time hours there and be able to to visit a few times per week if I wanted on a season pass - a luxury that I've never been able to experience or just did not make sense here (the local spots south of Syracuse are fine for kid ski school stuff but too many lines and too busy on weekends for what the skiing is for my taste). Because of this, Lake Placid, though cool, does not quite fit the bill - I like the vibe of middle VT area around Stowe and Morrisville is a great suggestion. I was thinking Jay too since they maybe get a little more precip in that area. The other tricky thing and consideration for all of it is that my folks live in PA while my wife's family is in CA. So we travel some for visiting but I expect we may be getting to some trickier times a decade from now health-wise for both our parents, so being at least a long car drive from one is helpful. To answer lowangle's question, our cabin is a bit north of Williamsport in the Loyalsock Creek watershed. Nice area for hiking, very good flyfishing, cycling too. Two years ago I bought a VW Vanagon Westfalia for the purpose of doing more trips up to the ADKs for hiking and half weekends - that will still be part of the retirement equation for taking trips, but I really want to be someplace with quality tele skiing not far out my backdoor. Syracuse has been decent for snow and I should not complain much, but have to start to plan a bit more. Thanks again everybody -
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