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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-02-08, 06:53 PM   #1
nonpareil
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Car-free city with accessible XC skiing?

Looking for opinions and input on a good city with dependable snow to live a bike-based lifestyle where I can still walk, ski or bus to XC ski trails - I must have my skiing. I'm open to any part of the lower 48, but it must have dependable snow, which rules out a place like Minneapolis. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:27 PM   #2
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What about a small town, like Fargo or something?
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Old 01-02-08, 07:48 PM   #3
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OK, I'm going on thirty year old information, which is when I last lived there, but it's still just as cycling accessible as I remember it: Erie, PA. I lived without a car, or with the car parked 99% of the time, got around on a Raleigh 3-speed, or whatever collection of 10-speeds I had at the time.

Big pluses: From Lake Erie south to 18th street (the town's laid out in a grid, numeric streets are east/west), it's flat. Heading south from 18th Street going back to I-90 you've got a constant rise, but nothing that an English 3-speed with a fit rider couldn't easily handle. Presque Isle State Park is a 17-mile loop out into the lake, excellent for daily training, and good XC skiing in the winter.

Winter - can you say lake effect snows? We're talking the same weather that occasionally shuts down Buffalo, only Buffalo gets all the publicity. Heading east on US20 or I-90 through Northeast, PA and Ripley, NY you run into a number of ski areas, and XC was welcomed there back when it first got going.

Rereading your initial post, OK, living in the city probably means having to drive to ski areas. Live south of the city, just south of I-90 and you're in the lake effect belt. Find yourself a place in the open area and just strap your skiis on at the back door. That's how I used to do it.
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Old 01-02-08, 09:09 PM   #4
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Boulder, Flagstaff, Salt Lake, Taos, Glenwood Colorado. Ogden Utah, Billings, Bozeman, shall I keep going?
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Old 01-02-08, 10:28 PM   #5
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After the first real snow of the season here, I was riding on a street along a park. It took me a long while to figure out that the strange tracks in the snow were from cross-country skis. This was well within the city limits.

They also don't plow the MUPs here so that XC skiers can use them.
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Old 01-03-08, 02:48 PM   #6
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Any of the lake effect snow cities (usually south and east shores) of the Great Lakes will do you just fine.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:54 PM   #7
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Winnipeg!!
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Old 01-03-08, 04:03 PM   #8
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Big Bear Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Or for a change, go to Palm Springs. Daytime temps are often in the 70s in winter and you can take a 15 minute Tram ride up to Mt. San Jacinto and enjoy XC skiing in Long Valley.

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Old 01-03-08, 04:47 PM   #9
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I assume it snows a lot in Burlington VT.
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Old 01-03-08, 05:08 PM   #10
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Portland, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Hood.

Bend, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Bachelor.

Ashland, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Ashland.

Personally, I'd pick Portland. Daily bus service to stops in the coast range (fantastic mountain bike trails) and Oregon coast. Too many retired Californians in Bend and Ashland. Property prices are outrageous in all three as compared to income. There was an article in the paper this morning comparing housing prices and home ownership between Iowa and Oregon. Housing costs three times as much in Oregon with about the same average income. Of course, there's a reason for that. People like living here. Even when its raining.
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Old 01-03-08, 07:54 PM   #11
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Not all people! Rain sucks.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:32 PM   #12
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I live right in town. I live within a two miles of three parks with nice cross-country ski trails. Sure, they are only about 2 to 3 mile long trails, but it is great to lash the skis to my bicycle and ride to a trail for a quick lunch-time ski. Not enough? Do it twice.

I love it. We are having a great snow year and the trails have been great all of December.
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Old 01-04-08, 12:51 AM   #13
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Minneapolis has places that makes snow (accessible) now so I'm not sure if that is dependable enough?
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Old 01-04-08, 06:49 AM   #14
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Chicago. Absolutely the best city to live in during the summer. Street festivals every weekend. Bike culture securely in place. Also, plenty of cross country skiing on the lakefront due to lake effect snow. If you moved to Chicago, you would not be sorry.

Crosscountry skiing around Chicagoland....
http://www.chicagowilderness.org/exp.../ski/index.cfm

Found this little presentation online for getting out and about in and around Chicago.....
http://astro.uchicago.edu/~coble/pho...ac/top_ten.pdf

Also here is a link that shows different areas all within the city limits that are specifically used in the winter for crosscountry skiing.....
http://www.chicagoaa.com/news/30211.html
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Old 01-04-08, 09:39 AM   #15
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Chicago in the summer? Umm, boy, give me some of that Chicagoland sweltering, humid, summer heat. I get a sweat on just thinking about the summer I spent there. I though Indiana was bad in the summer until I lived there. Florida would be a close second for the worst summer I ever spent. The commute for the xc ski is a little longer though.
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Old 01-04-08, 11:12 AM   #16
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jackson, nh.
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Old 01-04-08, 07:36 PM   #17
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How 'bout Leavenworth WA? It's small, cute and stunning. It is a ways out there but that can be a good thing.

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Old 01-06-08, 01:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by vincentpaul View Post
Chicago in the summer? Umm, boy, give me some of that Chicagoland sweltering, humid, summer heat. I get a sweat on just thinking about the summer I spent there. I though Indiana was bad in the summer until I lived there. Florida would be a close second for the worst summer I ever spent. The commute for the xc ski is a little longer though.
Yes, Chicago in the Summer. Also, Chicago in the Spring and Chicago in the Fall. And since nonpareil is into crosscountry skiing, I can confidently say Chicago in the Winter.

This past Summer, I think I only used my window AC unit for four days. You must have visited during a bad heat wave or something because Chicago is NOT known for bad Summer weather. And, if you do get too hot you can go down to the miles upon miles of lakefront and be comforted by the cool breeze off the lake. Do a search for Chicago in the Summer and you will see how great a place Chicago is to live.

http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/w...meEnumValue=38

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Old 01-06-08, 07:13 PM   #19
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Old 01-07-08, 06:09 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
Looking for opinions and input on a good city with dependable snow to live a bike-based lifestyle where I can still walk, ski or bus to XC ski trails - I must have my skiing. I'm open to any part of the lower 48, but it must have dependable snow, which rules out a place like Minneapolis. Any ideas? Thanks.
I'm car free in Anchorage. Plenty of x-country skiing here, though cycling in the winter can get kinda scary. We have half a year of snow and ice. Fairbanks is also nicer than people think, with less insane traffic and some truly fantastic x-country skiing. You can strap on your skis and keep going for hundreds of miles.

Cities where you have to drive off to the snow and find parking, pay fees, etc. are going to make a car free lifestyle more difficult.

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Old 01-07-08, 08:50 PM   #21
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I'm car free in Anchorage. Plenty of x-country skiing here, though cycling in the winter can get kinda scary. We have half a year of snow and ice. Fairbanks is also nicer than people think, with less insane traffic and some truly fantastic x-country skiing. You can strap on your skis and keep going for hundreds of miles.

Cities where you have to drive off to the snow and find parking, pay fees, etc. are going to make a car free lifestyle more difficult.
Interesting you mentioned Anchorage. This site (listed below) that I dug up compared a number of cities for close-by XC skiing and ranked Anchorage numero uno. I actually lived in Bend for a few years but besides not caring much for the town the skiing was 20 mins. to a half-hour away - not bad for a car but tough in the winter on a bike. I currently live a hard two hour drive from the mountains, i.e. skiing, that I'm tired of having to deal with - as Cosmoline said. I drive more to ski than anywhere else and I've had it. Such is life in the West. Too car-based for me. I've had enough high-altitude fun to last a lifetime.

So it looks like the Upper Midwest for me, either Duluth or Marquette (both good cycling towns from what I've heard), where the snow comes to me instead of vice versa. I figure I can bike anywhere so it all comes down to winter sports for me. Thanks for all the responses so far.

http://www.fasterskier.com/travel.ph...583e022df92465
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Old 01-08-08, 12:20 AM   #22
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Portland, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Hood.
Northwest snow is kind of cruddy for XC skiing, and the bus services aren't as frequent as I'd like. Also, I beleive most of them go to the downhill areas. At least the ones I know about.

Quote:
Bend, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Bachelor.
Bend has gotten pretty sprawly, though if the downtown is still compact, along with older neighborhoods, it might be a good bet. The skiing is certainly fantastic.

Quote:
Ashland, Oregon. Lots of shuttle services to the mountain. Mt. Ashland.
Ashland is a very nice town, but also outrageously expensive. Depends on the OP's financial situation I suppose.

I agree with the rest of that analysis
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Old 01-08-08, 01:20 AM   #23
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Novosibirsk, Russia. 1.5 million people in that southwestern Siberian city. We lived downtown, and had a bus stop five minutes away on a bus route that took us right to some top-notch XC skiing trails. The ride wasn't that long either. Some of the best memories of my childhood.
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Old 01-08-08, 04:19 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
So it looks like the Upper Midwest for me, either Duluth or Marquette (both good cycling towns from what I've heard), where the snow comes to me instead of vice versa. I figure I can bike anywhere so it all comes down to winter sports for me. Thanks for all the responses so far.
And if you're really tough you can surf in Lake Superior in the summer.
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Old 01-08-08, 11:22 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
So it looks like the Upper Midwest for me, either Duluth or Marquette (both good cycling towns from what I've heard), where the snow comes to me instead of vice versa. I figure I can bike anywhere so it all comes down to winter sports for me. Thanks for all the responses so far.

http://www.fasterskier.com/travel.ph...583e022df92465
Hey, I've xc skied in Duluth at Spirit Mountain, which is literally just a couple of miles above the west end of town. Temps in Duluth are pretty consistently below freezing during winter, which makes waxing easy. If you skate ski, it makes for some very fast gliding! Lots of other smaller towns in MN have some good xc trails too, like Giant Ridge at Biwabik (sp?? sorry).
I agree that in the west, a xc skiing trip often involves long road trips, which explains why living here in southern cal I rarely slap on the skinny skis. The big blizzards that just unloaded at Mammoth make it tempting, but 10 hours round trip by car don't make that sound quite as good.
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