Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

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Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:35 pm

Would appreciate some thoughts on the topic from your OWN perspective.....

I've been visiting various places in the USA over the last year trying to determine where I want to set up shop for the next few years.

My favorite spot so far has been Bend, Oregon. To me, it's almost as close to heaven as you can get -- mtn and road biking, Mt Bachelor, restaurants, no traffic, beautiful active women......however, very little in terms of employment IMO.

I loved Portland and Hood River and enjoyed skiing Timberline and MHM -- super cool place but ....again..limited jobs (I'm in the oil industry).

Loved Denver -- had a job offer, fell through. For the Colorado folks -- thoughts on Denver -- overcrowded? Panacea? What do you NOT like about it there?

Which leads me to my reality.....I have biz opportunities in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Alaska (Valdez).

SLC folks -- what do you NOT like about living there? I know what it offers (champagne pow) ....what do you do in the summer? Arts/entertainment scene any good? Limited? Traffic? Possibility of living in PC and commuting to N. SLC (where job is)?

Alaska -- best heli skiing in the USA (arguably) but ...very remote and some other real negatives....(heli skiing = $1300 per day) ...no resorts in VDZ. 2 restaurants open in winter....(at best) ....mostly trailer living....scenery looks like the Alps....

Los Angeles -- Baldy is not Baldy any more...sorry Tony...you may disagree but ......its not...the place has changed....LA is grown progressively more crowded ...and is still expensive....last two winters have sucked big time here....

Thoughts???
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Admin » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:54 pm

As an East Coast ex-pat I can only really speak for SLC, although we did live in Boulder for a while when I was a kid. If LA were affordable and uncrowded I could see myself being relatively happy there, but we all know that's not the case.

jojo_obrien wrote: SLC folks -- what do you NOT like about living there?


Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to come up with much. If there was an ocean nearby this would be Nirvana. I miss having a plethora of reasonably priced Atlantic seafood available, and New England's "Apple season" would be nice to have, but other than that? Nuttin'.

Some others have had challenges dealing with the predominant local culture but I'm not one of them. Marc_C told me when I got here, "Just sweat the big stuff." I never really needed that advice, but someone with far left leanings might face a little more challenge with it.

jojo_obrien wrote:I know what it offers (champagne pow) ....what do you do in the summer?


Ok, this may sound blasphemous but... summers here are better than winters. Really. Winters are one-dimensional: skiing. In summer it's hard to decide what *not* to do on a given weekend as we have world class mountain biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, kayaking, etc. all within 30 minutes of home. Try that from Denver! (Not to mention the winter commute time from Denver to the skiing. ) And if you're willing to look a few hours further afield we also have the red rock desert to recreate in - still much closer than it is from Denver.

There's also the summer weather. Summer is our dry season, when we may go two months without a drop of rain. That makes scheduling outdoor pursuits relatively foolproof. The usual forecast is sunny, 10% relative humidity and 92 degrees in the Valley. Too hot? Just go up a thousand feet or two to where it's in the 70s.

jojo_obrien wrote:Arts/entertainment scene any good? Limited?


Not bad. I'm into the indie music scene and we get a lot of acts who stop in transit between Denver and Vegas, or Denver and San Francisco. Check out the schedule for Urban Lounge as an example, or for medium sized acts The Depot, Saltair, Red Butte Gardens, the weekly concerts in Pioneer Park (including the Flaming Lips, MGMT and Grizzly Bear this summer), etc. For the more sophisticated set we have an Symphony, we have a ballet. That said, there are sometimes bands on tour that I'd have to drive 6 hours to Vegas to see because they're not stopping here. That's not necessarily a bad thing as that just means a road trip weekend in Vegas.

jojo_obrien wrote:Traffic?


<snicker> I love hearing locals who have never lived outside of Utah whine about the traffic here. Compared with almost everywhere I've lived over the years, which has included SE Connecticut, Albany/Saratoga, Boston, Colorado, Tampa/Sarasota/St. Pete and Burlington Vt., it's a joke. If you want to minimize delays, choose a home that minimizes your time heading toward downtown in the morning on I-15 and vice versa, i.e. north/south with the predominate traffic flow, or east-west to/from some God-forsaken place like West Jordan. I have an east-west commute on I-80 and 201 to get to my office in West Valley and it takes me 12 minutes to go 16 miles at rush hour, virtually without fail. The speedo seldom dips below 80 for me, even at 8 a.m. or 5 p.m.

jojo_obrien wrote:Possibility of living in PC and commuting to N. SLC (where job is)?


A better question might be, why would you want to? The cost of living is substantially higher and you're further away from the top tier of Utah skiing of the type that most Liftlines users seek. Your 20-25 minute drive to LCC just became 45-60. If you're intent on doing so, however, the commute to NSL is not a big deal except on those days that a winter storm leaves Parley's Summit treacherous. People like playing bumper cars up there in a storm and sometimes the plows just can't keep up. On those rare nights when they close I-80 you're looking at either a 60-mile detour or spending the night in SLC.

I'm in a spot where I kind of have the best of both worlds. I live about as high on the east bench as one can get as they enter Parley's Canyon. That places me roughly equidistant between the PC area and the Cottonwood Canyons resorts - 30 minutes or less to all 7. I've got hiking in Wasatch-Cache National Forest behind the house, yet I'm only about 6 miles from downtown SLC. I look out across the Salt Lake Valley 800 feet below from my deck, my living room or my bedroom. I can also head south, east or west on interstate highway less than half a mile from my driveway, via I-80 and I-215.

I got here over eight years ago at age 39, and I haven't looked back once. More than that, I'm still kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:04 am

Admin thank you! Very good perspective...does the world revolve around skiing? No ....but it certainly is a big factor, right haha : )

Regarding PC, as a single guy, I really like the access to the more chic / resort feel vs the real quiet suburban feel you get living in some of the SLC suburbs. However, as you point out, the commute in the winter could be a real issue. I've never lived more than 15 min from work...

I havent had a chance to scope out housing downtown but I heard some people are pretty happy w/ the Avenues? Seems like a fairly central point for access to PC , NSLC and the LCC/BCC.

I've watched your reports over the years about growing traffic up and down LCC -- has it gotten worse and do you see it getting worse?

Thanks again.

Always like Tony's perspective..hopefully he has some thoughts....
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Admin » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:06 am

jojo_obrien wrote:Regarding PC, as a single guy, I really like the access to the more chic / resort feel vs the real quiet suburban feel you get living in some of the SLC suburbs.


I can understand that. A little simple math on my previous post tells you that I'm 47, and I've been married for nearly 17 years. I always presumed that as a non-LDS guy single life in this town would be a little tricky and was therefore a bit more at ease when I got here thanks to my Bring-Your-Own-Wife plan, but the 20-somethings I know who moved here for the outdoor lifestyle have assured me repeatedly that's not the case. Unless you're a Boy Scout the outdoor community here is by and large not LDS. In fact those guys have said that their social life has actually been more rewarding than it was where they came from simply because it's easier to meet like-minded people.

jojo_obrien wrote:I havent had a chance to scope out housing downtown but I heard some people are pretty happy w/ the Avenues? Seems like a fairly central point for access to PC , NSLC and the LCC/BCC.


If I were single and wanting to live in the Valley I'd definitely look at The Avenues and areas to the east of it, Sugarhouse, and parts of Cottonwood Heights. By all means I'd avoid lower Sandy, Draper, and anything west of I-15.

jojo_obrien wrote:I've watched your reports over the years about growing traffic up and down LCC -- has it gotten worse and do you see it getting worse?


It hasn't really felt like it's gotten any worse in the 8 years I've been here, and it's only tough on a prime powder day or during the holiday periods. Even on those days it's relatively easy to beat if you play it smart and arrive early/leave early. Ultimately I foresee it improving in the future once the Wasatch Canyons Plan is decided and implemented. That's a long-term holistic approach that regional government entities are working on which could involve anything from increased buses/limited vehicle traffic, to vehicle tunnels or a railway system.


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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:55 pm

Admin --

Thanks for the information, much appreciated. You answered the non-LDS question for me .......without me even having to ask.

I really DIG PC -- the whole golf/tennis/mtn bike/upscale feel ....and love the skiing there -- but yes..............as you know...cant beat Alta/Bird for big mountain skiing. Plus, can do without the talk about hedge funds that is so prevalent on Deer Valley/PC ski lifts......... :x :stir:

Still want to hit up Snowbasin, as your pics last season made me :drool: ....

Still waiting for Tony's 2 cents..........................is he in Chile or the South Pacific?????
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Admin » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:18 pm

jojo_obrien wrote:Still waiting for Tony's 2 cents..........................is he in Chile or the South Pacific?????


I'm not sure, but given his travel schedule he's away more often than he's home.

I'd really love to see Salida or Perry (damned if I can recall his username) drop in with their two pennies, as socially they're more in your situation than I am.

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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby EMSC » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:43 pm

jojo_obrien wrote:Loved Denver -- had a job offer, fell through. For the Colorado folks -- thoughts on Denver -- overcrowded? Panacea? What do you NOT like about it there?


I'd go for not quite either of your words "overcrowded? Panacea?". Denver is definitely getting a bit crowded for the I-70 hop up to the skiing, though not too obnoxious if you know how to time your driving to avoid the 2-3 hrs of peak travel going up or back on the weekends. As you know, just like many of the other places you've listed, tons and tons of outdoor things to do here, always seems to be listed a a top destination for singles, and combined with an ever bigger city for top entertainment, pro sports and the like. I think Denver metro is up around 3.1M people at this point... which is both a good and bad thing. Lots going on, lots of folks who will like the same stuff as you to find and hang out with; but then you need to know the area to set up your commute so it's not unbearable during rush hour.

I'm no longer in your demographic (now married with kid), but have been here for 15 years already and enjoyed it immensely (was single when I arrived). Of my locales I've lived for perspective: upstate NY born & Raised, then PA, Tahoe, Seattle and Atlanta (of all places). Definitely a lot of Oil & Gas companies/jobs in the region. I know Tony puts SLC as the top ski place to live with a real job due to the powder and nice vert & steeps of places like Snowbird being so close. Denver is a bit farther from the ski hills and a bit less snow, though certainly nothing to complain all that loudly about. I can't imagine living in Valdez without an SO as that is very tiny and a long ferry ride from anything other than the pure outdoors. And for me you'd have to dump something like $500K+/year salary at me to touch LA, but then that is me, not you.

Interestingly, the 'not like' category for me is mostly things I miss from back east, not necessarily Denver specific. Things like real fall foliage, fresh apple cider, real lakes instead of crowded reservoirs, etc... Obviously given my tenure, far outweighed by what I gain being here.
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Postby otisdelarosa » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:49 pm

Which leads me to my reality.....I have biz opportunities in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Alaska (Valdez).

SLC folks -- what do you NOT like about living there? I know what it offers (champagne pow) ....what do you do in the summer? Arts/entertainment scene any good? Limited? Traffic? Possibility of living in PC and commuting to N. SLC (where job is)?

Alaska -- best heli skiing in the USA (arguably) but ...very remote and some other real negatives....(heli skiing = $1300 per day) ...no resorts in VDZ. 2 restaurants open in winter....(at best) ....mostly trailer living....scenery looks like the Alps....

Los Angeles -- Baldy is not Baldy any more...sorry Tony...you may disagree but ......its not...the place has changed....LA is grown progressively more crowded ...and is still expensive....last two winters have sucked big time here....

Thoughts???[/quote]

That's too steep to think,those are beautiful places though. But, it's good to choose LA I think, the place is highly commercialized,and it's good for business. :snowball fight:
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:18 am

EMSC -- thanks for the two cents...was hoping you would catch the thread and chime in. Agree w/ you on many of those issues.........

Was in SLC this week -- Woods Cross to be exact, then drove around, as it was only the second time I had been in SLC in the summer....some thoughts: very manageable traffic, super clean, good food (Red Iguana...mmmm), really orderly malls, a pretty dang well oiled machine. Feels safe and pretty family oriented....actually feels like a big Anchorage. Didn't know the mountains got that green in the summer -- very nice...

Would love to get to Denver -- always connected with the place for all the reasons you mentioned EMSC -- wont have to twist my arm to spend a weekend in Vail or Aspen...Denver is solid and I cant find anyone who I know who has lived there who didnt really enjoy being there....

All in all, I am leaning towards Alaska, in that, the job opportunity is unique. If you've never been to Valdez, believe me when I say its a world away....what I love most about it is the danger factor. It's a dangerous place -- and I love the extreme nature of the place. Its really is an adventure living there -- from hiking around with a 44 on your chest to snagging silvers in the Kenai, to face shots in Feb....We'll see.....
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Marc_C » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:12 am

From today's SL Trib:
Ranking: Salt Lake City 2nd best place for those young, single and broke

A new survey ranks the city second in the nation for young professionals trying to make a go of it.

The Portland, Maine-based blog Moneyunder30.com created its list of the 20 best U.S. cities in which to be young, single and broke using "metrics that matter to young professionals trying to simultaneously launch a career, find love, and stretch a still-meager paycheck: cheap food, cheap beer and cheap thrills, for starters," according to the blog.


Full article: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/56488467-79/utah-blog-com-lake.html.csp
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:01 am

Still waiting for Tony's 2 cents..........................is he in Chile or the South Pacific?????

Possibly worse for connectivity: Middle Fork Salmon River June 15-20, Red Lodge, MT June 21-22, Yellowstone June 23-25, now in transit to Glacier NP, will be home July 3.

With regard to L.A., key points:
1) Where you work vs. where you live. I worked in downtown but lived in Pasadena/Glendale where commute was tolerable and alternate routes available when needed. If you can't avoid a situation with a 1+ hour commute, you don't want to be here.
2) If you want the attractions of the big city, but also more than decent weather and outdoor lifestyle options, well that's why the region grew like crazy post WWII. My parents were both from somewhere else: LA and SF were the places they most wanted; the job for my dad came up here. Not really that different from admin prioritizing skiing and working to get a job in the best place for it.
3) yes housing is expensive, rents as much as buying now relative to other places, though well below SF. But hopefully you income will support that.

Valdez as a single male? Probably as bad as it gets. Maybe worth it short term for unique experiences. That oil job needs to pay real well to support heli time.
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:04 am

Thanks Tony.........as I sit and drink my coffee listening to the waves this morning.......recovering from a night around the bonfire I think...maybe socal aint all that bad....

Yes, all valid points. Valdez is most likely the pits when it comes to being a single male. There are some very fine points I was rationalizing to myself yesterday ...skiing in those mountains is quite simply, dangerous. Whenever one would want to ski, a couple things are required:
1.) Probably prudent to bring a partner....
2.) Probably need at least two snow machines (which requires coordinating w/ another human to ski)
3.) Non-lift serviced terrain , especially in one of the snowiest places on the planet is .......uh....uncontrolled and ...definitely higher degree of risk vs. inbounds at Park City or Alta.............

But ohhhhhhhh those infinite, untouched lines.

What does skiing/riding entail in SLC?
1.) What resort do I hit up today?? North, South, or East?
2.) Throw gear in car. Drive. Ski.

Thing that gets me about the heli season in VDZ: it's quite short! 2 months maybe? Not quite sure about snowcat season ....when I lived in ANC last year, the light doesnt get "right" until March............

Anyways, more to come.....
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:45 am

jojo_obrien wrote:Thing that gets me about the heli season in VDZ

Yes, that's why the decision "where to take your ski vacation" and "where to live" are not the same, even from a pure ski perspective. Sure, AK or interior BC or Jackson Hole might give you some ultimate ski days and be top vacation choices. But for where to live I think having 5+ months of quality skiing vs. 2 or 3 takes precedence. SLC, Mammoth and Whistler come to mind as top choices in the former category. Obviously being 5 hours from Mammoth is not the same as being 1/2 hour from Alta. But I would take the 5 hours from Mammoth over the 2 hours from Taos in Albuquerque for example.

jojo_obrien wrote:as I sit and drink my coffee listening to the waves this morning

One of the choices of where to live in LA is the beach vs. access to the mountains. I ended up where I did largely for the ease of the work commute, which should be first priority. But fortuitously I'm in a location where I can get to Mammoth from home evading evening rush hour by driving over the Angeles Forest Hwy. You live in a beach city, Friday afternoon or evening getaway through L.A. to the mountains is a real PITA. Nonetheless I would never discount the attraction of having the beach minutes away. If you surf as well as ski (I don't) that probably takes precedence.
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:25 am

well........its looking like SLC....

one more two planker coming up to steal your snow....but i promise, i won't invite TOO many friends to come up and ski during the weekends....

really impressed at what's going on here....admin -- you hit the nail on the head with just about everything -- and i like your comment -- if this place had an ocean, it would be nirvana -- so true : )

looking at possibly getting a place in sugarhouse......i like that its centrally located to downtown, work, good freeway access...can hop in I80...then to either PC or the canyons (thanks for the tips admin -- drove up close to where you live -- killer location you have....

a big key point (non skiing related) for me personally -- versus moving to valdez -- which...i would no doubt be on the snowcat or helicopter on weekends (yes tony....the oil gig would fund those adventures quite nicely) -- is the music scene here in SLC -- really really impressed....symphony to jazz to raggae (this w/e) to ludacris -- good stuff...hope to hit up the state room frequently as well

looking forward to meeting the slc folks on this board whose posts i have enjoyed for many years :-)

later baldy ........lol
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Re: Where should I live?? SLC, AK, or LA

Postby Marc_C » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:46 am

jojo_obrien wrote:a big key point (non skiing related) for me personally -- is the music scene here in SLC -- really really impressed....symphony to jazz to raggae (this w/e) to ludacris -- good stuff...hope to hit up the state room frequently as well

Something that a lot of folks don't realize. We do get some (not all) of the major artists as well - we have tix for RUSH later this month and MUSE in September - plus the folks that have been around for 35 years (saw Pat Benatar last week). We're also only a 6 hr drive / 50 minute flight from Vegas and 8 hrs to Denver.

There are some clubs you'll want to avoid due to major suck factor - In The Venue is one of them.

Welcome. You'll have plenty of local guidance when you get here.
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