Bozeman Vs. Bellingham

Bozeman Vs. Bellingham

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Tina Orem

A scant 90 miles north of Seattle and 21 miles south of the Canadian border, Bellingham, Washington is home to about 75,000. Let’s see how this west-coast hamlet hangs with a real Rocky Mountain town.

All-Encompassing-Race Scene

Don't get us wrong, Bozeman's race scene is top notch and our courses draw participants from around the world. But Bellingham's Ski to Sea Race is a seven-leg deal that has racers make their way down from Mount Baker. It starts with cross-country skiing at the ski area, then transitions to downhill skiing, then running, then road biking, then canoeing, then mountain biking, and then kayaking to the finish in Bellingham Bay. It's like a triathlon on crack.

Edge: Bellingham

Sunshine

No contest here. Even though Bellingham actually gets less rain than Miami, New York, and Boston, it has a scant 201 sunny days a year. That's a far cry from Bozeman's 320 days.

Edge: Bozeman

Badassness of Local Ski Resort

Bellingham's got Mount Baker, which is about as far away from town as Bridger is from Bozeman. The lift ticket prices are almost identical, too. But those Washingtonians are bound to have a little lift envy—our vertical rise is 80% bigger, and we’ve got Slushman’s now. No contest.

Edge: Bozeman

Tourist Trampling

We know the old adage that Bozeman has two seasons (winter and tourist), and when we see the designer "hobo bags" and the enormous sunglasses coming at us, we quietly whisper "Incoming!" to our friends. But we're used to it, and the traffic is entertaining if anything. Bellingham, however, is facing a tourist tsunami of obese proportions with the advent of the 2010 Winter Games just up the road in Vancouver, B.C. You think the line at Joe's is too long during tourist season? Try adding 175,000 more people to the mix.

Edge: Bozeman

Home Prices

We hate to keep coming back to this point, but it ain't cheap to live here. The recent average listing price was $552,129 here, and that's over $100,000 higher than in Bellingham (where the average listing price is $444,533). Obviously a lot of factors affect these differences, but a hundred grand is a hundred grand.

Edge: Bellingham

Crime

Both Bellingham and Bozeman are relatively safe places to live, but by God, get a house alarm if you live in Bellingham. The population might be twice that of Bozeman, but the burglary rate is five times higher. Property crime is about four times higher. Sheesh.

Edge: Bozeman

Final tally:

Bozeman 4

Bellingham 2

We've done it again, folks. We have to say, Bellingham isn't so bad, but when you've got the best, why go anywhere else?

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