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  1. #1
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    Denver, Phoenix or Tucson: Where To Live?

    In 1 year my family and I will relocate from CT (unbelievably good mtn biking!) to Phoenix, Tucson or Denver-Front Range area for my wife to begin medical residency. According to her, the choice of towns is mine to make. Soooo..... If XC mtn biking is your passion, which city would you choose and why? As an old-time rock climber from the West, I am pretty familiar with a lot of the outdoor/hiking opportunities around each of the cities. In fact, my wife and I met in grad school in Flagstaff (before I caught the mtn biking bug), and also lived in Laramie for a bit. The only riding I currently know is the technical rocky/rooted hills of southern New England and I look to expand on this passion. Thanks for any thoughts! To be fair, I am posting same message on the Arizona board.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Magnet
    In 1 year my family and I will relocate from CT (unbelievably good mtn biking!) to Phoenix, Tucson or Denver-Front Range area for my wife to begin medical residency. According to her, the choice of towns is mine to make. Soooo..... If XC mtn biking is your passion, which city would you choose and why? As an old-time rock climber from the West, I am pretty familiar with a lot of the outdoor/hiking opportunities around each of the cities. In fact, my wife and I met in grad school in Flagstaff (before I caught the mtn biking bug), and also lived in Laramie for a bit. The only riding I currently know is the technical rocky/rooted hills of southern New England and I look to expand on this passion. Thanks for any thoughts! To be fair, I am posting same message on the Arizona board.
    I would personally choose colorado, colorado springs if at all possible. They have some great trails around, and a big factor in my thinking is weather. Although it kind of sucks this time of year, it is beautiful in the summer when my spare time hits.

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    I gotta comment on DanD's suggestion for Colorado Springs.....FWIW, Rock Magnet, that city is Colorado's "bible belt". Very conservative community. I love the riding down there, but I doupt I could personaly live there. Just some food for thought. No idea on the suburbs of Tucson/PHX (ridden both places), but you have a great choice of places to choose from here. If you're liberal, go to Boulder, and you'll be at home.

    As to the riding...you won't find any rooty stuff really at any of the three places mentioned. All three are technically deserts, Denver being high desert. I hear Tucson proper is a bit of $hithole, but we stayed at a nice place (WOW) at the base of the Catalinas. PHX is a college town, and outside of South Mtn. (good techy stuff), I'm not sure how much riding they have there. You could pick a place to live here in Co literally with 5 trailheads in close riding distance.

    *shrug*...but honestly, Colorado is horrible place. You really don't want to leave here.

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    Colorado Springs

    "Bible Belt"?? That's a total myth...there are a large concentration of Christian Ministries here...BUT statisticly fewer people attend church in Colorado Springs than in most other cities in the country. I don't find Colorado Springs any more "christian" or "religious" than any other cities I've lived in.

    "It sucks this time of year"?? We get an average of 300 days of sunshine a year...I've been laying down 40-50 miles a WEEK since late November. We get much less snow than even Denver does...and when we do get it, it's gone and dry in a day or two. This season has been a little damper than usual...the trails have stayed a bit muckier than normal. But if you're not afraid to hit the trails first thing in the morning when they're still frozen...you've got no worries about mucking up the trails or your bike.

    As for the riding...Colorado Springs blows away any other city I've ever been to (actually pretty close to Moab if you know all the places to ride). It wipes Denver off the planet as far as close by/in-town Mountain Biking. Our base altitude is around 6,200ft, which puts it over a 1,000ft higher than Denver...so your aerobic advantage when you travel is going to be huge.

    I can't even begin to tell you all the amazing trails RIGHT IN THE CITY!

    Besides...just move to Manitou Springs (4 miles from downtown Colorado Springs) if the "christian" thing bothers you. It's a cool little town just packed to the hilt with new agers, witches and warlocks, all kinds of "edgy" spiritual types. They even celebrate a New Age Festival every year.

    And that's right...I am a "Christian" - though I hate that hysterical and often hypcritical title. I'd prefer to say that I'm a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    I'm also a hard riding, techncial fiend of a free riding, downhill loving, XC trail eating machine...
    Last edited by bikeCOLORADO; 02-22-2005 at 08:58 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO
    "Bible Belt"?? That's a total myth...there are a large concentration of Christian Ministries here...BUT statisticly fewer people attend church in Colorado Springs than in most other cities in the country. I don't find Colorado Springs any more "christian" or "religious" than any other cities I've lived in.
    *shrug*, that's just my non-statistically based impression I've gotten, from talking to people who have/do live there as well as my own personal impression. Anways, not particularly important to me either way.

    Question for you though BC, you say CS blows away Denver for in town riding. Jeffco has a serious amount of "intown" riding available, so I find that a big statement (thought not necessarily untrue, as I don't know CS riding). Besides Palmer park, what other good stuff is around town or can you give me some pointers at least on where to look? Love to check some of it out.

    Thks,
    Kirk
    The more out of shape you are, the steeper the hill looks.

  6. #6
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    To me it would all boil down to can you stand the heat? I know I'll have to reduce my ridding in the winter but I'd gladly take a few snow flurries over the ridiculous heat of Tucson or Phoenix in the summer.
    By the way, it says "BALLS" on yor face

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    Question for you though BC, you say CS blows away Denver for in town riding.
    Clearly both areas have fair amounts of trail. But lets not lose sight of setting the original poster straight.

    Choose Tucson or Phoenix.

    PM me if you'd like one CS local's opinion of the trails (both in the city limits and in the area). Or start a different thread.

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    Flagstaff / Sedona?

    Flagstaff/Sedona is sweet. Epic rides, slick rock, beautiful scenery, Crystal Creek sandwiches, longer season. But living in phx/tucson you're 3-4 hours away.

    During Spring, Summer, and Fall Colorado is hard to beat. Golden, Nederland, Boulder, Winter Park, Salida, Fruita, 285, I-70, Colorado Springs, Steamboat, Lyons, Estes, Fort Collins, etc are all great places to ride . . . some within 15 minutes of Denver and other for weekend trips.

    1. Flafstaff/Sedona
    2. Denver/Golden/Colorado Springs/Boulder
    3. Baghdad
    4. Tikrit
    5 . Phoenix/Tucson

    Graeson

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeson
    1. Flafstaff/Sedona
    2. Denver/Golden/Colorado Springs/Boulder
    3. Baghdad
    4. Tikrit
    5 . Phoenix/Tucson
    Man I had no idea the riding was so good in Iraq. No wonder W has us involved over there, he is looking for some new singletrack to ride.

  10. #10
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    I say Denver because you will get seasons and enjoy some winter sports too, plus you have more riding options than southern Arizona.

    As far as the CS trails, Cheyenne Canyon has plenty of great trails too and you can ride to both palmer and the canyon. Teller county to the west is 30 minutes away and has 3-4 good rides also and there is some riding on the peak. Some good road riding too.

    Personally, I think CS is more moderate than conservative and it's not like there are bible pushers at every corner, like BC said it's more myth than anything. Of course, compared to Boulder, most cities would be considered conservative so yes CS is definitely more conservative than Boulder, but probably no more than Denver.

  11. #11
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    alright, saying it sucks would have been an exaggeration, although I actually only said 'Kinda'. And I base that mostly on that it hasn't been dry for a weekend in months, and seeing as I have to commute there weekends are basically my only option, so no riding for months does = suck in my opinion

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    *shrug*, that's just my non-statistically based impression I've gotten, from talking to people who have/do live there as well as my own personal impression. Anways, not particularly important to me either way.

    Question for you though BC, you say CS blows away Denver for in town riding. Jeffco has a serious amount of "intown" riding available, so I find that a big statement (thought not necessarily untrue, as I don't know CS riding). Besides Palmer park, what other good stuff is around town or can you give me some pointers at least on where to look? Love to check some of it out.

    Thks,
    Kirk
    Ute Valley is a great park over on the West side of town (10 minutes from Palmer). It too has a great diversity of trail types and terrain like Palmer. A bit smaller...and less crowded than Palmer on the weekends. I ride here throughout the week for lunch - it's a 5 minute ride from my office. Once you get down in the valley - you'd never know you're in the city.

    Red Rock Canyon is not yet fully open...but will eventually be as diverse as Palmer, and a few acres larger. Including a soon to be completed (late spring) Freeride area.

    The Paul Intemann trail - while short, is a GRUNT of an XC trail that throws some sweet switchbacks and a few technical suprises at you. Out and back - if it's too short, do it twice. It's only 5 miles out and back, but feels like 10.

    Waldo Canyon (about 6 miles West of town on Highway 24). A sweet keyhole loop (take the keyhole counterclockwise) with about 1,300ft of climbing over it's 7 miles of trail. Killer views.

    Have you spent much time in Palmer? It took me a year riding there to find all the trails - I never have a plan when I ride there, I just keep throwing different trail combos together to keep things interesting. My fav's are Edna Mae Bennett and the Templeton Trail - I like the technical, ledgy, rock garden riding. Edna Mae was like an ice flow yesterday...rather tricky, but well worth the effort. Keeps your balance skills on the edge.

    Cheyenne Canyon is a whole playground. Throw a few trails toghether for a great climbing session. Up The Chutes, Gold Camp Road, Buckhorn - down Captain Jacks to Gold Camp Road and down The Chutes. That's a 14 miler with about 2,000ft of climbing.

    Like a shuttled DH run?
    Jones Park
    Jones Downhill
    Pipeline
    Seven Bridges
    Elk Park
    B A R R T R A I L from the top of Pikes Peak to the bottom. 14 miles and SEVEN THOUSAND FEET of descent - kinda speaks for itself.
    Last edited by bikeCOLORADO; 02-22-2005 at 12:20 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO
    Ute Valley is a great park over on the West side of town (10 minutes from Palmer). It too has a great diversity of trail types and terrain like Palmer. A bit smaller...and less crowded than Palmer on the weekends. I ride here throughout the week for lunch - it's a 5 minute ride from my office. Once you get down in the valley - you'd never know you're in the city.

    Red Rock Canyon is not yet fully open...but will eventually be as diverse as Palmer, and a few acres larger. Including a soon to be completed (late spring) Freeride area.

    The Paul Intemann trail - while short, is a GRUNT of an XC trail that throws some sweet switchbacks and a few technical suprises at you. Out and back - if it's too short, do it twice. It's only 5 miles out and back, but feels like 10.

    Waldo Canyon (about 6 miles West of town on Highway 24). A sweet keyhole loop (take the keyhole counterclockwise) with about 1,300ft of climbing over it's 7 miles of trail. Killer views.

    Have you spent much time in Palmer? It took me a year riding there to find all the trails - I never have a plan when I ride there, I just keep throwing different trail combos together to keep things interesting. My fav's are Edna Mae Bennett and the Templeton Trail - I like the technical, ledgy, rock garden riding. Edna Mae was like an ice flow yesterday...rather tricky, but well worth the effort. Keeps your balance skills on the edge.

    Cheyenne Canyon is a whole playground. Throw a few trails toghether for a great climbing session. Up The Chutes, Gold Camp Road, Buckhorn - down Captain Jacks to Gold Camp Road and down The Chutes. That's a 14 miler with about 2,000ft of climbing.

    Like a shuttled DH run?
    Jones Park
    Jones Downhill
    Pipeline
    Seven Bridges
    Elk Park
    B A R R T R A I L from the top of Pikes Peak to the bottom. 14 miles and SEVEN THOUSAND FEET of descent - kinda speaks for itself.
    Don't forget my favorite xc loop of all, Palmer trail up to section 16 down. Such a scenic ride. Will keep you in shape going up, and so much fun to descend.

  14. #14
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    Denver trails suck - move to Tucson or Flagstaff.

    Pine beetles have devoured every last trace of shrubbery, leaving our hillsides unprotected during the 347+ days per year that we recieve torrential (and often freezing) rains. This has created serious food-supply issues for the Yellow Bellied Marmot as mudslides have closed off, or destroyed completely, the habitat of the marmot's primary source of food, the Spotted Argentenian Prairie Hound. Needless to say, this leaves us mountainbikers in a precarious situation as we weigh, on a daily basis, the desire to ride what is left of our trails against the clear and present threat of being devoured alive by a Marmot population that is driven, by hunger, to hunt in packs at the parks once frequented by the residents of Denver and the surrounding areas.

    Did I mention that we face increased risk of developing melanoma because of our altitude?

    Good Luck to you in Arizona
    Last edited by s1ngletrack; 02-22-2005 at 03:16 PM.

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    Josh - I think the software rollout you are working on has fried your brain - or at least what was left of it already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .thumper.
    Josh - I think the software rollout you are working on has fried your brain - or at least what was left of it already.
    SHHHhhh... Everyone repeat after me "there is no good riding to be had in or around Denver"


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    Thank u kind sir for the info. Yeah, when I've ridden in CS, it's always been with a "tourguide" who I had to ply with turkey jerky. Got a good 3 hour tour of Palmer(templeton, improv, etc..), plus a good tour of the Canyon on two seperate long days. Good riding up around seven bridges, etc...

    Course that being said, Colorado riding pales in comparison to Az. riding. Mr. rock magnet, you should go there for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    Thank u kind sir for the info. Yeah, when I've ridden in CS, it's always been with a "tourguide" who I had to ply with turkey jerky. Got a good 3 hour tour of Palmer(templeton, improv, etc..), plus a good tour of the Canyon on two seperate long days. Good riding up around seven bridges, etc...

    Course that being said, Colorado riding pales in comparison to Az. riding. Mr. rock magnet, you should go there for sure.
    Okay, I can't resist. Don't let this fool you into thinking the riding is better than AZ.

    Some trails listed that others forgot (maybe for good reason)

    Inside the city limits: GotG (not much is open to bikes but climbing and descending the spine on the east side is nice), Pulpit Rock (better like steep uphill; good grind if you take the dirt down to the diamonds then up the creek bed), that trail north of Woodman, the downhills behind UCCS (not as fun as they once were), etc. Stratton (Starsmore?) open space and the chutes should both be in the city limits; actually I bet NCC is in there too. Don't forget grinding up columbine. There's more trails off gold camp than just palmer/sec. 16.

    Within 20 mins of downtown (well that depends on traffic): The new park opening down south by Ft Carson (seriously large - hrs and hrs of riding tho not so technical). AFA (not just falcon trail; some of the western trails heading up aren't signed for no bikes). Monument trail system (limbaugh, stupid, fire center, and all the unnamed routes up mt herman road). Rampart range road and all the trails off that. When you ride jones or jacks (or any of the other trails in the forest) you'll find many unsigned trails taking off in various directions (as an estimate, probably 3x mileage for each nat'l forest route is available in alternates).

    Having said that, I have no doubt there's similar mileage available all along the front range. We were blessed with having downtown just a few miles from forest.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO
    Ute Valley is a great park over on the West side of town (10 minutes from Palmer). It too has a great diversity of trail types and terrain like Palmer. A bit smaller...and less crowded than Palmer on the weekends. I ride here throughout the week for lunch - it's a 5 minute ride from my office. Once you get down in the valley - you'd never know you're in the city.

    Red Rock Canyon is not yet fully open...but will eventually be as diverse as Palmer, and a few acres larger. Including a soon to be completed (late spring) Freeride area.

    The Paul Intemann trail - while short, is a GRUNT of an XC trail that throws some sweet switchbacks and a few technical suprises at you. Out and back - if it's too short, do it twice. It's only 5 miles out and back, but feels like 10.

    Waldo Canyon (about 6 miles West of town on Highway 24). A sweet keyhole loop (take the keyhole counterclockwise) with about 1,300ft of climbing over it's 7 miles of trail. Killer views.

    Have you spent much time in Palmer? It took me a year riding there to find all the trails - I never have a plan when I ride there, I just keep throwing different trail combos together to keep things interesting. My fav's are Edna Mae Bennett and the Templeton Trail - I like the technical, ledgy, rock garden riding. Edna Mae was like an ice flow yesterday...rather tricky, but well worth the effort. Keeps your balance skills on the edge.

    Cheyenne Canyon is a whole playground. Throw a few trails toghether for a great climbing session. Up The Chutes, Gold Camp Road, Buckhorn - down Captain Jacks to Gold Camp Road and down The Chutes. That's a 14 miler with about 2,000ft of climbing.

    Like a shuttled DH run?
    Jones Park
    Jones Downhill
    Pipeline
    Seven Bridges
    Elk Park
    B A R R T R A I L from the top of Pikes Peak to the bottom. 14 miles and SEVEN THOUSAND FEET of descent - kinda speaks for itself.
    No kidding, and those are just the more popular trails as well. There's also a milliion trails that select people know about as well as random places that there are fun riding around the city as well.
    Tony
    is making a comeback.

    Turns out that five years of not mountain biking, really makes one strive to get back to it.

  20. #20
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    You can actually ride the Barr Trail? That would be a blast!

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    Quote Originally Posted by .thumper.
    You can actually ride the Barr Trail? That would be a blast!
    Kinda, I'd imagine everything below the camp is just hiker/tourist dodging. Unless you picked a real off peak day then I think traffic would just be ridiculous

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    Yeah, that's kinda what I figured. Sure would be a lot of fun to be able to just blast the 14 miles of it, tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s1ngletrack
    SHHHhhh... Everyone repeat after me "there is no good riding to be had in or around Denver"

    "there is no good riding to be had in or around Denver"

  24. #24
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    colorado...you can ski, you can bike almost year around.

    Arizona gets too hot in the summer...over 110 sometimes
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    I gotta comment on DanD's suggestion for Colorado Springs.....that city is Colorado's "bible belt".
    Uh, I'm gonna hafta say that GJ/Delta/Montrose is Colorado's "Bible Belt".

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanD
    Kinda, I'd imagine everything below the camp is just hiker/tourist dodging. Unless you picked a real off peak day then I think traffic would just be ridiculous
    I've done to Barr Camp and back-sucked. Besides the steep climbing up, you have all the hikers coming down, there are some fun steep technical sections though. I like to hike up the Incline and run down the Barr trail, great winter workout, 2000ft in 1 mile up and then 3-4 miles of running down Barr trail.

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    Confusion!

    Rock Magnet now very confused?!

    Bible Belt? shhhhh! no good mtn biking in Denver? The town of witches and warlocks sounds intriguing. I gotta admit that you are a more vocal crew than our SWestern brethren. Maybe they are all out in the 80 degree sun hammering away?

    Really guys, this dialogue is fantastic! The AZ riders have largely used the "smog quotient" in determining Tucson a better spot than Phx.

    To stir things up a bit, I might be throwing Albuquerque into the mix as well. Does anybody know if there is a teaching hospital in Colorado Springs?

    Keep it coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Magnet

    Really guys, this dialogue is fantastic! The AZ riders have largely used the "smog quotient" in determining Tucson a better spot than Phx.

    To stir things up a bit, I might be throwing Albuquerque into the mix as well. Does anybody know if there is a teaching hospital in Colorado Springs?

    D
    I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices when it comes to quality riding. I'd say it's not so much which city you choose, but rather, which part of the city you choose to live in.

    I've lived in Phoenix and Denver. The smog can be very bad in both cities. To further blacken the Phoenix eye, ask the folks on the AZ board how much fun I-17 (gateway to Sedona, Prescott, and Flagstaff) is on a summer weekend these days. The replies should range from "it blows" to "not bad if you leave Phoenix at the a$$ crack of dawn and don't come back until 10 PM."

    If I had to move back to AZ I'd choose Tucson too. Plenty of riding and it is a shorter drive to get out of the baking heat - granted the forest on Mt. Lemon has burned down, but there are other places.

    The two hospital systems in the Springs are Memorial and Penrose. Don't know if they are teaching hospitals though.

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    Skoolz & Kidz

    A bit off topic from singletrack, but: how are CO schools along Front Range? Denver? I am gonna assume it varies within each town as well. One son will be in 1st grade while the other will still be too young for school. Would like to take advantage of public schools if they are good. You guys are great!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Magnet
    A bit off topic from singletrack, but: how are CO schools along Front Range? Denver? I am gonna assume it varies within each town as well. One son will be in 1st grade while the other will still be too young for school. Would like to take advantage of public schools if they are good. You guys are great!
    Where I live in Colorado Springs, there's a high school, middle school, and elementary school within a mile of my house. I'd say they're pretty good schools, all built recently with good teachers and stuff.
    Tony
    is making a comeback.

    Turns out that five years of not mountain biking, really makes one strive to get back to it.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by COmtbiker12
    Where I live in Colorado Springs, there's a high school, middle school, and elementary school within a mile of my house. I'd say they're pretty good schools, all built recently with good teachers and stuff.

    just be careful Columbine is around the corner
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Magnet
    how are CO schools I am gonna assume it varies within each town as well.
    Exactly. In the Springs, District 20 is "the district". It encompasses most of the new development NW edge of the city. Overcrowding is an issue at some schools . D 11 (where my kids are) covers most of the rest of the city, including many of the less affluent areas of town.

    The scoring/grading system used to evaluate schools in CO is a joke. I believe the quality of the school experience has more to do with the staff and parental involvement than how much tax money is being collected in the district. We've taken the time to get to know the principal, teachers, other kids, and some parents at my son's school. We are very happy with the outcome, and never would have guessed what great school it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    just be careful Columbine is around the corner
    Yeah - it's wierd, I was working right down the road when that happened. I went to grab a coffee and study at the Barnes and Noble about 3/4 of a mile from the school after work, and everything in the area was shut down @ like 6:30pm. I felt kind of stupid at the time because I hadn't realized what a big deal it was before that.

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  4. Best cycling atmosphere - Phoenix or Tucson
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    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 04-08-2004, 06:07 PM

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