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  1. #1
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    Provo area, for biking, and non-mormon relocation - family - ?

    We are considering Provo area because of a career job. We have 2 kids, and are not hard core riders but would love to do more riding, I have been in Houston but grew up on East coast technical terrain, have ridden Moab in past.

    Anyway, I realize any of the riding there is better than here. The area looks beautiful. We drove through from Canyons to Provo on our way back to Houston. Provo looked nice, the university takes up a lot of the town it seems.

    How good is the riding in Provo area, or do you have to drive to Park City area where I hear there are miles and miles of trails? We have only been there for snowboarding which is epic.

    Also, we are very non-religious and have been known to drink and even brew beer. I am very tolerant of others, open minded, but wonder if Provo maybe too Mormon for us? Would the whole town be too stifling, or can someone give some feedback. Thanks, I know its a bit OffTopic..

  2. #2
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    Stifling is a good description of Provo to a non mormon. STIFLING!!!!! with huge caps and lots of exclamation points would be more accurate. It's ground zero of the religion and everything near that town is dominated by it. Very hard for folks not of the faith to have anything resembling a normal life there. You'd give up an awful lot, the culture is not very flexible or tolerant. They know they own the place and they act like it. The church is the government there. But there's some nice riding nearby (google Nebo Loop) and it's 3 hours to Moab.

  3. #3
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    Provo is the most religious city in the state. However, the church is not the government there, the people are. And because most of the people are LDS, they vote conservatively. That's typical of any place. I hate it when people blame the local government on the church. I am not LDS btw. Provo has decent riding. Mostly in Provo Canyon and along the benches near Orem. Personally I'd look into several of the nearby cities but that is mostly because I don't like living in University towns if I can help it. Your life is what you make of it, if you like certain things, you'll make friends who do those things or tolerate them enough to hang out with. No one is going to look down on you or hate you because you aren't Mormon. I had a hard time adjusting for about a year or so when I moved here from Seattle in 1998 but now I love it. Good luck!
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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  4. #4
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    I have a non-Mormon friend who grew up in Salt Lake during the 60's and didn't feel like he had a bad time of it as a kid. I imagine it's not any worse now. I live up in Park City which is a bit insulated. Though the people up here have their foibles as well! I'm about ready to shave my head and move to a secluded mountain retreat...but I'm already bald and NEED my Costco. No place is perfect and people are, after all - people.

  5. #5
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    Based on our experience re-locating to Utah from Ohio and stories I've heard since living in Utah for two years, I'd recommend looking somewhere other than Provo/Orem/Lehi, aka Utah valley. Are you ready for mormon parents to tell their kids not to talk to your kids because your kids aren't mormon? Are you ready for classmates, teachers, and school administrators to single-out your kids because they're not mormon? Extreme examples, but this stuff does happen.

    Besides, there are other areas of Utah with much better recreation and trail access if that is a major consideration. The Salt Lake valley neighbors Utah valley and is much more "normal" even though the two are right next to each other. Cottonwood Heights in SLC, Park City and surrounding area, Heber City, even Ogden would all be places to consider.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    However, the church is not the government there, the people are.
    Tell that to the Eagle Forum and Gayle Ruzicka.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I have a non-Mormon friend who grew up in Salt Lake during the 60's and didn't feel like he had a bad time of it as a kid.
    Salt Lake City is one of the most liberal and diverse cities in Utah, which can't be said with a straight face about Provo.

    I grew up as a heathen in Logan in the 60's and 70's. My mind was blown when I went away to college. Yet here I am still living in the Chosen Land.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by miller542 View Post
    Are you ready for mormon parents to tell their kids not to talk to your kids because your kids aren't mormon? Are you ready for classmates, teachers, and school administrators to single-out your kids because they're not mormon? Extreme examples, but this stuff does happen.
    Has this actually happened to you or is it internet stories?

    I grew up in Provo as a non-member and loved it because my friends in church always had activities and only invited me to do the fun stuff. I have heard several of these stories and ask some of my friends with kids that still live in Provo and they say it's bunk as well.

    Provo is a great place to live, but not at the top of the list for riding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedeathstar View Post
    Provo is....not at the top of the list for riding.
    Which is the important part of this discussion. There are other areas of Utah with better access to trails and recreation.

  9. #9
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    So I guess the answer is no, but thanks for your histrionic ramblings.

    With regard to riding, there are some really fun trails up Provo Canyon and really close proximity to trails south of Salt Lake and in Payson. It's less than 4 hours from St. George, and a little more to Moab. Not a bad spot for riding.

  10. #10
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    Well the "background" is what I was looking for in this posting and glad to get some feedback. I had a Morman friend a few years ago on a joint job but we did not live close and jobs took us different directions. He was good guy and funny. But I have read some books understand what a big part of people's life the church is - obviously not just a one day a week, they have things for kids, meetings, all sorts of things...great if you are a member. I just wonder about the kids feeling "outside" the club being heathens and getting hassled.

    I also like the posts that are positive regarding the experience. The job is not certain but interviewing, and we drove through Provo as I mentioned, it looked beautiful.

    I think I could find great riding compared to Texas all over the place, but yes prefer SLC or Odgen, even Park City (we snowboard!). There is a great deal of difference between 80's and prior Utah and 2013 Utah, Park City actually feels like any other ski town.

    yes, i do ramble. thanks for reading and feedback.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedeathstar View Post
    Has this actually happened to you or is it internet stories?

    I grew up in Provo as a non-member and loved it because my friends in church always had activities and only invited me to do the fun stuff. I have heard several of these stories and ask some of my friends with kids that still live in Provo and they say it's bunk as well.

    Provo is a great place to live, but not at the top of the list for riding.
    Not in Provo, but it and similar things have happened to me, friends, and family members.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  12. #12
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    How far are you willing to commute?

  13. #13
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    Re: biking, I would prefer to be as far north as possible in Utah County. In the Highland/Alpine/Cedar Hills/PG area. I think the best riding in Utah Co. in the area around American Fork Canyon. I actually think that would be a fantastic place to live, so that is where I would look, personally.

    Re: culture, it is like anywhere else -- there is a dominant "culture," if you will. 90% of the "non-members" I know seem love it here, don't have any issues with the dominant paradigm. 10% do seem to have problems, but I suspect they can't really get along with people wherever they go. Ie, they blame everyone else for their problems ("my kid only gets bad grades because he is not a Mormon") or have conspiracy issues ("the church controls the government here and will not allow activities on Monday nights"), or just have a hard time being in the minority when people believe or do things that they do not (ie, they assume everyone else sees them as a heathen and that everyone is "judging them" as they take their 6-pack to the checkout line at the store).

    I am LDS (grew up on the West Coast, transplant to Utah), and culturally/socially, we are like every other group of people. Most of us could care less what you do as far as brewing beer, going to church, whatever. A small percentage are irritating wackos. Just the way any social group pans out, unfortunately. If you are of average social competence, there should be little issue integrating. The real issue that I do see is that it can be somewhat of a tight-knit community, due mostly to the fact that we Mormons spend a lot of time together on our church responsibilities. It isn't that we want to exclude non-members, it is just that you are friends with people you know, that is all. The issue you will have in Provo is that 70-80% of the people are LDS, compared to 40-50% in other areas. So that means 70% of neighbors in Provo will already know each other pretty well through their mutual interest, and as a result, I understand how it could be a little harder to get to know people in the Provo area.
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  14. #14
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    If you're willing to commute a little, look at the Draper area near Corner Canyon. Definitely some great opportunities there for close-in trails. While I live in Salt Lake City, I have some close non-LDS friends that live in Draper just south of Highland drive. They are midwest transplants and send their two daughters to a charter school in Sandy. And yes, they are surrounded by primarily LDS but it doesn't seem to bother them.

    And this....
    Re: culture, it is like anywhere else
    ..not so much. I've lived a lot of places throughout the US and Utah is um...special... in it's monoculture. That being said, you will find your tribe.

    If you're unsure of trail networks and locations, spend some time on utahmountainbiking.com and skidmap.com

  15. #15
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    Draper...hmm... only 1/2 hour commute, in Houston that is close by! Interesting. Yea, that sounds better from both two wheel and social perspective. I don't imagine I'd have lot in common with many neighbors in Provo and I am a bit of a social person, plus closer to slopes (at least via highway) too. We'll see how the job pans out. I would like to get out of Houston, but its friendly, cheap housing, warm (ok hot & humid)...but flat. Hard to find very challenging traisl here, but towards Austin good and Dallas has fair bit, however that is about 3-4 hours away.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by charcist View Post
    If you're willing to commute a little, look at the Draper area near Corner Canyon. Definitely some great opportunities there for close-in trails. (snip)
    If you're unsure of trail networks and locations, spend some time on utahmountainbiking.com and skidmap.com
    Where is corner canyon? I am looking at google maps...see some parks, etc but nothing called that.
    Thanks again for advice.

  17. #17
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    I would agree with most of what has been said here already. I live in downtown SLC, and I avoid Utah County as much as I can. But, I'm somewhat optimistic about the changes that will be happening there in the next few years. There are a lot of high-tech jobs moving into the northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County area, which will bring a lot of well-educated non-locals into that part of the state.

    I'm sure the demographics will be changing, but it will likely take 5 to 10 years to have much of an effect on the laws, politics, and culture of that area. Meanwhile, if you do move to Provo, just do your own thing and you'll find other people who are doing those things too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkdaddy View Post
    Where is corner canyon? I am looking at google maps...see some parks, etc but nothing called that.
    Thanks again for advice.
    This is a zoomed-in view of the Corner Canyon trails: The Skid Map

  19. #19
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    We the people ...

    Corner Canyon on Skidmap

    Then look a little to the southeast from corner canyon and you'll see the mess of trails Lambert Park in Alpine. Make sure you're looking at a topo map as they seem close, but not really.

    Growing up in Texas, I can say that this place is better. And when the ocean's rise, your feet will be dry here. However, you might need a winter coat now....

  20. #20
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    Draper seems like a good compromise for you. non-mormon opinion: Tystevens' response seemed pretty level headed. Extreme cases aside, the reality of such a tight knit community will be evident, probably best to avoid it if you can. ( unless you like that sort of challenge )

    When I was new, I used to get upset and think a lot about the Mormons and their influence, now I see a lot of reverse discrimination and stereotyping from the non-mormon crowd.

    Don't get me wrong - i dislike much of their views, but this is america and that's what getting along is all about.

    There is better riding, but draper/corner canyon offers a pretty good compromise for access.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcpunk View Post
    When I was new, I used to get upset and think a lot about the Mormons and their influence, now I see a lot of reverse discrimination and stereotyping from the non-mormon crowd.
    There is a bit of a rift between the groups at times, especially, I think, where there is not a lot of inter-mixing. It isn't so bad in established neighborhoods where everyone eventually gets to know each other. At least, I believe that to be the case in my neighborhood. But, for example, during undergrad at the U of Utah, my major (environmental sciences) was pretty non-LDS. And my appearance at the time (visible hippie sun tattoo, longish hair left from a little too much Pacific Northwest in my formative years) provided plenty of visual indicators that would lead someone to assume I was not a Mormon. There were more than one occasion where I noticed that people would suddenly limit their associations with me once it would come up, for whatever reason, that I was active LDS. I don't think that many of them were prejudiced against me, they just figured we had nothing in common so why would they seek to strike up a friendship. That or they thought I had horns, would try to convert them, or be offended by their actions, I don't know. But it is something that you come across living here from time to time -- some (not most) will try to immediately put you in a "one of them" box and treat you as such.

    But it is not much different than when I lived in Eugene or Portland, Oregon (which are highly liberal communities), where I was in the minority as a Christian and particularly as a conservative Republican. Most of the people with different beliefs than me were fine with it, and there were seldom any issues. A few people would attack me for it, and such was life. I didn't leave because of that -- I left because of the rain and the fact that, after a taste of Utah powder, I couldn't bear the thought of skiing anywhere else!

    And that brings me to my final point -- none of the social or religious concerns would prevent me from living in what I believe has the best outdoor recreation opportunities of any metro area in the United States! The rec options here are mind-blowing, really, when you consider how close the skiing and riding really is to the city. No where else could I be from my metro office to world class skiing and riding within 30 minutes. I have lived in Portland and Denver (2 cities lauded for their outdoor rec), and it really isn't even close.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    particularly as a conservative Republican.
    That is the other thing that really helps one to live with the status quo in Utah.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  23. #23
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    One of the most common things we hear from non-mormons who move to Utah is some complaint about the stifling lack of diversity. Diversity... really? Utah is one of the few places in the US that still has a truly unique and distinctive culture. And you want to kill that? What you really mean by diversity is that you want Utah to conform to the social and cultural norms of the rest of the United States. Hows that for diversity?

    As someone else said, if you are not totally socially tone deaf you can find friends and fit in. It is the people that move here and do nothing but complain about the culture that have a hard time fitting in.

    If you move to Mexico and complain about all the Mexicans - you are going to have a bad time. If you move to London and continually talk about how you do things the right way back in the good old USA - you are going to have a bad time. If you move to France and whine about the lack of triple stack cheeseburgers available at 2 in the morning and how there are no fatty scooters in the grocery store - you are going to have a bad time. Likewise, dont move to Utah and complain about all the Utahns.

    Mormons are not the borg. They do not demand that you be assimilated. (Though they will probably bring you a plate of cookies and let you know when church starts ) Just show a little cultural sensitivity, some tolerance, and dont be a flipping jerk about how superior your ways are to theirs. You will be fine.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkinite View Post
    Likewise, dont move to Utah and complain about all the Utahns.
    And then there is the "Utah: Love It Or Leave It" component of the population. For what it's worth, I was born in Utah, I'm from Pioneer Stock (as they say) but I'm not Mormon. The fact is, a lot of Mormons in Utah feel that they own the state, and don't need to accommodate anything that conflicts with their religious values. You see it most often in the liquor laws which control drinking, bars, and restaurants, but you'll also see it in issues such as the management of public lands, education policy, support for gay rights, environmental regulations, etc.

    If you move here, and complain about anything, eventually a self-appointed representative of the Majority Culture will invite you to move to Las Vegas.
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  25. #25
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    I'm going to go a different direction with this. For background, my family moved here about 1 year ago, and we LOVE it (we're in SLC right by the U, so one of the least Mormon parts of the entire state).

    -Mormons are like everyone else in most ways and if you can handle the politics of the state being basically conservative and reactionary, you will be fine on that front. You will make friends, your kids will make friends, you will occasionally get bothered in subtle and not-so-subtle ways about checking out the church but nobody will twist your arm. So it's fine.
    -The riding is awesome. You already knew that.
    -The winter activities and snow are likewise awesome.

    But here's the downer - if you live in the valley (Provo is especially bad), you are going to suffer through the inversion. The particulate matter levels in the air are crazy bad and Utah has really high rates of asthma as well as autism, both of which correlate to some extent at least with the air quality. If your wife gets pregnant during the winter, you should probably leave for a while. Seriously, it's that bad. We're lucky enough that we've just set things up so that we can just leave and go out of state during inversion season but if you're stuck here, it's not good for your long term health or the health of your kids. I would think long and hard about it if your kids are very young or you're thinking of having more. Ozone levels in the summer can be really bad as well (and ozone is also very bad for your lungs).

    There is basically zero chance the situation will improve, too, due to a combination of poor topography, growing population, and very anti-environmental attitudes. Presumably someday autism, asthma, elderly people dying of heart attacks, etc. will force the church to take some kind of a stand on pollution but I assume it'll have to get *really* bad first. And until the church decides to do something, nothing significant will happen.

    So that's my take. I love it here 10 months of the year. The rest of the time I leave. If I did not have that option I would not want to live here.

    -Walt
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