I currently live in the western slope of Colorado in the Gunnison Valley. I have been living in Crested Butte and Gunnison since 2007 and absolutely love it for a lot of reasons yet am considering a move in 2013. Here are some general +/-'s on the valley.
Likes: Amazing outdoor recreation extremely close to home, tight knit small town community feel, not a lot of traffic, older friends are like family. Amazing biking, winter backcountry sports, backpacking galore, etc. Lot of character and charm in Crested Butte. Sunny. Only hot during July in CB. I try to stay in the high country hiking.
Dislikes: Almost a bit confining, bad fem to male ratio, not a lot of job diversity, expensive, many seasonal home owners artificially boost the cost of living at the north end of the valley. Gunnison can get -40 although it feels much warmer. Supermarket sucks in CB. Health food stores are great but a bit pricey in both ends of the valley.
About myself: Early thirties bachelor, science backround working outside of my field with varied interests in alternative healing, sustainability, permaculture, etc. I enjoy photography, hiking, music, art, backcountry winter travel, backpacking obv. and my politics are green orientated. I feel we are stewards of the land co-existing with nature. We truly own nothing but our own conscience & our actions. I also have an aussie border collie who needs to run a lot or have a job.
Although I'm currently looking at Colorado in the Front Range and possibly western Washington as well. I'm open to any towns or cities you might recommend. North Cascades? I'm possibly looking to get a fixer upper that I can live in and then maybe flip depending on the housing market. I would be able to put 20-30k down on a 120k but would want to spend less on a fixer upper. Open to building a something like a strawbale as well.
I've lived for a couple months in Steamboat, then moved to Northern Cali and then to the Gunnison Valley. I prefer living on the outskirts of a city or anywhere in a mountain town. I've been perusing some different articles and city-data.com and will update as I go along.
Look forward to any feedback from personal experience. Thanks for your time!
Michael *edited for grammar*