I graduated from Colorado Mountain College. Its an easier program than most in terms of their demands, and i enjoyed attending. That said, GWS is OUTRAGEOUS to live in cost of living wise. If you love mountains, outdoor sports, etc..snow, dry climate, then its a great place to be. But we had an approx 700 sq. ft apartment with NO washer/dryer (but one on site) and it rented for $740. This was in 1998. I imagine the cost is only going up. The average salary of RN's is pathetic in comparison with the cost of living. They started my DH at the time as a new grad (May 2000) at 16+ an hour NIGHT shift, and they go with the Plane Tree method which SUCKS. Basically at night he had an average of 6-7 patients, with no aides to assist with total care.
I worked in Rifle (about 30 minutes away) which is a bit behind the times as far as technology but a nice place to work. The people are very helpful, etc...but its definitely a small rural type hospital. So Depending on whaty our needs or desires or......OH the pay was about the same. Aspen hospital never would give me a call (not sure why, but they didn't have many positions open at the time so i'm assuming that's the reason) but the commute was about an hour. So i was ok with that.
People are generally reserved in the area, i think due to the high tourism in the area. It takes a while for them to warm up to you. i'd love to move back, honestly i would cuz after being there for several years we made some great friends, and loved the general area. I had my first son at Vail Valley and it was an AWESOME experience. Just be prepared to drive ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE as far as clinicals go. We had to go to Glenwood, Rifle, Vail, and Grand Junction. FTR, i don't think Mesa State is all that great of a program. If i were going to move back to CO to finish my degree, i'd stay in the greater Denver area, but that's just me. The reason i think that? i was an LPN for 7 years prior to attending RN school and i had all my pre-reqs. mesa wanted me to start over as a generic student, i.e. wouldn't let me do the transition from LPN-RN even with a refresher type course or an extra class or whatever. They completely disregarded any experience i had (which was extensive) and acted as if i was a 2nd class citizen because i was an LPN. AND my sciences were within the time limit of being valid, and they STILL wanted me to retake chemistry "just to err on the safe side." WHATEVAH!!! lol SO i chose not to go with them.
CMC is a pretty laid back mountain school, and you will get what you need. But as far as the general area to live in and grow in as a nurse......well that's really up to you and what your goals are. Good luck and email/pm/post if i can help you in any way!!!