best place to live (in canada) for outdoors


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Trad climber
vancouver, bc
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 2, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
I'm casting the net wide here!

My wife and I currently live in Vancouver, BC but the arrival of two children has us running for hills to beat the rather expensive (read prohibitive) cost of housing around here.

I am in IT so presumably need to live near a city to find gainful employment; we have been thinking for a LONG time about moving to Squamish or possibly up the road in Whistler but I can't commit to the 1+hour commute to the city, and can't get by on the salaries offered in Whistler - I was offered a job and earned more than the IT manager!

We have been looking at Cochrane outside Calgary which is pretty close to Canmore etc. and near enough to the city to get me a job, but Calgary doesn't seem that popular amongst the outdoor crowd, I'm unsure why?

So here it is - where would you move your family if you were me. The big three are:

1) Reasonably affordable housing
2) Access to the outdoors (for skiing/climbing/biking/hiking etc.)
3) Reasonable weather (i.e. we don't want to live in -20C every day in the winter)

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 2, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
Penticton......nice weather, nice access, pretty place, don't know about the cost of living.

Jan 2, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
^+1 okanagan

Calgary cold
Big Mike

Trad climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
What's wrong with Squamish? The commute is probably the same as if you were living in abbotsford or Langley... Ya it's not that much cheaper, but you have so many options!

Interior is nice too, maybe kelowna or kamloops might have some IT positions. Whatever you do, know that east=cold and less rock.

Northern Mexico
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
The west Koots.

edited to add: I'm not sure the Koots are the best place, but they do have a lot to offer.
this just in

north fork
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
Drives are always worth not living in the city. Move to Squamish, I think there's climbing somewhere around there and maybe some skiing too.

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
I'm with Donini. Penticton has decent weather, climbing, biking and skiing all close. And even wineries.

Trad climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:53pm PT
lots of outdoors in sakk.

spend a winter there, and you'll understand why.

there's a reason that the canadian funhogs all live in bc and crank the real estate prices up and wages down.

if yr outdoor sports involve chasing wolves on skis, or fishing for walleye or muskie, or hunting bear/elk/etc., yr provincial preferences may vary.

otherwise, suck it up or emigrate.

A long way from where I started
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:58pm PT
but Calgary doesn't seem that popular amongst the outdoor crowd, I'm unsure why?

Huh? If you have to live in, or near, a city, and are keen on outdoor activities, Calgary is great. Unless something has changed in the last few years, I can't see why you wouldn't want to live near Calgary. Every kind of climbing you might want (except granite) is nearby. It's close to the best ice climbing on the planet. Skiing is great (especially if you're willing to drive over to the Golden area).

I don't know about the cost of living there now, so can't comment on that, but from a climbing/skiing perspective, it's a hard place to beat.

Trad climber
Sun Coast B.C.
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
Beat the crowds!
Check out PR (Powell River)
Apparently it's "The Pearl of the Sunshine Coast".

1) Reasonably affordable housing
2) Access to the outdoors (for skiing/climbing/biking/hiking etc.)
3) Reasonable weather (i.e. we don't want to live in -20C every day in the winter)

1) Yup
2) Yup.
3) Could be the "mildest" place in the country?

Oh, and no idea what an "IT" is,but w/ the house $ you save... no worries.

Ice climber
the ghost
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
IT means Penticton, Kamloops, Kelowna, and especially Powell River are out.

Calgary is a good possibility, jobs & outdoors (just no ocean)
Calgary used to have 3 weeks of -30/-40 cold every winter (celcius), but global warming has knocked that back to a week. Why do you think the Calgarians are determined to dig up & burn every shovelful of tar in Alberta?

Big Wall climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
I would say that the big draw for living near the rockies as opposed to the coast range is the vast amount of easily accessible alpine terrain available to you. So if you prefer long alpine routes over short rock climbs and big ski mountaineering missions over tree skiing, it is the place to be in canada. If you're primarily a rock climber though, alberta definitely falls short of what you can have in squamish or the okanagan. The summers are short, and the rock takes some getting used to before it really becomes fun to climb on. Long rock routes tend to be more of the "adventurous" type. However the sport scene in the bow valley has really taken off in the last few years, and some pretty amazing crags are being developed if you're into that sort of thing. Winter is the big season in the rockies, so it helps a lot to be a keen skier or ice climber to really appreciate all that these mountains have to offer. Best ice climbing in the world, and incredible skiing in the colombia mountains (though 3 hours from calgary). Also tons of skiing possibilities in the rockies though a bit drier than the columbias. There is a huge outdoor community in calgary, with tons of people getting after it. The politics in alberta are pretty backwards, but that seems to have pretty minimal effect on my quality of life here. Of course ymmv.

Obviously there are a multitude of smaller communities that would be a hell of a lot more fun to live in (squamish, revy, golden, canmore, nelson, penticton etc.), but if you must live in a city you could do a lot worse than calgary.
Adrian MacNair

Boulder climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
I know plenty of climber doods who live in Squamish and commute to Vancouver. I wouldn't do it.

Alternately, anywhere along the TRansCanada is still close to SQuamish/Whistler. So, you can live in Maple Ridge where it's cheap(er) and it's only an extra 10 minutes than if you lived in VanCity. Or even Mission. WIth the price of gas, you're paying either way.

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
St Johns

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Jan 3, 2013 - 02:02am PT
After living in both Vancouver and Penticton, the choices come down to your priorities.

Vancouver requires a dam good income to be able to play and pay for that lifestyle, not insurmountable but I donít know your particulars.

Squamish has seen a downturn in the real estate market and if you don't mind the 40 minute commute to Van , that is a good option.

Penticton may not have the employment opportunities in IT, but I would also look at Kelowna as an option. The big plus in the interior , NO DAM RAIN, and a great climbing community.

If I was making that decision, I would shape my decision around my wife and families' preferences tempered by a reasonable proximity to climbable stone.

You knew the answer before you even asked, otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned family.

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
Jan 3, 2013 - 02:33am PT
Blue River...a great small BC town and if Weigele needs an IT guy then your in!

My 2 cents... Wish you all the best, love Calgary too, plenty out doors.

Aloha, shorts every day here,

Trad climber
East Coast US
Jan 3, 2013 - 08:07am PT
You're in IT... here's your best friend so you can live further away (I'm currently purchasing the big brother, 12 port system right now for our lab). It's a "light's out" system allowing power cycling, baremetal OS installs, etc. 1 Port USB PS/2 Server Remote Control IP KVM w/Virtual Media & Serial - Remote control device


Trad climber
Jan 3, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Revelstoke's new hill is very comparable to Golden's. Cold on top, Slushy at the bottom. Best stay away. ;)

Kelowna has great weather - you can go to Squamish the 5 weekends a year it isn't raining. 5 hr drive. 5 hrs to Canmore for the weekends that aren't frozen.5 hrs to Leavenworth. 5 hrs to Bugaboos. The Landmark buildings are full of IT stuff, 400 Disney employees on 5th floor of Landmark II, Basements are full of Google servers, there has got to be work to do.

Kootnays, Whitewater is probably coolest ski hill around, and some great climbing.

Basically, harsh cold winters east of Golden/Revelstoke, rain west of Hope. My cousin lives in Kelowna and was cragging last weekend.

Ice climber
the ghost
Jan 3, 2013 - 10:43am PT
The Landmark buildings are full of IT stuff
a solid lead! here's more info:
expand the TECHNOLOGY list

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Sheesh, not one vote for Pangnirtung?
Or is it because they don't play hockey there?
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