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Affordable ski towns

NWSkiGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Sorry about your baby. :( Interesting perception of North Bend. It started life as a logging town but the knock on it these days is how it's been gentrified/developed with the average home price around $1 million. But I haven't poked around town in years; I only ever get off the interstate at that westernmost exit and head out the Middle Fork Road.
Aw, thanks! We are hoping she will be all better in a month or two.

I once went to a group run in North Bend, and I ordered eggs and sausage for breakfast at a diner afterwards. The sausage tasted strange/not good and they said it was deer! lol

I checked out some new apartments there last week, and they were very nice but the city just was not my vibe...
 

sbf2023

Certified Ski Diva
The town of Elko, NV (in North-central NV) has a community ski hill. However, it's remote, and was recently in the news for a plague of insects!

If open to East coast, New Hampshire does not tax earned income, only dividends and interest, and has NO sales tax. And there are loads of ski areas large and small there.
This is a good idea. NH or ME would be less expensive than where she's coming from.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
I'm aware of the challenges
I'd already looked into it to a degree. We have friends there and work in qualified professions. Plus my SOs company has an office in Canada. That aside I had success in getting my SO to move to the sticks in CT but I think I'd be hard pressed to get him to leave the country.

I love Calgary and the ski areas there.

I also love the pacific northwest. I've never been, looks stunning. Definitely want to visit.
That's amazing that it could be an option. Many Americans are not aware of just how difficult it is for an American to move to Canada.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
Young educated Americans can move to Canada fairly easily. My daughter is now a permanent resident and expects to become a citizen within the next couple years. She jokes that once she's a citizen she could sponsor us if we want.
What's her profession? I was under the impression that they were only allowing certain professions (IE, need) in.
 

brooksnow

Angel Diva
@geargrrl, I don't know all the details. She moved to Canada in fall 2019 under a general work visa available to Americans under 30. It was a lottery but at least then there were plenty of spots available. She didn't have to already have a job lined up; she ended up working in administration/management unrelated to her degree. Covid made the process to stay more complicated than it otherwise would have been. The permanent residency was based on a point system that considers many factors including age and profession.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
@geargrrl, I don't know all the details. She moved to Canada in fall 2019 under a general work visa available to Americans under 30. It was a lottery but at least then there were plenty of spots available. She didn't have to already have a job lined up; she ended up working in administration/management unrelated to her degree. Covid made the process to stay more complicated than it otherwise would have been. The permanent residency was based on a point system that considers many factors including age and profession.
Permanent residency IS still based on a point system. My friend who is a nurse anesthiologist is eligible. His wife, a professional mountain biker, is still annoyed he didn't want to look up there.
 
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ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Outside Magazine recently published its list of the 7 most affordable mountain towns in the US. Here's what they have to say:

7 of the Most Affordable Mountain Towns in America​

Mountain living is sweet—but it often comes with a hefty price tag. These towns are a little easier on the wallet.​

Heather Hansman Dec 15, 2023

La Grande, Oregon​

Population: 13,158
Median home price (*all prices listed according to Zillow): $264,539
When you’re passing through on I-84, La Grande looks like just another eastern Oregon ag town. But the wild and scenic Grand Ronde River drops out of the Blue Mountains to the northeast, and Anthony Lakes Ski Area, which claims to have the driest powder in the state, is 45 miles southwest. La Grande is home to Eastern Oregon University, and it has a thriving local art scene, supported in part by the nonprofit Art Center East. Road biking abounds, and there’s a growing network of mountain-biking trails, including those in the Mount Emily Recreation Area.

Rangeley, Maine​

The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley
The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley (Photo: Andy Gagne)
Population: 1,045
Median home price: $396,890
Saddleback Ski Area reopened in 2020, after five years of closure due to tumultuous ownership, and the change reinvigorated the outdoor scene in northern Maine. Fishermen have been pulling trophy fish out of the streams and small ponds around Rangeley since the 1860s, moose and loons abound, and the Appalachian Trail is nearby. There’s been a recent state-sponsored push for sustainable forestry, so the town’s economy isn’t tied solely to seasonal recreation.

Thomas and Davis, West Virginia​

The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis
The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis (Photo: Harrison Shull/Getty)
Population: 1,218
Median home price: $95,243

In the Bible, Canaan is the promised land, and the Canaan Valley of West Virginia, home to the neighboring towns of David and Thomas, might be just that. Nearly 70 percent of the valley is encompassed by the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the parts that aren’t protected offer more than 100 miles of bike trails, three ski areas, rivers, an excellent nordic center with over 15 miles of trails, and possibly the best bluegrass bar in the country, the Purple Fiddle in downtown Thomas.

Reno, Nevada​

Population: 268,815
Median home price: $541,423
Reno hasn’t exactly been affordable for a while. Property values have been rising—and outdoor opportunities increasing—since 2012, with an influx of Californians. But if you want to live in a mountain city instead of a mountain town, the Biggest Little City in the World is your best bet. The tech- and pandemic-induced boom is slowing, and prices are cooling off. Reno has all the upside of a lot of smaller mountain burgs, like a whitewater park and the nearby ski resorts of Lake Tahoe, with the amenities of a larger city.

Anaconda, Montana​

Downtown Anaconda
Downtown Anaconda (Photo: Lightguard/iStock/Getty)
Population: 9,491
Median home price: $229,488
Anaconda was a copper-mining community for more than a century until the early 1980s; its still standing smelter stack, just to the south and taller than the Washington Monument, is a testament to that longtime industry. But the town is capitalizing on recreation in the greater area to distance itself from its extractive past. And there’s a lot to work with, like the 2,200-acre Discovery Ski Area, to the west; the nearby Continental Divide Trail; and fishing in the Big Hole River, to the south. The town itself is home to a new wine store and bike shop, not to mention a growing number of young families.

Boone, North Carolina​

A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone.
A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone. (Photo: Tommy Penick/Cavan)
Population: 18,036
Median home price: $446,781
Pick your season and Boone, the biggest town in the North Carolina high country, will have something for you. Spring runoff on the New and Watuga Rivers; arguably the best skiing in the Southeast, with three resorts within 45 minutes; and a range of multi-season mountain-biking trails, including those at Rocky Knob Bike Park. Bonus: it doesn’t have the crowds or the price tag of other outdoor meccas in the region, like Asheville.

Saranac Lake, New York​

Population: 4,825
Median home price: $275,022
There are a handful of Adirondack communities that could be considered dream towns, but Saranac Lake rises to the top for its charm and trail access, notably a network that feeds into six mountains surrounding the lake. In the summer, the water is full of boats, and in the winter you can ski Mount Pisgah or take a short drive to Whiteface. Saranac Lake is blissfully mellow, and you’re only ten minutes from Lake Placid if you want a splashier mountain town with more going on.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My daughter is renewing her desire to move to Canada. Maybe she can go to college there. Maybe I'll go with!
 

Christy

Angel Diva
My daughter is renewing her desire to move to Canada. Maybe she can go to college there. Maybe I'll go with!
One of my teen neighbors started at UBC this year and apparently there was nothing tricky about this.

@geargrrl if being an hour from Anthony Lakes means La Grande is a mountain town, well hey maybe Seattle is one too--Snoqualmie Pass is only an hour after all.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One of my teen neighbors started at UBC this year and apparently there was nothing tricky about this.

@geargrrl if being an hour from Anthony Lakes means La Grande is a mountain town, well hey maybe Seattle is one too--Snoqualmie Pass is only an hour after all.
Yeah, I don't think Canada would be quick to turn away honors students who want to study genetics. UBC would put her fairly close to family in Seattle.
 

mustski

Angel Diva
As a Canadian who chooses to remain in California (of all places) and Nevada, I would point out that very few areas in Canada would qualify as affordable living. You have to look beyond the cost of rent. I can't say anymore without getting political.

ETA. If you are wiling to lean French, Quebec province is still more affordable than most.
 

tjm235

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm aware of the challenges
I'd already looked into it to a degree. We have friends there and work in qualified professions. Plus my SOs company has an office in Canada. That aside I had success in getting my SO to move to the sticks in CT but I think I'd be hard pressed to get him to leave the country.

I love Calgary and the ski areas there.
If your SO company has an office here it's actually pretty easy to get a work permit. Look up the CUSMA (previously NAFTA) intra-company transfer program. That's how I came here almost 8 years ago (live in Banff) and now I'm a citizen. That permit doesn't require an LMIA and after one year it's very easy to have enough points to get invited to apply for permanent residency.

However keep in mind there are lots of challenges and downsides to moving that are not apparent. For example US credit doesn't follow you here even if it's stellar, so this presents lots of basic challenges for the first few years... despite a 6 figure income, zero debt, and good US credit, I could only get a $1000 credit card limit when I moved here because you start with zero credit. You also won't be able to get a mortgage until you have PR. And if you have a car loan in the US, it's sometimes not possible to export the vehicle so you can register in your province. I could write a book on the things I wish I knew before moving.
 

horsepowered

Certified Ski Diva
Outside Magazine recently published its list of the 7 most affordable mountain towns in the US. Here's what they have to say:

7 of the Most Affordable Mountain Towns in America​

Mountain living is sweet—but it often comes with a hefty price tag. These towns are a little easier on the wallet.​

Heather Hansman Dec 15, 2023

La Grande, Oregon​

Population: 13,158
Median home price (*all prices listed according to Zillow): $264,539
When you’re passing through on I-84, La Grande looks like just another eastern Oregon ag town. But the wild and scenic Grand Ronde River drops out of the Blue Mountains to the northeast, and Anthony Lakes Ski Area, which claims to have the driest powder in the state, is 45 miles southwest. La Grande is home to Eastern Oregon University, and it has a thriving local art scene, supported in part by the nonprofit Art Center East. Road biking abounds, and there’s a growing network of mountain-biking trails, including those in the Mount Emily Recreation Area.

Rangeley, Maine​

The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley
The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley (Photo: Andy Gagne)
Population: 1,045
Median home price: $396,890
Saddleback Ski Area reopened in 2020, after five years of closure due to tumultuous ownership, and the change reinvigorated the outdoor scene in northern Maine. Fishermen have been pulling trophy fish out of the streams and small ponds around Rangeley since the 1860s, moose and loons abound, and the Appalachian Trail is nearby. There’s been a recent state-sponsored push for sustainable forestry, so the town’s economy isn’t tied solely to seasonal recreation.

Thomas and Davis, West Virginia​

The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis
The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis (Photo: Harrison Shull/Getty)
Population: 1,218
Median home price: $95,243

In the Bible, Canaan is the promised land, and the Canaan Valley of West Virginia, home to the neighboring towns of David and Thomas, might be just that. Nearly 70 percent of the valley is encompassed by the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the parts that aren’t protected offer more than 100 miles of bike trails, three ski areas, rivers, an excellent nordic center with over 15 miles of trails, and possibly the best bluegrass bar in the country, the Purple Fiddle in downtown Thomas.

Reno, Nevada​

Population: 268,815
Median home price: $541,423
Reno hasn’t exactly been affordable for a while. Property values have been rising—and outdoor opportunities increasing—since 2012, with an influx of Californians. But if you want to live in a mountain city instead of a mountain town, the Biggest Little City in the World is your best bet. The tech- and pandemic-induced boom is slowing, and prices are cooling off. Reno has all the upside of a lot of smaller mountain burgs, like a whitewater park and the nearby ski resorts of Lake Tahoe, with the amenities of a larger city.

Anaconda, Montana​

Downtown Anaconda
Downtown Anaconda (Photo: Lightguard/iStock/Getty)
Population: 9,491
Median home price: $229,488
Anaconda was a copper-mining community for more than a century until the early 1980s; its still standing smelter stack, just to the south and taller than the Washington Monument, is a testament to that longtime industry. But the town is capitalizing on recreation in the greater area to distance itself from its extractive past. And there’s a lot to work with, like the 2,200-acre Discovery Ski Area, to the west; the nearby Continental Divide Trail; and fishing in the Big Hole River, to the south. The town itself is home to a new wine store and bike shop, not to mention a growing number of young families.

Boone, North Carolina​

A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone.
A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone. (Photo: Tommy Penick/Cavan)
Population: 18,036
Median home price: $446,781
Pick your season and Boone, the biggest town in the North Carolina high country, will have something for you. Spring runoff on the New and Watuga Rivers; arguably the best skiing in the Southeast, with three resorts within 45 minutes; and a range of multi-season mountain-biking trails, including those at Rocky Knob Bike Park. Bonus: it doesn’t have the crowds or the price tag of other outdoor meccas in the region, like Asheville.

Saranac Lake, New York​

Population: 4,825
Median home price: $275,022
There are a handful of Adirondack communities that could be considered dream towns, but Saranac Lake rises to the top for its charm and trail access, notably a network that feeds into six mountains surrounding the lake. In the summer, the water is full of boats, and in the winter you can ski Mount Pisgah or take a short drive to Whiteface. Saranac Lake is blissfully mellow, and you’re only ten minutes from Lake Placid if you want a splashier mountain town with more going on.
As someone looking for east coast options, I'm now adding some of these to my list of potential locations for a winter condo/home.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Outside Magazine recently published its list of the 7 most affordable mountain towns in the US. Here's what they have to say:

7 of the Most Affordable Mountain Towns in America​

Interesting that Davis/Thomas, WV and Boone, NC are on the list. Definitely 4-season mountain towns. Hard for me to think of them as "ski towns" in comparison to places like Bend, Steamboat Springs, Aspen, or Stowe though. The ski season is from mid-Dec to mid-Mar, assuming Mother Nature cooperates. While it does snow a bit, 100% snowmaking on the cut trails is what has allowed the ski resorts to stay in business for 50+ years near Boone. Not sure when Canaan Valley and Timberline opened for skiing.

Boone is a college town and has been a tourist destination for a century or more. Appalachian is a great place to learn and has night skiing that is popular with the college students. It's much smaller than Sugar or Beech.

The skiing near Davis in WV is at Canaan Valley or Timberline, plus cross-county at White Grass (in between CV and Tline). Snowshoe is an Alterra resort on Ikon that's about an hour away.

CV is owned/operated by WV State Parks. Terrain can be fun but snowmaking and lift infrastructure is old.

Timberline was bought by the Perfect family of Perfect North (Indiana) several years ago. It's one of the best independent ski resorts in the region. The new high-speed 6-pack to the top and top-notch snowmaking installed after the change in ownership serves the varied terrain very well. The towns are tiny. Davis and Thomas combined have less than 1500 residents. For comparison, Bethel in Maine has about 2500 residents. Stowe has under 1000 residents, but the larger towns of Montpelier and Burlington are under an hour away.

Snowshoe has a Snowshoe-only season pass available. My sense is that most people who get it live 4+ hours drive away.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
If your SO company has an office here it's actually pretty easy to get a work permit. Look up the CUSMA (previously NAFTA) intra-company transfer program. That's how I came here almost 8 years ago (live in Banff) and now I'm a citizen. That permit doesn't require an LMIA and after one year it's very easy to have enough points to get invited to apply for permanent residency.

However keep in mind there are lots of challenges and downsides to moving that are not apparent. For example US credit doesn't follow you here even if it's stellar, so this presents lots of basic challenges for the first few years... despite a 6 figure income, zero debt, and good US credit, I could only get a $1000 credit card limit when I moved here because you start with zero credit. You also won't be able to get a mortgage until you have PR. And if you have a car loan in the US, it's sometimes not possible to export the vehicle so you can register in your province. I could write a book on the things I wish I knew before moving.
Very enlightening. My best friend's hub was desperately wanting to retire to Nelson and dug deeply into the program. They settled on McCall, ID instead. It doesn't help that his cousin lived part time in Rossland, overstayed the rules and has been kicked out/banned from re-entry.
 

NWSkiGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Outside Magazine recently published its list of the 7 most affordable mountain towns in the US. Here's what they have to say:

7 of the Most Affordable Mountain Towns in America​

Mountain living is sweet—but it often comes with a hefty price tag. These towns are a little easier on the wallet.​

Heather Hansman Dec 15, 2023

La Grande, Oregon​

Population: 13,158
Median home price (*all prices listed according to Zillow): $264,539
When you’re passing through on I-84, La Grande looks like just another eastern Oregon ag town. But the wild and scenic Grand Ronde River drops out of the Blue Mountains to the northeast, and Anthony Lakes Ski Area, which claims to have the driest powder in the state, is 45 miles southwest. La Grande is home to Eastern Oregon University, and it has a thriving local art scene, supported in part by the nonprofit Art Center East. Road biking abounds, and there’s a growing network of mountain-biking trails, including those in the Mount Emily Recreation Area.

Rangeley, Maine​

The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley
The Saddleback February Festival in Rangeley (Photo: Andy Gagne)
Population: 1,045
Median home price: $396,890
Saddleback Ski Area reopened in 2020, after five years of closure due to tumultuous ownership, and the change reinvigorated the outdoor scene in northern Maine. Fishermen have been pulling trophy fish out of the streams and small ponds around Rangeley since the 1860s, moose and loons abound, and the Appalachian Trail is nearby. There’s been a recent state-sponsored push for sustainable forestry, so the town’s economy isn’t tied solely to seasonal recreation.

Thomas and Davis, West Virginia​

The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis
The Timberline Ski Resort in Canaan Valley, near Davis (Photo: Harrison Shull/Getty)
Population: 1,218
Median home price: $95,243

In the Bible, Canaan is the promised land, and the Canaan Valley of West Virginia, home to the neighboring towns of David and Thomas, might be just that. Nearly 70 percent of the valley is encompassed by the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the parts that aren’t protected offer more than 100 miles of bike trails, three ski areas, rivers, an excellent nordic center with over 15 miles of trails, and possibly the best bluegrass bar in the country, the Purple Fiddle in downtown Thomas.

Reno, Nevada​

Population: 268,815
Median home price: $541,423
Reno hasn’t exactly been affordable for a while. Property values have been rising—and outdoor opportunities increasing—since 2012, with an influx of Californians. But if you want to live in a mountain city instead of a mountain town, the Biggest Little City in the World is your best bet. The tech- and pandemic-induced boom is slowing, and prices are cooling off. Reno has all the upside of a lot of smaller mountain burgs, like a whitewater park and the nearby ski resorts of Lake Tahoe, with the amenities of a larger city.

Anaconda, Montana​

Downtown Anaconda
Downtown Anaconda (Photo: Lightguard/iStock/Getty)
Population: 9,491
Median home price: $229,488
Anaconda was a copper-mining community for more than a century until the early 1980s; its still standing smelter stack, just to the south and taller than the Washington Monument, is a testament to that longtime industry. But the town is capitalizing on recreation in the greater area to distance itself from its extractive past. And there’s a lot to work with, like the 2,200-acre Discovery Ski Area, to the west; the nearby Continental Divide Trail; and fishing in the Big Hole River, to the south. The town itself is home to a new wine store and bike shop, not to mention a growing number of young families.

Boone, North Carolina​

A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone.
A kayaker shoots the falls in Pisgah National Forest, near Boone. (Photo: Tommy Penick/Cavan)
Population: 18,036
Median home price: $446,781
Pick your season and Boone, the biggest town in the North Carolina high country, will have something for you. Spring runoff on the New and Watuga Rivers; arguably the best skiing in the Southeast, with three resorts within 45 minutes; and a range of multi-season mountain-biking trails, including those at Rocky Knob Bike Park. Bonus: it doesn’t have the crowds or the price tag of other outdoor meccas in the region, like Asheville.

Saranac Lake, New York​

Population: 4,825
Median home price: $275,022
There are a handful of Adirondack communities that could be considered dream towns, but Saranac Lake rises to the top for its charm and trail access, notably a network that feeds into six mountains surrounding the lake. In the summer, the water is full of boats, and in the winter you can ski Mount Pisgah or take a short drive to Whiteface. Saranac Lake is blissfully mellow, and you’re only ten minutes from Lake Placid if you want a splashier mountain town with more going on.
Average home price $275,000! I could actually afford to buy...
 

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