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Guest Blog Feature: Ryan Castillo, Refin.
With the increasing flexibility and comfort of remote work, many have begun looking into purchasing a second home or vacation property for a change of scenery from their everyday lives. If this sounds like you, owning a winter home in a ski town might be worth considering. Ski towns provide access to small-town living, beautiful nature, and are just a stone’s throw away from the nearest chairlift.
With over 400 ski resorts in the United States, it might be hard to choose which ski town is right for you. To help you decide where to purchase your next home, we compiled a list of the top 10 underrated ski towns to own a winter home based on median sale price and average daily snowfall during winter months. These are not your typical big ski resort towns, rather places you may never have considered before.
If you are looking for a suburban ski town with lots of family-friendly activities such as outdoor hikes and trips to the park, Logan is a great town to consider for your second home. With six different vibrant neighborhoods such as Adams, Hillcrest, and Bridger, there are plenty of areas within Logan to choose from for your winter home. Some popular activities in Logan include the Willow Park Zoo, strolling Historic Main Street, or visiting the Wind Caves. Because Utah is known for its skiing, there are many nearby resorts to choose from such as Powder Mountain, Solitude Mountain, Park City, Alta, and Beaver Mountain. You can’t go wrong with any as they all offer beautiful terrain and 360 mountain views.
You might know Spokane best as the home of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but there are many other reasons why owning a second home here is a wonderful option. The city has over 20 distinctive neighborhoods such as Kendall Yards, Manito, and South Perry, boasting local shops, restaurants, and parks. Spokane hosts many annual events including Hoopfest, which is the largest three on three tournament in the world, as well as the Lilac Bloomsday Run. If you like to explore by foot, the Centennial Trail offers quick access to award-winning Riverfront Park and downtown. During the colder months, expect Spokane to turn into a winter wonderland. The city provides access to five resorts including 49 Degrees North, Mount Spokane, Silver Mountain, Lookout Pass, and Schweitzer Mountain – all with qualities that make each resort unique.
New Mexico is known as ‘the land of enchantment’ so it’s no surprise that owning a winter home in Santa Fe comes with many exciting activities and places to explore. With over 40 neighborhoods such as Tesuque, Las Campanas, and El Dorado, there is no shortage of nature, museums, and shopping. For those who love art, take a stroll down Canyon Road to check out a handful of art galleries from local and renowned artists. If hiking is your passion, pay a visit to the beautiful Nambe Lake for calming dark green waters in the summer and a snow-covered surface in the winter. When it comes to skiing, Santa Fe offers proximity to many ski resorts such as Taos Ski Valley, Sipapu Ski Resort, Pajarito Mountain, and Ski Santa Fe, all around two hours or less from the city.
This gateway town into Mount Hood offers close proximity to both the mountain and Portland, OR. Government Camp provides quick access to nearby ski resorts such as Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, and Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. Perhaps the best thing about living in Government Camp is being surrounded by nature. Mt. Hood National Forest boasts many beautiful hikes such as Tamanawas Falls, Mirror Lake Loop Trail, and Angels Rest. If you are looking for more of the city life, Portland is around an hour and a half away with delicious food options, professional sports teams, and stunning views of the Willamette River.
Dubbed ‘the biggest little city in the world,’ Reno is a great place to own a winter home if you love casinos, shopping, and access to world-class skiing. About an hour from Lake Tahoe, Reno is close to over 10 ski resorts including Northstar, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Diamond Peak. Once you are done shredding the mountains, visit one of the local museums such as the National Automobile Museum to learn more about the history of cars. If you like to go on walks, the Truckee River Walk is a great trail to see stunning water views. During the fall, Reno hosts the Great Reno Balloon Race where spectators can see hundreds of hot air balloons blanket the sky.
Boise is best known as the capital of Idaho, but there are many aspects to the city that make this place stand out. If you are considering a winter home, Boise might be the place for you. With access to well-known resorts such as Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, and Sun Valley there are many ski-trails to explore no matter what skill level you are. When exploring the city, visit Lucky Peak or one of the many state parks, eat and drink at a brewery like 10 Barrel, or get a view of the city from the top of Table Rock. Nevertheless, Boise has so much to offer in terms of nightlife, food, and nature that you’ll rarely have a dull moment.
Since New Hampshire is known as the birthplace of American skiing, you may want to consider North Conway. This small village town is home to beautiful mountains, lush forests, and of course great ski terrain. Local favorite resorts include Cranmore Mountain, Attitash Mountain, Black Mountain, and Mount Washington. If you are looking to continue the fun after a day on the slopes, pay a visit to downtown where you can take an old-fashioned train ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. If you have the shopping-bug, there are many antique shops and craft stores to explore – especially since New Hampshire has no sales tax.
The town of Bend brings the best of city living and outdoor activities together in one place. Located along the Deschutes River, Bend is a notable option to consider for your winter home as it has great weather year-round and easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and bars. As a local, you can visit one of its 22 breweries, explore the art scene, stroll through the Old Mill District, or take a day trip to nearby Crater Lake National Park. The city is within 2 hours of a handful of ski resorts including Hoodoo Ski Area and Mt. Bachelor, which is the largest ski resort by area in Oregon.
Bellingham is a beautiful city located in Northern Washington. Being only one and a half hours from the North Cascades, locals flock to Mt. Baker Ski Area which gets some of the highest yearly averages of annual snowfall for any ski resort in the world. When not skiing, there are many reasons why this city would be a great place to call home. If you like ocean views, you can take a drive along Chuckanut Drive. Maybe farmers’ markets are your thing. There is a Saturday market every month at Depot Market Square. The city is also within driving distance to Vancouver, BC if you want to take a day trip across the border. Just don’t forget your passport.
When you think of Colorado, skiing may be the first thing that comes to mind. With over 30 ski resorts to choose from, it’s a no-brainer to look into owning a winter home in the Centennial State. For a little town filled with big fun, check out Dillon. Located near seven ski resorts, people can enjoy the world-class terrain of Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Vail, Copper, or Beaver Creek. For some more winter fun, be sure to pay a visit to the Ice Castles or take a stroll along the reservoir banks. Downtown Dillon is perfectly situated near the water and has a variety of local shops, eateries, and restaurants to choose from.
To find the top ten underrated ski towns, we compiled a list of recent rankings of critically acclaimed ski towns listed on 11 reputable websites. We then used snowfall data from nearby weather stations, averaging daily snowfall in the winter months. To get the final ranking of ski towns, we ranked the towns from highest snowfall to lowest and then from the lowest median sale price to highest. We then averaged the combined rankings to get the final results.
*Average daily snowfall in winter months and median home sale prices as of February 2021