Vancouver, BC has three local hills within 35min of downtown. You can live closer than that and still be in the city too.
You've also got Whistler, Baker, Hemlock within 2hrs... then you've got the nearest interior mountains within 5hrs... then the powder highway beyond that.
People say Van is expensive, but I say that it's relative to any larger city. Just like anywhere, you've gotta be a little smart about your money.
Hope that helps
Have to say that if I didn't live where I do, I would be in Vancouver for sure.