Consuelo Pierrepont Spitler, 39, an interior designer and mom of three, was about to move from Austin back to San Francisco when the Coronavirus struck. She and her husband, who works in cyber security, were in the middle of a two-year renovation of their home on the Presidio. Then the lockdowns and wildfires happened. “One day he said to me: ‘Let’s not be in a city’,” Pierrepont Spitler says. They put everything in storage, bought a sprinter van and Airstream, and went road tripping this summer. “I didn’t expect to be a gypsy at my age,” she laughs. They headed to a place they both loved, Jackson Hole, which cinched a decision for them. They put their San Francisco home they never moved into on the market. The transplants purchased land right outside Jackson, where they’ll build a new home and life. “We knew this was right for us.”
A dream job at Facebook drew Bronwen Raff, 29, to the Bay Area. As a program manager, she works with international partners to advance gender equality. When Facebook said stay home, she and her partner, who works remotely for a sports media company, immediately questioned their location. “Before the pandemic, we planned to quit our jobs and travel the world,” she says. “Now we can do that with jobs.” They’re staying in Airbnbs as they explore the American West, while looking for what she sweetly calls a “forever place” to live. Now they’re in Bozeman, with great snow sports and Bridger Bowl ski area nearby. “The pandemic allowed us to create the life we wanted on an earlier trajectory than we anticipated.” Every mountain town they spend time in, they donate to a local charity and frequent the nearby shops. Up next? Colorado (she’s looking at Breckenridge and Carbondale).
After graduating from Middlebury, Nicole Roos, 26, moved to San Francisco to work as a recruiter for an executive search firm. A Sun Valley native, she always planned to return home—someday. The pandemic accelerated that decision. “We spend so much time doing our jobs, so it’s amazing to be able to do work I love, and also take a ski run for lunch,” she says. “And I love the cultural scene.” Sun Valley offers a prime example of how Western ski towns, from Aspen to Truckee, have become more accessible, year-round mini-cities, with quality arts and culinary offerings. “Ultimately I now have a balance in my life,” Roos says.
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