Steamboat ranked No. 2 ski town

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A lot of skiers dream about moving to a ski town, but not everyone wants to give up a challenging profession to live ski-bum style.

According to the latest edition of "Skiing," there are 10 towns where you can have your skiing and stimulating job, too. Steamboat Springs came in at No. 2 on the magazine's list, just behind top-rated Jackson, Wyo.

"I think anybody who skis regularly or spends a lot of time participating in mountain sports at the very least fantasizes about living in a ski town," said Mike Kessler, executive editor of "Skiing" who co-edited the article. "That was sort of the thrust of this ... how to move to a ski town without necessarily becoming a ski bum."

Vail rounded out the top three ski towns in America.

The study should not be confused with the magazine's top 25 resorts ranking, which runs in November, Kessler said.

"Skiing" began the search to discover the most livable ski towns by hiring a freelance journalist and independent statistician, who since has joined the magazine's staff, to collect hard numbers to compare ski towns, Kessler said.

There were some guidelines: Towns had to have a population of between 5,000 and 50,000, and had to be within 35 minutes of 1,800 vertical feet of lift-serviced skiing.

Statistics were collected on skiing and economics in the towns, pulling in measures of skiable acreage, vertical feet and snowfall, as well as measures of median home price, median rental price and per capita income. One overall score was determined for each town from those measurements.

With those numbers, the magazine determined the top 10 ski towns, then sent journalist Jason Daley to talk with local professionals, skiers and others to give a broad overview of what life in the town is like, "essentially to give testimony on the merits and or difficulties of living in these towns," Kessler said.

The article is in the September issue of "Skiing," which recently hit newsstands. Although Kessler has yet to get feedback on the stories, he said it's a package that he's really happy with.

It should be interesting to residents who reside in the top 10 ski towns, he said, as well as city residents who are dreaming of the day they can move to the mountains.

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