The place ought to I retire ?: I can afford a house in a ski city for $ 300,000, however not if the HOA charges are $ 6,000 a yr. So the place can I retire?

We will hopefully retire in 2021 with an annual income from a pension of $ 30,000 to $ 40,000. I'd love to live in Summit County, Colorado, which has all that great stuff – mountain biking, skiing, paddling – but it's incredibly expensive.

When I retire, I plan to teach skiing and I would have liked to work at Copper Mountain, but I can't afford anything there. Do you have any advice on mountain areas where I can afford something? We could probably afford a $ 250,000 or $ 300,000 home, but not if the HOA fees are $ 6,000 a year.

Please tell me what you think I get desperate and discouraged.


Dear Mac,

Yes, popular ski towns are expensive. And as I pointed out to someone with the same problem but a bigger budget, it's not that officials in these places are rushing to build more homes. And the coronavirus pandemic has only made large mining towns more expensive by turning so many office workers into remote workers who then move to the mountains.

If you're interested in Summit County (home to not just Copper Mountain, but Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Ski Basin) then rent a season, ski (and teach – or maybe be a skier?) And off to your heart's content Remove from your bucket list? You may have to accept living in a smaller place than you are used to, but at least you lived your dream. You can always hope that you can find a head start on affordable permanent housing. I think of Silverthorne or Dillon.

If not Summit County, where else could you go? The bad news: other popular ski towns are also expensive. You will have a hard time being near the slopes in the west, which is arguably the best skiing in the US. When you're ready to be in an affordable city and then hit the slopes, check out Reno (suggested here) and see Salt Lake City. Grand Junction (suggested here) and Wenatchee, Washington (suggested here) are smaller options with skiing nearby.

Please be realistic about your budget. You know your lifestyle; Not me. Talk to the provider of your pension (or is it a 401 (k)?) For a more accurate estimate of your annual income – this area makes me nervous. How does social security fit in? How much can you earn as a new ski instructor at the resort? Don't forget to leave a line for income tax as you do the math.

And can you stash even more money before you retire and let it grow over the decades that you will still live? You won't run out of money in retirement.

After all of this, I asked MarketWatch's tool, "Where should I retire?" Following suggestions for your dream replacement spot, focusing on a ski town and a median home price below $ 300,000. You (and your wife) may have different criteria when off-piste that could lead to different suggestions.

There are still some compromises to be made on this wish list. Here are three places to get started:

Getty Images / iStockphoto

Logan, Utah

If you live in this northeast Utah city of 51,500, the Wellsville Mountains are your western backdrop. I'm a fan of university towns because of the added amenities they bring. This city is home to Utah State University and 19,000 students. The Milken Institute ranks it among the 10 best small metros for successful aging.

The skiing is in the east. Follow the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway to Beaver Mountain, a small family-run resort just below the Idaho state line. It has this powder from Utah but is little known outside of the locals. It's also small: only four lifts but 48 trails.

One downside to Logan is that it's 30 miles from the slopes. Garden City on the east side is half the way down and on Bear Lake, but it can be harder to find something in your price. On the flip side, you'd have the lake, the state's second largest freshwater lake and, as tourists say, blue water and sandy beaches so intense that it's the "Caribbean of the Rockies."

You can also drive to Cherry Peak, a smaller resort less than 20 miles north of Logan.

Here are some options for getting started with Logan. Or head to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to the north of the city and Beaver Mountain. Keep an eye out for the area's hot springs.

Of the three suggestions, this gives you the hottest, driest summer weather.

For a taste of the Logan property market, take a look at the listings on (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.).

Downtown Rutland

Getty Images / iStockphoto

Killington, Vermont

It's more likely to be Rutland, 15 miles from Killington Resort, the largest ski area on the east coast. (Pico Mountain is a nearby ski option.) Killington itself has fewer than 1,000 residents, and Mendon en route to Rutland has little more than that.

But Rutland has a population of 15,000, about a quarter of the 58,000 living in Rutland County. And housing will be cheaper here than in Logan.

One of the compromises you have to make is that skiing on the east coast is icier than the powder in the west.

Off-piste, you can start mountain biking at Pine Hill Park. Paddle board at Chittenden Reservoir 10 miles from Rutland or Lake Bomoseen (the state's largest lake) 20 miles away. You may also want to visit the 26 mile Delaware and Hudson Railroad. The north end is in Castleton, less than 15 miles west of Rutland. It meanders into New York State (where there's a void) and back to Vermont.

Here's what's on the market now, again using offers on

On the trail of the Coeur d & # 39; Alenes

Courtesy Idaho State Parks and Recreation

Kellogg, Idaho

This suggestion comes from's list of cheapest ski towns. Shoshone County, in the Idaho Panhandle, is not part of a government designated statistical metropolitan or micropolitan area and is therefore not included in the MarketWatch retirement tool.

Your ski area is the Silver Mountain Resort, right on the highway in town. It's said it gets 340 inches of snow per year and has seven lifts, 1,600 acres, and a 2,200-foot vertical drop.

Only 2,100 people live in Kellogg and fewer than 13,000 in the county. While it's not a booming area, it's 30 minutes from the fast-growing and more expensive Coeur d & # 39; Alene, Idaho, and an hour from Spokane, Wash.

The 73-mile paved path of the Coeur d’Alenes leads through the city, partly along the Coeur’d’Alene River. If you can't paddle in the river, head to the lakes around Coeur d'Alene.

The median home price fits your budget. The downside is that it's a small town so options are always limited. A Bit of History: This is a mining region, and a 1972 fire at the city's Sunshine Mine that killed 91 people is considered Idaho's worst mining disaster.

Here's what's on the market right now.

Reader, where should Mac and his wife retire? Leave your suggestions in the comment section.

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