Colbert: Celebrating one year in paradise |

Colbert: Celebrating one year in paradise

— The past year of my life is difficult to describe. No doubt it’s been the most amazing 12 months of my existence, but it’s also come with a lot of challenges. Last weekend, while I covered the state track and field meet in Denver, I silently celebrated my one-year anniversary of living in Colorado.

Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, I moved to Steamboat Springs late last May, and it’s been a whirlwind since. I taught myself to snowboard, hung out with Olympians and learned — repeatedly — why having a two-wheel drive vehicle in the mountains is asking for trouble.

Most days, I still feel like a tourist. But, while sitting in Denver traffic, trying to catch a peak of the distant mountains, I realized how far I had come from my big(ish)-city upbringing. Most importantly, I realized how complacent I had become with my new mountain life.

If you live in Steamboat Springs, you should count yourself fortunate. It’s an amazing place and more often than not I’ve found myself taking it for granted. I always dreamed of living in the mountains, doing mountain things. But, now that I’ve been here four full seasons, I’ve found myself less and less amazed by my surroundings, simply because I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing them every day.

Then came my trip to Denver — my first time east of the Rockies since moving to Steamboat — and my perspective changed. It didn’t take but a day before I missed the Yampa Valley, the nurturing shape of its mountains, the always agreeable weather.

With my second year of living in Ski Town U.S.A. ahead of me, I plan to make the most of it. I have a long bucket list of things I want to learn and do, most of which the true locals crossed off eons ago. I want to forever shed that feeling of being a tourist in a mountain town, one that continues to linger a year later.

I want to learn to paddleboard. I want to go downhilling on a mountain bike. I want to learn to rock climb. I want to climb a 14er, hike the Zirkel Wilderness, and go cross country skiing. No, I haven’t done any of this. In fact, I’ve still never been on a pair of skis in my life (I was 100 percent snowboarding last winter).

Sometimes, it’s just easier to sit inside, watch Netflix or read a book, but living in Steamboat Springs is not something to take for granted, especially during our short but amazing summers. There are too many new activities to learn, skills to acquire, creeks to wade through and hills to summit.

So, cheers to a wild first year in Steamboat. I look forward to an even more enlightening second.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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