Living near surf and snow
April 28, 2009 4:47 AM   Subscribe

Where in the world can I live where I can go down the beach and surf one day, and head up into the mountains to ski/snowboard the next?

I would really like to live somewhere that I could feasibly surf one day and then go skiing/snowboarding the next. If I cannot have that due to seasons, I would like suggestions of a place where in the winter I could go up into the snowy mountains, and go down the beach during the summer. I got the impression that this is possible in California, but even then California is a big place so more detailed options of areas would be greatly appreciated.

I am a moderately confident skier and hopefully will learn snowboarding and become proficient. I am currently a body boarder and would like to start surfing where it is sandy and there is a beach break, I do not want a reef or point break.

I would like to be able to live in a house with a garden where there is internet access. I have a means of supporting myself and would not necessarily require to earn a living in the local economy.

In summary I would like to know where in the world I could live where I could be within half an hour’s drive of a beach for good surf and 2 hours drive to mountains to ski/snowboard. (These travel times are flexible, they are here as preferred times)
posted by lilyflower to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (35 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I live in such a place. Check my profile.
posted by flabdablet at 4:51 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm currently living (until July) in such a place: Christchurch, New Zealand.
posted by thebabelfish at 4:53 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've been to one place where that seems to be possible Toulouse in France... about 90 minutes from the Atlantic Coast, and about 90 minutes from the mountains of Andorra.
posted by mattr at 5:01 AM on April 28, 2009

I don't know how good the surfing is in Oregon but when my friend lived in Portland we would go to the beach for a day, go back to the city, and then go to the mountains the next day. Portland itself is a little farther than a half hour from the beach but there were lots of lovely towns in-between.
posted by cooker girl at 5:06 AM on April 28, 2009

San Francisco is about 3 hours from skiing, and people surf in and around the city, though I don't know enough to tell you how good the surf is. Surfing can be done year round, though the water's uniformly chilly.
posted by alexei at 5:20 AM on April 28, 2009

Oregon can definitely fit the distance requirements, but I believe surfing tends to be a bit...chilly. Most people on the water wear a wetsuit. On the plus side, the temperature on the Oregon coast tends to remain relatively constant all year...around 60-70F.
posted by dormouse at 5:21 AM on April 28, 2009

Seconding New Zealand. My friends did this frequently while we were growing up (I'd join in on the ski half).
posted by gaspode at 5:23 AM on April 28, 2009

Going to college in Claremont, CA (on the very eastern border of LA county), we could go skiing in the morning and surfing the very same afternoon (if we so desired). I don't know if the slopes are open year-round, though.
posted by muddgirl at 5:29 AM on April 28, 2009

Vancouver's got you covered for the mountains and skiing. You'll also have the ocean but there's not really any surfing there, you'd have to travel to the island to a place like Tofino.
On the plus side the travel times between mountain and beach are ridiculous - with good traffic, half an hour from one to the other.
posted by mannequito at 5:30 AM on April 28, 2009

But really, it seems like this would be possible from the Valley too. Perhaps San Francisco, Oakland, or Sacramento CA.
posted by muddgirl at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2009

I'm not a surfer so I can't confirm but I had friends from Chile who would rave about their home country and give the impression that every Chilean can live this way.
posted by XMLicious at 5:48 AM on April 28, 2009

You can do this on the big island in Hawaii. There's even a contest which I think is held annually. Contestants snowboard in the morning and surf in the afternoon. But this is probably giving Hawaii much more than it's due -- there is no ski resort in Hawaii, just year round snow at the 14,000 foot peak of Muana Kea. But since it's a volcano, it's not a particularly steep mountain... So it's a hike up and blitz down.
posted by zpousman at 5:54 AM on April 28, 2009

Anywhere in Southern California near the coast between Malibu and San Diego would suffice.
posted by billtron at 5:54 AM on April 28, 2009

North Carolina has mountains and beaches. I live approximately four hours from the mountains and at the most a couple of hours from the beach.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:00 AM on April 28, 2009

I would second Oregon, and most anywhere along the very long coast that is CA. I guess you'd just have to figure out which mountain you like to ski, and live somewhere between there and the coast. They definitely don't have snow year round.

Also, I live in NC, and though you can do as St. Alia says, I'm interpreting your question to mean something with slightly less travel time.
posted by purpletangerine at 6:15 AM on April 28, 2009

I was only five at the time, but my parents did this when we lived in New Zealand.
posted by atrazine at 6:31 AM on April 28, 2009

Barcelona works for that. As does Vancouver. I gather it's possible in Lebanon too, maybe Morcco and Turkey - and Iran (Caucasus and the Caspian Sea) if you want something a little more outre.

Basically what you need to look for is high mountains (2500m+), which hold their snow into the spring which are relatively far south. As for me I live in the UK where I can drive from drizzle on a hill to drizzle on the coast, pretty much anywhere and at any time of year.
posted by rhymer at 6:38 AM on April 28, 2009

I lived in such a place (and plan to move back to the environs once I am done with my grad program): Port Angeles, WA

It's on the North Olympic Coast in Washington State. You have Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park less than twenty minutes away from wetsuit surfing at the mouth of the Elwah or in the Strait de Juan to Fuca. A little further apart, is Hurricane Ridge and First Beach on the Pacific coast (about an hour and a half, two hours apart). There are surf and snowboard shops everywhere, and independent board craftsmen. Port Angeles is two hours from Seattle, an hour ferry to Victoria B.C., and 3-4 to Vancouver. There is also outstanding hiking, sailing, and backcountry camping.

If you don't need to make a living in the local economy, Port Angeles is awesome. A small town, but relatively close to urban areas and it has high speed internets and all of that. It has an affordable cost of living, and from our house, we could see the mountains on our deck and the sea from our front porch.

There are mixed feelings about raising a family there--there those that wouldn't have it any other way because they take their kids to the beach and camping and into the mountains all the time and are wiling to be accountable for their kid's education by using private school or homeschooling or add a lot of extra schooling support. The local district is great through grade 4, then slowing degrades into a highschool with a truly abysmal graduation rate. There is an excellent community college.

It rains something like 300 days a year, and if you're not into that, you can live in Sequim, 15 minutes east of PA. Sequim, because of a mountain effect, is sunny and much warmer with a big lavender industry. Lots of California retirees there--the micro climate has been compared to the south of France.

But, it is on the Peninsula, which if you look at a map is pretty geographically isolated. We made sure to make frequent trips to Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver Island to shake of the feeling we were trapped on a giant, mossy, sea-soaked rock. Gorgeous, though. I'm homesick today!
posted by rumposinc at 6:50 AM on April 28, 2009

If you don't mind surfing in frigid weather, and I am talking 29F water temps and a foot of snow on the ground, then I would suggest New England. Well, I don't know if I would suggest it, but it fits your needs. Specifically New Hampshire and Maine. Best surf and skiing is in the winter of course, but in the summer you can't ski and the surf tends to go flat for loooong periods of time.

Also the surf and skiing is not exactly world class. It can be great at times but it doesn't compare to most of the places listed here.
posted by WickedPissah at 6:58 AM on April 28, 2009

Nthing Washington.

It's wetsuit surfing and not usually epic waves, but it's not bad, and the rest of the state makes up for the mediocre surfing. Washington seriously has everything, albeit some of it requires a few hours of driving.
posted by jellywerker at 7:18 AM on April 28, 2009

If you are talking globally, how about Lebanon or Cyprus? a great place for a holiday.

From Wikipedia: "Because of Lebanon's unique geography, both summer and winter sports thrive in the country. In autumn and spring it is sometimes possible to engage in both during the same season, skiing in the morning and swimming in the Mediterranean during the afternoon, much as one can in Cyprus."
posted by lungtaworld at 7:20 AM on April 28, 2009

Best answer: You can definitely do that in northern California, though the water in the pacific is cold.
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 7:44 AM on April 28, 2009

Vancouver does not work. There is a big island between Vancouver and the open pacific and the only surfing is on the far side in Tofino. You need to drive to the ferry (30 min) take a ferry (1 hr plus get there 1hr early) and then drive across the island (3 hrs) before you can realistically surf. However, if you lived on the island itself, say in Victoria or Nanaimo, then you only have the 3 hr drive to surfing. There's good skiing on the island at Mount Washington.

San Francisco doesn't really work either. There is great surfing at Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay but the mountains are a solid 3 to 4 hours drive away, which is really too far to be convenient.

From Portland Oregon you could drive to Cannon Beach in 1.5 hours and go surfing. There are mountains close by the the east which I'm pretty sure have skiing.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:25 AM on April 28, 2009

Now, there are only a few days where you could feasibly do both, and it's certainly not the first choice for either sport, but the New York City area could actually meet your criteria. Surfing at Rockaway Beach or the Jersey Shore and skiing in the Catskills, Poconos, or NJ. Would you be crazy to move to the expensive NYC metro area for skiing and surfing? Indeed.
posted by andrewraff at 9:31 AM on April 28, 2009

Anywhere on the western side of California's Central Valley. Sacramento, Davis, Vacaville, Vallejo, Stockton, Tracy, etc.

I live on the eastern side of the valley and I can get to snow in an hour and Santa Cruz in less than three (if traffic and cops are on my side).
posted by elsietheeel at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2009

NYC METRO area. Here on long island you can surf then go upstate to ski.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:35 AM on April 28, 2009

Best answer: I don't even understand the discussion on this: the correct answer is Southern California -- frankly this is its whole charm. Where I grew up, Huntington Beach, is a beach break with consistently nice swells and is about two hours to the mountains. If you wanted to live inland for less money, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Irvine, Tustin and about a bajillion other inland Orange County towns would work. Any other beach cities to the northern LA border will also suffice.
posted by dame at 9:35 AM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

West coast of Vancouver Island. Surfing in Tofino and skiing at Mt. Washington. Water's cold but it's a great place to surf (with a wetsuit) all year around.
posted by barnone at 9:41 AM on April 28, 2009

Southern California. Not sure what the mountain access is like from San Diego, but certainly here in Los Angeles the beach is 2-3 hours drive from the mountains, depending on road conditions. Ski season here is shorter than the Nor Cal mountains, but perfectly good. Cost of living is high though.
posted by Joh at 9:54 AM on April 28, 2009

Vancouver BC is the extreme case of this, because you can reach both surfing and skiing on city buses.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:37 AM on April 28, 2009

Either Southern or Northern CA. Growing up in the Bay Area, day/weekend trips to Tahoe (especially the slightly more inland ski resorts) were common.
posted by radioamy at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2009
posted by Scientifik at 1:48 AM on April 30, 2009

Scotland fits your bill - although the surf is not warm and the snow is not the best.
posted by rongorongo at 12:05 PM on April 30, 2009

Spain (Andalucia) would be an option. Tarifa on the Gibraltar Straights has some of the best surf in the world - especially for kitesurfing. The mountains southeast of Granada have Continental Europe's southernmost ski resort, although admittedly it's small (when they were planning to hold an international championship there it had to be cancelled due to unreliable snow conditions). These two locations are about 5 hours' drive apart.
posted by Wilder at 11:56 PM on May 5, 2009

I go to Pomona college in Claremont CA (outside of LA). We do a trip called ski beach day where we do exactly that. We ski for the morning and then drive to the beach where we spend the afternoon/evening.

We skied at mount Baldy and then went to the beach at Venice Beach.
posted by vegetableagony at 5:49 PM on May 9, 2009

« Older I need a free and robust math worksheet generator   |   Permission-based communication, anyone? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.