While I am fairly posative I am moving back to Alaska in 20 months, I want to have a few back up locations.

I lived in Deer Lodge when I was going to High School, so I have a pretty good handle on what SW Montana is like. But I haven't spent anytime at all up in NW Montana.

What is it like up there for jobs and just regular life?

Houses appear to be expensive like most of the West. I guess if you had a boat you could hunt elk and deer in Idaho too.