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Battle of the states! Help!
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Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo:
Hey there!

I am in a battle of the states conundrum!

I have job offers in Bellingham, WA, Denver,CO and Salt Lake City, UT. I have yong kids (toddlers) and want to move to an area where recreation is really attainable. I am currently on the East Coast where recreation is around but none of it is world class and all requires driving. It would be nice to wake up and have climbing and trails nearby.

I'm big into multipitch trad, mixed and ice. Our family is also into mountain biking, SUP/surf and snowsports. With young kids, we need an elementary school around. I have heard great things about SLC for accessibility but am nervous about the religious atmosphere and lack if diversity. I know nowhere is "perfect" but im trying to find the place best to access these with minimal driving.

If you take finding jobs/housing out of the mix. Where would you go?
Nomadinthevertical
Joined Dec 10, 2015
5 points
Dec 10, 2015
You sound like a CO family. Bellingham would be better if you want to get into bigger mountain ranges. CO would have better rock and ice, WA would be the perfect training ground for Denali or Patagonia aspirations Clay Wynn
Joined Nov 3, 2015
70 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: No Free Lunch. Photo by Joe V.
Nomadinthevertical wrote:
I am currently on the East Coast where recreation is around but none of it is world class

hahahahah good one
Drew Hayes
From Charlotte, NC
Joined Jul 25, 2011
119 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: We shall continue with style
I'd vote SLC, religion won't be an issue as long as you live in the city. I'd stay away from Provo(south) and bountiful(north) though as they are def more religious based areas. The access to the outdoors is unbeatable(15-30min) from anywhere in town it seems, and the mtns are really good for recreation.


Edit: bonus is you get the southern deserts(Moab, canyon lands, Zion, etc) only a hop skip and jump away, vegas(red rock) is only a 6hr drive, and Jackson is only 4-5 the other way
BigB
From Red Rock, NV
Joined Feb 18, 2015
311 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
Bryan Manning wrote:
I'd vote SLC, religion won't be an issue as long as you live in the city. I'd stay away from Provo(south) and bountiful(north) though as they are def more religious based areas. The access to the outdoors is unbeatable(15-30min) from anywhere in town it seems, and the mtns are really good for recreation. Edit: bonus is you get the southern deserts(Moab, canyon lands, Zion, etc) only a hop skip and jump away, vegas(red rock) is only a 6hr drive, and Jackson is only 4-5 the other way


I'd also vote SLC. In my opinion (and limited experience with Colorado), the access to the mountains is much quicker and easier in SLC. Also as was said, the religion won't be much of an issue if you stay in the Salt Lake valley. Head either north or south and it becomes much more prevalent, but within the valley there is good diversity.
kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Joined Aug 12, 2010
2,061 points
Dec 10, 2015
I'd call living somewhere with religion at the forefront of the community way more diverse than say, Boulder, CO...

Where on the east coast do you live?

SLC gets my vote of those. You're close to the mountains, desert, you have good grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, and diversity.
Blake Cash
From Chattanooga, TN
Joined May 27, 2007
212 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenste...
I've been to all three cities and I too live on the east coast..

I would pick Bellingham. Denver's too crowded and I insulted too many people who lived in Park City years ago. I'm too embarrassed to show up there.

Bellingham is co close to Squamish and Whistler. The mountain biking and climbing are world class.
Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Joined Jul 21, 2012
449 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Me scaring years off my mom's life
I live in Sandy, which is a suburb 15 minutes south of Salt Lake. I can be in downtown in 20 minutes, up Little Cottonwood (Alta, Snowbird, climbing, peak-bagging) in 10 minutes, and up Big Cottonwood (Brighton and Solitude and tons of climbing and train running) in 15. We have an 18 month-old and getting outside with her is a snap. Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Joined Apr 26, 2009
120 points
Administrator
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrew Gram
All three are going to be pretty great - not a bad problem to have.

Denver is the best city, but more crowded and expensive, with lots of traffic hassles. The climbing and mountain biking close to town is great though crowded, and you'll want to live on the west side of town or traffic becomes a nightmare. The skiing is fun but is a total shitshow on weekends because of traffic and Texans. No matter what you are going to be in the car awhile to get to good skiing from Denver.

Salt Lake is an ok city, and is much less crowded and cheaper. Religion is not a big deal in SLC proper - the biggest downside is the winter inversions. There is no better large city in the country in terms of quick access to climbing and especially skiing. The winter inversions are definitely a bummer and something to think about carefully.

I've only passed through Bellingham, but it is a very different choice from SLC/Denver. Beautiful place, close to the water, but a very different climate. I'm sure I would love to live there though.
Andrew Gram
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jan 1, 2001
3,829 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Dow Williams, 2011
Nomad...you can find plenty of Mormons in Utah who think their state is as diverse as any other. I think that is a more emotional, less rational response to the state being founded in its own religion.

That being said, Utah works perfect for my wife and I whose children are grown and are both professional athletes who spend more time on the road than we do at home....quiet, zero crime (southern Utah) abundance of natural beauty per capita. But if we did not spend half of our life on the road, we would not choose to live here. For us, Utah's location in the west happens to be key.

If your job involved working for any significant employer based in the state, education system, health care, etc....and advancement was eventually your goal...not being Mormon will affect you. It might not be legal to discriminate based on tribe....but it is realistic. Utah is not near as diverse as CO or WA. 60%+ of Utah citizens are Mormon vs less than 2% in the US. That makes it a pretty religious centric state and Salt Lake is by far its largest city and State Capital. 90% of Utah is white. Anyone who tries to sell you on Salt Lake being diverse is a bit delusional. Utah would be somewhere just north of Oklahoma and Texas in ever voting for a liberal Presidential candidate. Nothing wrong with that, it is just not up for discussion as it would be in WA or CO.

My daughters would neither raise their sons here. But the pros for us living here? Zero crime (southern Utah), great health care system compared to any other place we have lived, top 20 education (something CO obviously gets high accolades for)..and primary for us, in southern Utah, fantastic weather and perfect location for what we both do. Cons are air quality (in Salt Lake) and lack of diversity. Bellingham will be much more diverse than Salt Lake, much better air quality and far better crime rates than Denver. With kids in tow, it would be my choice hands down.

Good Luck with your decision.
Dow Williams
From St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB
Joined Mar 13, 2006
241 points
Administrator
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrew Gram
What a bizarre post.

Bellingham is 85% white: census.gov/quickfacts/table/PS...

Salt Lake City is 77% white: census.gov/quickfacts/table/PS...

Salt Lake is certainly not as diverse as a really big city like NYC or even as diverse as Denver, but essentially all of the racial and political diversity in Utah is concentrated in SLC so it is very different from other parts of Utah. Salt Lake has always had politically progressive mayors and just elected a lesbian mayor with absolutely no uproar. Salt Lake really isn't all that much different from other medium sized cities in the intermountain west - it isn't anywhere near as homogeneous as St George in southern Utah.
Andrew Gram
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jan 1, 2001
3,829 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: theodor adorno.
Not a parent yet, but regarding kids lifestyle and as a general community, Bellingham seemed awesome when I spent a summer there. The smaller size is part of that. Not good access to climbing, except for alpine snow/ice, but lots of trails and parks and community stuff for the kiddos.

I live in Utah now (3+ years) and would say that the outdoor access is amazing, especially if you like winter sports and desert solitude in the same month. Look at what is within 5-6 hours of SLC on a map. City of Rocks is the best family camping/cragging area I've ever been to.

Some people have issues being a cultural minority, others thrive. It is sometimes harder for kids to figure out, so take the opinions of those without kids with a grain of salt. I experience it as more of a cultural divide than an ideological one, though I'm from western South Dakota (reddest of the red). I have found the LDS community to be very welcoming to me. We have neighborhood gift exchanges for Christmas and 'ward parties' from time to time. Family movie nights in a neighbor's backyard!

I agree with what Andrew said about SLC.
SThal
From Logan, UT
Joined Jun 3, 2006
113 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Me scaring years off my mom's life
Like Andrew pointed out, SLC just elected a lesbian mayor with no drama. Governor Herbert is also practically alone among Republican governors in supporting Syrian refugee resettlement. My wife works at a company of 600 people and is one of 2 Mormons there.

People probably discriminate against Dow Williams because he's a preening, narcissistic douchecanoe - not because he's not LDS.
Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Joined Apr 26, 2009
120 points
Dec 10, 2015
For a family, Denver or Bellingham will have less awkward "mormon-not-Mormon" thing that goes on in the schools, like when the lds kids all leave for a period and walk to the local lds ward.

My vote is Bellingham. Great managable size, driving to Vancouver, b,c is great, world class snow at mountbaker and if you are into alpine, no place in the lower 48 sets you up better than being close to the north cascades.

Just depends what you are looking for. SLC does have far better rock climbing quality and quantity, so if that is the biggest thing on your list...
Pete Spri
Joined Jun 1, 2009
217 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Dow Williams, 2011
Dow Williams wrote:
Nomad...you can find plenty of Mormons in Utah who think their state is as diverse as any other. I think that is a more emotional, less rational response to the state being founded in its own religion.


And like I said above....re: the emotional responses

To be clear, no one has ever discriminated against me in Utah...but then I am not exposed to discrimination having to compete for a job title either....I think, as white Christians go, Mormons if anything are a cut above when it comes to that sort of thing...prob due to their own persecution in this country for adding a whole new weird twist to an already complex religion. Great folks to have as your neighbor watching over things...but religiously and politically monotone. Sure there are anecdotal exceptions. If working for the hospital, school district, any local or state based employer...your chances of advancement are much better if you go to church together and a high percentage of folks in this state go to church together, Salt Lake communities included. And it is the same church.

I think we can thank the Donald in bringing to the forefront that there is more to diversity than skin color. OK, TX and UT all welcome plenty of Hispanic cheap labor, but they are not diverse states compared to WA and CO, from an ideologue, political, religious or cultural perspective. Nor are their capital cities when compared to each other...not by a long shot. Some folks don't care. Some do.

I personally think the crime deal is a significant advantage, but maybe that is because I live 2 hrs from Vegas where my friends seem to get their stuff stolen all the time. I think the Salt Lake air pollution is also a huge negative, particularly for children, that if like my grand kids, would spend a ton of time outdoors. It seems to get glossed over, and Denver has similar issues, although not as bad.
Dow Williams
From St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB
Joined Mar 13, 2006
241 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: I'M THE F***ING KING OF INTERNET CLIMBING BRAJ
To me, the bigger discriminatory war going on in every state, is related to guiding. Look at the way they require climbing guides to go through all that training, and pay money to obtain proper licensing, etc. What's up with that? This discriminates against those of us that have the gift, and are legendary bada$$ climbers, but don't have the means to obtain those official licenses and insurance.

I say forget that! It's the same thing as requiring a photo ID to vote, it's discriminatory! Nobody ever brings this up, though.
Burcheydawwwwwwg
Joined Jan 9, 2012
1,273 points
Dec 10, 2015
Dow Williams wrote:
Utah works perfect for my wife and I whose children are grown and are both professional athletes who spend more time on the road than we do at home


Wow! THE Dow Williams posts on Mountain Project. He's right up there with Peter Croft for professional athletes who I look up to.

You know how I know Croft is a professional athlete? He's listed on companies websites, climbs 5.13+, has countless first ascents, and was the leading climber of a generation of yosemite climbers.

You know how I know Dow Williams is a professional athlete? He tells us.

#justbecauseyoucanonlyclimb510doesn'tmeanyouresponsoredby510
Andre H.
From Boulder
Joined Nov 8, 2012
16 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Profile pic
I have lived in Draper (SLC suburb) and now Provo. I'd really like to try Denver... SLC is really cool, but the inversions in the winter can be BAD. And they seem to get worse every year.

And yeah, a lot of us are Mormon (myself included). I try not to be a jerk about it. I do feel sorry for openly gay/lesbian people who live here in the 'burbs, because I know they often get treated poorly. Some people are actually hostile and some are just super insensitive. Makes me cringe.

TLDR: We're running out of fresh powder in Wasangeles and you should stay away
Anson Call
From Provo, UT
Joined Jan 12, 2010
44 points
Dec 10, 2015
Austin Baird wrote:
People probably discriminate against Dow Williams because he's a preening, narcissistic douchecanoe - not because he's not LDS.


yikes.

Adam Burch wrote:
To me, the bigger discriminatory war going on in every state, is related to guiding. Look at the way they require climbing guides to go through all that training, and pay money to obtain proper licensing, etc. What's up with that? This discriminates against those of us that have the gift, and are legendary bada$$ climbers, but don't have the means to obtain those official licenses and insurance. I say forget that! It's the same thing as requiring a photo ID to vote, it's discriminatory! Nobody ever brings this up, though.


man-stalker!
T Roper
From DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA
Joined Mar 31, 2006
1,053 points
Dec 10, 2015
Religion is not the problem in N Utah, its the air. Commute from Park City or up one of the canyons and its not bad. T Roper
From DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA
Joined Mar 31, 2006
1,053 points
Dec 10, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: I'M THE F***ING KING OF INTERNET CLIMBING BRAJ
T Roper wrote:
yikes. man-stalker!


Haha

I've never heard of T Roper, but his profile picture looks like that one movie with the fat alien and it runs around and then that's all.
Burcheydawwwwwwg
Joined Jan 9, 2012
1,273 points
Dec 10, 2015
T Roper wrote:
Religion is not the problem in N Utah, its the air. Commute from Park City or up one of the canyons and its not bad.


Or don't. Really, if you're willing to work to make this place better, by all means move here, but I think we have enough people looking out for themselves and making the situation worse.
Rob T
Joined Jun 20, 2006
26 points
Dec 10, 2015
I actually did a lot of due diligence on both Denver and SLC since my wife and I recently had a kid, and want to get out of MA.

One thing no one has mentioned is the lackluster schools (both public and private) in SLC. I am not trying to offend anyone; just reporting my findings and something you should investigate if education is a priority. SLC would have been our top choice if we did not have a kid.

Denver 'burbs have better schools and more jobs if you are in anything tech related.

Our top choice is actually now Raleigh, NC. The area has far less climbing, but seems to have the best overall quality of life. Feel free to tell me why Raleigh sucks since we are still open to other areas :-)
The Fat Kid
Joined Aug 20, 2012
13 points
Dec 10, 2015
I've never lived in eastern Washington, but based on a year in Eugene and what friends tell me about BC, I'd say brace yourself for dreary, rainy winters if you choose Bellingham. wendy weiss
Joined Mar 17, 2006
21 points
Dec 10, 2015
The Fat Kid wrote:
Feel free to tell me why Raleigh sucks since we are still open to other areas :-)


idk why you'd leave MA for Raleigh. Is it cheaper? Raleigh is the same old boring southeast suburbia.
D B
From Denver
Joined Apr 4, 2011
244 points
Dec 10, 2015
Two friends of mine were in the same situation as you. They chose SLC as the only choice once they finally scouted the place. One even placed a bid on a house the first day visiting.
Each one of them will tell you the same thing: "I love it here in Utah, but YOU will hate it! Stay away, and tell everyone else to stay away as well. (Laughing) I want it all to myself".

Salt Lake City


So far, everyone on this forum has made some excellent points about each area. If you choose SLC, my fellow "East Coast" transplants will be happy to welcome you into our tribe.
Over The Hill
From USA
Joined Oct 16, 2004
248 points


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