Most people think of Hawaii as a wonderful place to live. But, if you’re a powder hound, if you love snowboarding, Hawaii is probably not on your short list of places to live. So, for the average person (someone who doesn’t have a couple of million to spend on a house in Park City or Aspen) who loves snowboarding, where is that wintry Garden of Eden located?
There’s a lot that goes into determining which location is best if you love snowboarding. Just trying to decide which ski resort is best is virtually impossible. Ski Magazine has a reader survey that lists the best resorts and they take into account eighteen different factors.
In our list of the top 5 places to live if you love snowboarding, cost of living calculations is a big factor. Crime, commute time, and numerous other things contribute to the quality of life and we’ve tried to include that as well.
The last big category that we’ve included in our guide to the top five places to live if you love snowboarding is job availability. While it’d be great to never work and be a true ski bum–most of them have a penchant for eating. So, a plethora of high-paying jobs (preferably with liberal sick leave policies around snow days) is a definite plus.
After years of research, testing and focus-group studies we put all of our snowboard location data through the same complex algorithm NASA uses for climate research and asked the question: where is the best place to live if you love snowboarding? The NASA climate super-computer’s response? Partly cloudy with a fifty percent chance of global warming.
So instead, we performed some voodoo science and came up with the following rankings:
Number One: Ogden, Utah
Locals might be surprised to find Ogden at the top of our list. Some native Utahans have a poor opinion of Ogden. This is mostly due to its previous reputation as a rough and tumbles railroad town. However, in the last several years Ogden has been attempting to redefine itself as the adrenalin capital of the world–a sort of mecca for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
With a reasonable cost of living, three ski resorts within about thirty minutes (at least one of which, Snowbasin, is among the top thirty resorts in the western United States), a low cost of living, decent employment opportunities, and several nice bedroom communities nearby, Ogden is our number one location to live in if you love snowboarding.
Number Two: Salt Lake City, Utah
Okay, we may be splitting hairs by differentiating between Ogden and Salt Lake City since they’re only forty miles apart. However, Utah has so many good ski resorts that, if you live in Salt Lake, you’ll most likely be going to a completely different set of ski resorts. Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude are all top-tier ski resorts.
Additionally, you’ve got all of Park City’s resorts a mere thirty minutes away. Ironically, there are only three resorts left in the United States that ban snowboarders and two of them (Alta and Deer Valley) are near Salt Lake City. This, and the fact that Salt Lake City has a higher cost of living (though still lower than average) were enough to drop it to number two on our list of places to live if you love snowboarding.
Number Three: Reno, Nevada
When we began this list of top locations for people who love snowboarding we referred to these locations as wintry Gardens of Eden. No one has ever referred to Reno as any sort of Garden of Eden-until now. We have bravely gone where no man has gone before. Many of the Tahoe-area ski resorts (Northstar, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, etc.) are about an hour from Reno.
While jobs are not quite as plentiful as in Salt Lake, the cost of living is good and the ski resorts are excellent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about having a super-sized V8-powered snow-blower as you do in Utah. Less snow-shoveling means more ripping on the slopes-and Tahoe has no shortage of good snow to shred.
Number Four: Denver, Colorado
No self-respecting list of top snowboarding locations can exclude Colorado. Four of the top ten resorts in Ski Magazine’s reader resort survey are in Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Snowmass, and Steamboat). Denver has a plethora of job opportunities but the cost of living is higher and the resorts are further away. If you live on the eastern side of Denver, Vail can be a two-hour jaunt, or longer if traffic is bad. These two were enough to drop Denver to fourth place.
Number Five: Rutland, Vermont
If you want to snowboard but find the large mountains of the West intimidating. Or, if you want to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, or if you’re a card-carrying member of ski bums (Vermont is one of the few states that support gay marriage)-Rutland Vermont is the place for you. Unfortunately, jobs are relatively scarce and, compared to the western resorts, the snow and resort size are sub-par. However, the cost of living is below average and, if you want to stay on the East coast, five of the top ten eastern ski resorts (Smuggler’s Notch, Stowe, Killington, Stratton, and Okemo) are in Vermont.
Conclusion of the top five places to live if you love snowboarding
So, now you’ve got a short list of places to live if you love snowboarding. Time to hit the job boards and start packing up the utensils. As for me-I already living here-so, I’ll see you on the slopes.