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The next generation

I learned a new Hollywood term from some of the performing arts professionals visiting Perry-Mansfield this week.

The “Q factor” is a word used to rate the recognition factor of celebrities. The Q factor certainly can be applied locally.

I have a friend who, at every Steamboat Springs hobnobbing event, would point out members of Steamboat’s who’s who club – people who had clout in the community because of their money, athletic prowess or membership in a multi-generational Yampa Valley family.



They are the people of big business, big houses and, sometimes, big egos. But there is a new generation of socialites in Steamboat, and they have all the prestige with little of the attitude.

You know who you are. You frequent all of high-altitude society’s social events, including aprÃs ski parties, tapas tasting and free concerts.



We are the crew of people you see everywhere. And I’m not talking about at the supermarket.

We belong to the rising class of Steamboat socialites who are young, daring and in all the pictures in the Fortnight in Photos in The Local.

Every year, our Neverland claims more skiers and riders who are sent down the mountain onto the beach of the Slopeside Grill. What started off for many as a night at The Tugboat Grill & Pub turned into a summer at Sunpie’s Bistro, because many of the people who frequented our couches have moved into our neighborhood.

Bar regulars used to be a group of older men who lined up on bar stools. Now they’re our peers and co-workers in a bar room overflowing into a dining room/dance floor.

We may not have a club scene in Steamboat, but we have a scene. And the people who frequent that scene are the new generation of “who’s who.”

We all know one another, even if we’ve never met. We’ll learn each other’s names the next time we get stuck under a beer tent during a torrential downpour at a free concert. We’ll have our first conversation on the bus or in the home furnishings aisle of the Target in Silverthorne.

We have the kind of trust that exists within a group of people who don’t lock their cars. There’s an inherent safety in seeing the same people every night. You lose the fear of the unknown that perpetuates in big cities.

You can walk down the street at night and feel safe and secure knowing that if you didn’t get up enough courage to talk to that cute boy you saw tonight, you’ll have another chance tomorrow night.

Members of Steamboat’s social caste system may not throw large philanthropic shindigs in their expensive homes and drive fancy cars. We work hard so we can play hard. We have a million acquaintances so we have a million people to say hi to in the grocery store. And our Q factor rises the more we frequent our high-altitude society’s social events.


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