Bozeman vs. Boulder

After a squeaker over Missoula, there’s no respite for Bozeman in a match-up with Boulder, home of the CU Buffaloes and some of America’s fittest athletes. Boulder’s got Pearl Street, trust-fund ski bums, organic-acoustic artists of all varieties, and just might have put the “trend” in “trendy.” What once was a hippie haven has become a mecca for corporation-hating Starbucks-sippers. Nonetheless, the accolades keep coming: this year Fortune Magazine voted it “Number One Place to Retire in Style”; Men’s Journal ranked it “Best-overall City” in its 2005 “50 Best Places to Live”; and this year Outside Magazine crowned Boulder number-one “Dream Town.”

Outside Bozeman won’t have a part of this pestilent Boulder-pandering. Let’s get it right.

Nearby Ski Resorts
Boulder: Vail/Breckenridge/Aspen
Bozeman: Big Sky

Colorado’s got some great resorts, but they’re all over an hour-and-a-half away on I-70. And once you get there, you’ve got to fork over upwards of $80 for a lift ticket. Big Sky wins this one: tickets haven’t cracked $70, and though Gallatin Canyon may be dangerous, it’s got tailgater-infested interstates beat any day.
Edge: Bozeman

Running Scene
Boulder: Magnolia Road, Bolder Boulder
Bozeman: Bridger Trails, Lewis and Clark Marathon

Bozeman’s no doubt one of the best places to train, but it can’t hold a candle to its Colorado counterpart, whose streets and trails swarm with Olympic-caliber runners. From the legendary mountain road where CU runners hammer workouts to the nation’s second-largest road race, Boulder is the running capital of America.
Edge: Boulder

State Sales Tax
Boulder: 3%
Bozeman: Zippo

Not much argument here. At least when you buy a Land Rover in Bozeman you’ll pay about $2k less…
Edge: Bozeman

Weed Control
Boulder: Goats
Bozeman: Joe Parks-and-Rec

That’s right. Last year Boulder launched a program using the ornery ungulates to eliminate knapweed and other pesky growths. How cool would it be to see goats weed-eating on N. 7th? Knowing Montana, though, they’d be on someone’s wall within a few hours.
Edge: Boulder

Boulder: Buffs
Bozeman: Bobcats

Ah, if only we could play a football game to really determine the best team… Wait a second… Oh yeah, 19-10, on September 2.
Edge: Bozeman

Number of Starbucks
Boulder: 10
Bozeman: 1

‘Nuff said.
Edge: Bozeman

Closest Metropolis
Boulder: Denver
Bozeman: Billings

Hmm… the “Mile-High City” or the “Magic City”? The Broncos or the Outlaws? Art galleries or factories? What is so “magical” about Billings, anyway?
Edge: Boulder

Percentage of Out-of-State Undergraduates (2005) from California
Boulder: 22
Bozeman: 6

The true measure of a college-town’s trendiness, of course, is its extent of Californication. And Boulder has sold its soul to the latté-sipping, Lexus-driving “trustafarians” from the Golden State. Odds are they’re the ones pretending to be Pearl Street bums, too.
Edge: Bozeman

Famous Films/Shows
Boulder: Mork and Mindy
Bozeman: A River Runs Through It

With all due respect to the comedic genius of Robin Williams, Mork and Mindy was a short-lived sitcom. Coincidentally, it was also accurate: aren’t most Boulder residents from places like “Ork,” dressed strangely, and out of touch with how Americans live?
Edge: Bozeman

Final Score: Bozeman 6, Boulder 3… ahhh, the Flatirons aren’t quite as majestic now, eh?