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Thoughts on Living in Missoula?

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  • Thoughts on Living in Missoula?

    I’m considering a job in Missoula, MT. You folks tend to have the right ideas on places to live and lifestyle so I thought I would ask for some options.

    I currently live on the VT/NH boarder, a little north of WRJ. I like it. We have great access to skiing and mountain biking and having Dartmouth nearby brings good shows and has enough restaurants for me. I do have to drive a fair amount for work, grocery store, etc. but there is no traffic so it’s not much of a pain.

    I never been to Missoula. Looks like there is a ski area 20 minutes outside of town and the Bitterroots are close. Housing seems to be a bit more affordable than my corner of New England. I would most likely live in Missoula had have to drive less day to day.
    Last edited by TeleArrow; 6th July 2019, 10:02 PM.

  • #2
    Not sure about Missoula, but I was in the Bitterroots yesterday. Live in Spokane, which shares some of the same region between the two cities and I think their is tons to do within 2-3 hours of Missoula. Amazing amounts of trails by Forest Service. GNP and Canada Rockies are just over the border. My impression of Missoula, which we explored to live, was that five minutes out of town and your in the real west. There are some small ski lifts closer to Spokane along I-90 on the Idaho border that you may have missed that are cheap with decent vert. Here's some Bitteroots from the Missoula side from our 4th of July jaunt to top of Mt. Illinois at 7700', which looks like it sets up for some decent couloir shots. Summit shot looking over Bitterroots towards GNP. Go for it.... Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      I have only visited missoula once, but spent 3 years in your nook of the woods on the VT/NH boarder. Both are many years in that past, so take all the into account...

      turn oriented skiing, BC or lift, hands down, missoula. for close by, Snowbowl kicks the crap out of the dartmouth skiway, left, right, and center. And in the drive a little categroy, the easy weekend/week hits around missoula again, kick the crap out of all the premier places in VT/NH. There is just no comparing western skiing to NE skiing.

      XC skiing. not sure, but i have a feeling the golf coarse and oak hill have better groom XC (assumign they are still grooming), espeically for skating, than missoula.

      Road biking. Again, not sure, but i loved the road biking along the CT river, nice rolly terrain, lots of distance. Missoula will likely be up and down, windy, less shoulder.

      MTN biking. Again, not sure, but i expect it will more up/downhill biking vs the mtn biking i remember in WRJ area was more XC oriented.

      WW kayaking. I didn't kayak back in those days, but i remember there was at least some boating on the mascoma. Again, missoula, hands down, play, creek, and big water. especially when combined with easy trips.

      Town, missoula is probably not quite as much a college town as hanover. i liked it. In compare, i always felt that hanover was just a college town. Attitude wise, much chiller in missoula.

      weather. both will get very cold in winter, but missoula should be milder. i don't think i have picked ice from my eye lashes since leaving your area. Summer, way less humid.

      Personally, i'd choose to live in missoula over norwich or thetford or lyme which must be where or near where you are now.

      but there is no substitute for a visit, if you haven't, you kinda have to.


      • #4
        I just moved from Missoula to Anchorage, AK this spring. I lived in Missoula 7 years while I worked on my PhD. I also worked on skiing . In that same time I went from no abilities to tele skier.

        Western Montana has amazing backcountry, nordic, and lift-served skiing. Mountain biking is amazing there too. Nordic skiing? Rattlesnake and Pattee Canyon Recreation Areas (10-15 min from town) have you covered. I would "adventure nordic" ski in the Pattee Canyon area - some of the most fun skiing I ever did. In the summer, Pattee Canyon has some good huckleberry picking. The general wildness will blow you away coming from the east coast - actual designated Wilderness surrounds Missoula.

        People are very friendly, and there are lots of great breweries (& cider too!). In the summer, the city puts on 2 free music festivals a week. There are brewfests galore. If you like to play on the water there is plenty of that too - a river runs through it... There is a solid telemark community there too - the tele race series at Montana Snowbowl is the longest continuously running in the country I think. There is also a fantastic 5-week randonee race series in January-February (more my style than the pure downhill), with plenty of tele-participants.

        The Snowbowl ski area is kinda funky. It's a fun place to ski, but it's not exactly well-run. The lifts are old and breakdown often (you could sit up there for 30min to an hour), the bathrooms are cleaned once a decade, and there are some grumpy characters running the place. I preferred to skin up in off-hours and after they close for the season (occasionally before too!). The Discovery ski area about an hour or so east is money well spent if you want a few lift days. Huge variety of terrain.

        I miss the place already. Really amazingly charming town with so much great recreation. I highly recommend it if you have a job offer there - that's the hardest thing to find in Missoula!


        • #5
          Some may find the light and space in the West overwhelming.


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses so far!

            I have a phone interview on Tuesday. If they select me I will probably only have a few days to decide. No time for a trip out there to see for myself.


            • #7
              Missoula is a great and fun town with plenty of music too. Only bad thing the North/South highway is a PITA in the summer. Climbing to be had in the area good fishing, and the town has the University and college vibe. Like VT said plenty of skiers drive to Lookout too.


              • #8
                I doubt you will regret living in Missoula but being able to spend less time driving is not really what the West is about. But we tend to cover more miles in the same space of time.


                • #9
                  Other ski options from missoula = lost trail pass and chief Joseph nordic area (1.5 hours), discovery basin (1+ hour), lolo pass backcountry, whitefish (2.5 hours). Missoula has a great parks and bike trail system and big rivers right in town. Lots of outdoor opportunities within a couple hours. Can be grey and wet in winter.


                  • #10
                    One thing I've noticed about norther MT/ID is it hails somewhere everyday and seems to be quite weathery in summer with lightening and downpours around the mts fairly common.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TeleArrow View Post
                      Thanks for the responses so far!

                      I have a phone interview on Tuesday. If they select me I will probably only have a few days to decide. No time for a trip out there to see for myself.
                      They would hire you without a visit to the business? That seems unusual. I think you would want to at least spend a day or two in the office/workspace and then hang out for a long weekend in Missoula before making that kind of commitment.