Why We Chose Utah

It’s been nearly 17 years since we moved to Park City. We love living in this town and adore being in Utah. We chose Park City for many reasons and anyone who lives here will probably nod along as I talk about why we chose Utah — and Park City — as our place to be – to run our web design agency, live our lives, and raise a family. I hope you enjoy.

Preamble: Five Years in the Wilderness

While settling in Utah wasn’t a full-blown foregone conclusion, our final destination was always going to be somewhere in the Intermountain West or the Rocky Mountains. Kari and I first met in our early 20s, living the ski-bum lifestyle in Crested Butte, Colorado. Having both grown up in the Midwest (Minnesota), those years were extremely formative and cemented our love for the mountain lifestyle. So yeah, it was always going to be the West.

Ski-bumming your twenties is all fine and good, but eventually we wanted more. And we decided to see if building a life in our home state could work. Well, as nice as Minnesota is, and as wonderful a city as Minneapolis is, no.

No — it could not work.

We gave it a good solid five years. Learned a lot, gained skills, rebuilt a house and most profoundly, had our first kid. Having family close was nice, and may have been even nicer with a newborn, but we ultimately missed the mountains too much. We quit jobs, sold the house, and made the move.

Utah vs the Other States

When you love living in the mountains, and all the amenities therein, being in or near a ski town is essential. We thought about Crested Butte; we spent time in Durango. We visited new towns and revisited some of the places we lived and to this day we still hold a small candle for Colorado. But… It just didn’t feel right. It was too expensive, the good towns were very isolated, and the skiing was, well it felt like the snow gods just stopped spreading the love to Colorado. We toured Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming (Jackson) and all were a no-go. Having spent a year skiing Snowbird back in 2000, Utah was an easy choice.

Park City? Why Yes, of Course

After ultimately ruling out any place in Colorado, choosing Utah was easy. And choosing Park City was even easier. We love so many things about this state and living in Park City was a no-brainer. Here’s why:

Affordable? Yes It Was

Looking today at home prices, you may not believe that Park City was about the most affordable ski town back in 2007. There were still pockets of affordable homes in affordable Park City neighborhoods. Much of that was because of the economic issues at the time — The Great Recession and all — but we were able to stretch ourselves a bit, got struck with a whole lot of luck, and bought into a fixer-upper home in one of PC’s quainter neighborhoods.

Then in 2017 we got lucky again and were able to purchase a small studio office space to run Spigot out of. It’s been a perfect location to meet clients and collaborate with the team.

This year we will be remodeling to add a second-floor mezzanine and hopefully cut down on the massive echo. Here are a few more pics of the studio before (remodel photos TBD).

Diverse Economy

For all the awesome a ski town can produce, a diverse economy is not usually on the list. Lots of service industry work and little of everything else. Not always, but that was our experience in Crested Butte, Big Sky, and even Jackson. Not so in Park City…

Quite a few bigger organizations call Park City home — Rossignol, Skullcandy, and Backcountry.com are a few, and Powdr Corp is moving into our building soon. As a bedroom community for Salt Lake, PC is home to a widely diverse community and workforce. Technology folks, creatives, and entrepreneurs are moving here.

What that means for Spigot is reflected in our diverse set of clients, from small government agencies to educational organizations, Park City has been a great place to meet and support a wide variety of clientele.

The Greatest Outdoors

Colorado has some pretty good places to get out and about outdoors, but Utah has so much more. There’s the world-class skiing of course — 14 resorts with the “Greatest Snow on Earth” — but then there’s mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, climbing, river rafting, and kayaking. There is so much to do here, and maybe most uniquely, canyoneering.

Image of a vast Utah canyon with a lone canyoneer sitting on the precipice.
Kari contemplates the meaning of life

Close to Salt Lake, Yet So Far Away

While we never really jibed well in the big city, there’s some comfort in being so close to Salt Lake City. Even though it’s only about 30 minutes away, Parley’s Canyon provides a cozy buffer between our quaint ski town and the bustling city. Reality is never that poetic, but here are a few awesome things about being so close to SLC.

The Airport

We don’t fly a ton, but it’s nice being so close to pick up friends and family who come to visit. I’ve heard it’s pretty great too for ski tourists to get on an early flight and be skiing in the afternoon.

Economic Ties

Being so close to a major metropolitan area is a big reason for Park City’s diverse economy. The large workforce, businesses, and industries all contribute. Many of our best customers are Salt Lake-based.

Sports, Sports, Sports

If you like sports, and I sometimes do, then Salt Lake has it going on. Real Salt Lake, the Jazz, and I hear rumblings of the city trying to attract a Major League Baseball team AND a National Hockey League team. I love hockey and would be glad to support a local team instead of long-suffering with childhood teams in Minnesota.

A Great Place to Raise Kids

Park City has been a great place to start and grow Spigot. Great people, great clients. But perhaps even better, Park City has been the perfect place to raise our two kids. Here’s why Park City has been the perfect place for our family.

Safe Community

Despite all the tourist traffic, Park City has a small-town feel — safe, clean, and family-oriented. It’s been easy to find like-minded families and community-building events. Our kids have found no shortage of friends here.

Great Schools

From the beginning when the kids were in preschool, the education has been top-notch. Great schools, great teachers, rigorous academics, and arts. Park City ranks well in Utah as well as nationally.

Olympic-level Opportunities

Park City’s legacy as a host for the 2002 Winter Olympics helped make it a world-class training ground for Olympic and elite-level athletes. This spills over into opportunities for the kids and community. Our kids have actual ex-Olympians as coaches and it has helped propel them into a sport they may have never known in most other places. Pretty cool to say both of my kids have become pretty decent Nordic skiers.

I told them when they were younger, “Someday, you’ll be bigger, stronger, and faster than me!” before wrestling them to the ground with a “But not TODAY!”. Well, that day came and went pretty quickly.

We’re Still Happy Here

All in all, Park City has been a great place to build and grow our web design and marketing business. Spigot may not have done nearly as well in so many other places. And PC has been a fantastic place to raise the family. We’ve discussed over the years where we might move after the kids graduate from high school, but the most likely and best scenario is that we’ll stay right here. Where else could we get as much, so close at hand?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready for a refreshing experience on your next website design?