Ready to acquire yet another victory in the realm of recreational havens much like our own, Bozeman battles Bend, Oregon this summer. Bordered by the nearby Cascade Lakes and the Great Basin's high desert plateau, Bend offers higher wages, summer skiing, and the Deschutes Brewery Company; but can this central-Oregon city hold a candle to skiing Bridger Bowl on your lunch break, drinking cheap beer, and taking in films at the Bozeman Paddling Film Festival? Like a Maggot Fest throw-down, let the battle begin.
The 'Discovered' Factor:
Bend is the sixth-fastest growing metropolitan area in the U.S. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why Bozeman is still somewhat of a secret-our traffic at five is one-fourth of Bend's and most of 'em are 90s-something Toyota trucks.
Price of Consumption:
An $11 dry martini while discussing the local influx of out-of-staters with Californians, or laughing with a rancher from Butte over a five-dollar pitcher at the Molly Brown? The stuffy thought of a martini bar alone makes the tastes of the Bozeman Brewing Company seem that much better.
Chalk this one up to over-exercised, green-tea-sipping, New Balance-buying Oregonians if you will-Bend has more runners/trails than Bozeman does knapweed. Although our Main Street to the Mountains trail system is now over 50 miles long, still we can afford to yield at least one point for competition's sake.
Bend has 300 days of sunshine a year. We Bozemanites get 20 more days-almost a full extra month-of sunshine. If you don't think 20 days of sun makes a difference, ask Bend's droopy and sullen Portland brethren.
Housing, an Arm AND a Leg?
Bozeman average home price: $308,850. Bend: $226,000. Looks like both towns have a penchant for pearl-encrusted countertops and mud rooms, but we've got it worse.
The Skinny on Skiing:
Like Bend, our local hill is only 15 minutes away. But we've also got proximity to a world-class resort, and when you throw in backcountry potential, we can ski eight months of the year. In Bend, you're lucky to eke out five.
Stunning scenery and loads of trout – Robert Redford filmed A River Runs Through It in Bozeman for good reason. But Bend's got steelhead, which can swallow a 16-inch rainbow in one gulp. Size matters.
Film Geeks Unite:
A scrappy array of film festivals under an umbrella of beer drinking and good times, or a film festival riding the coattails of Sundance with the eight-dollar-latte postmodernist attitude? Is this really a question?
Bozeman – 5
Bend – 3
Perhaps the next Gladiator of outdoor havens won't be so tiger v. lamb. But with Bend out of the way, will anyone be brave enough to step into the Coliseum and face us?