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Best Cities in the US for climbing / skiing / WW kayaking?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Ron O wrote: Grand Junction, Colorado.
Great local climbing and close to Moab.
Class 1-5 WW
Tons of skiing.
Fruita (10 miles west) is a world mountain biking destination.

Not exactly a bunch of engineering jobs though.

Eric Carlos · · depends · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40
Ron O wrote: Grand Junction, Colorado.
Great local climbing and close to Moab.
Class 1-5 WW
Tons of skiing.
Fruita (10 miles west) is a world mountain biking destination.

Great climbing within 1.5 hours....certainly.  The 2-4 hour radius offers a ton of stuff.  Low cost of living for the west, but you get what you pay for.

Chase Bowman · · Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 755

Dude Durango is awesome! I was a civil engineer there up til 4 months ago and my old company is actually hiring in town! Its for an engineering contractor, let me know if you're interested! 

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 115

If you can get work, Chase is right!

Daniel Bookless · · Portland, OR · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 105

Calgary or Vancouver would be perfect matches if you can get a work visa, or marry a canadian
having lived in Calgary I can attest that it is a fantastic city!
Hour to the mountains, not a lot of local climbing less than an hour away.
Canadian Olympic park has a ski park in the city limits too!

Zach Allin · · VA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 35

In case anyone else sees this: what about Spokane, WA?
I know it gets a lot of hate from those on the coast, but it shows some promise:


  • Plenty of decent climbing of all grades within 20 minutes (even within city limits) and no crowds, multiple climbing gyms
  • Some meh after-work whitewater runs
  • Decent mountain biking downtown

  • Leavenworth is 3 hrs, Washington Pass is <4 (less than an hour longer than coming from Seattle)
  • Closest metropolitan area to the Powder Highway; also great skiing <2hrs away in the ID pan handle
  • Amazing whitewater over the border in ID and MT (1-2 hrs for Lochsa, etc)

  • Plenty of sun
  • Low cost of living 
  • Few crowds (No lift lines in the pan handle!)
  • Solid job market (at least for mechEs)
NickO · · Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 35

Pretty tough to be a white water kayaker around SLC, PC, or any of Utah.  Couple shallow, mellow options to scratch the itch but you mostly have to travel.

goingUp · · over here · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 30

Colorado. Denver specifically. the beer flows like wine, and the women instinctively flock like the salmon of capastrana.
Just get a bro tank and a beanie to wear year round before you move.  People will think you've been there for years.

Slartibartfast · · Magrathea · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 0
Zach Allin wrote:Fayetteville WV would be perfect, but has very few to no engineering jobs.

Step 1: Move to Fayetteville.
Step 2: Work for the Army Corp of Engineers.
Step 3: Get promoted.
Step 4: Lift the ban on DWS at Summersville Lake.

Be the change I want to see in the world, dude.
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Zach Allin wrote: Priority of sports:
1) Climbing (all types but preferably alpine/trad)
2) Whitewater
3) Skiing
Honorary Mention) Mountain biking

Frankly as long as I can find friends to climb/paddle/ski with and housing isn't too expensive I could care less about nightlife or whatever else. I thought CSprings was cool because it had a hardcore group of outdoor folk and it was cheap, meanwhile I thought Denver was kind of impersonal/pretentious and had horrible traffic. And while I definitely vote blue I don't mind living in a place that isn't (pretty used to it).

Based on this, I think you would find Spokane to be a suitable choice. Maybe not the “top pick” for climbing access (compared to Reno, for example), but you should definitely include it in your job search. It suits a lot of your criteria well, and it would be worth moving there if you found s good job.

One Spokane downside for you is that the nearby local climbing, while decent, is predominantly sport. You’ll be driving a ways (3+) hours for any worthwhile trad climbing. Compare this to Reno, where there is a vast amount of high quality granite trad climbing 30-90 minutes away around Tahoe.
Other Washington towns: Based on what you thought of Denver, do not move to Seattle. 
Wenatchee would suit you well, if you can find a job. Very nearby climbing, skiing, and whitewater. New climbing gym in town. Not an engineering hub by any means, but another place to add to the job search locations.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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