Dave Shively: Land of the bro | SteamboatToday.com
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Dave Shively: Land of the bro

Inside out

When I first started at the Pilot & Today, I was surprised that several reporters – albeit ones with firm Midwestern roots – had no idea what I was talking about when referring to someone as a total “bro-brah.” I assumed this was a label widely understood in Ski Town USA, a place that lures young adults with its range of outdoor activities. Many of those denizens embrace a sport solely for its look, lifestyle and lingo. In the typical cases of skiing, snowboarding and kayaking, it’s a question of self-conscious style versus humble substance for this unique mountain breed of outdoor enthusiast.

The first time I heard the term bro-brah used was three summers ago to label a pair of kayakers who wouldn’t stop talking about how stoked they were about their boof strokes. It was obvious to all that the two had no legitimate experience on runs that required the use of said stoke.

The bro-brah exhibits a set of easily definable characteristics, often seen in that 18- to 30-year-old man on the longboard, in the CMC dining hall and occasionally producing columns for your local newspaper.



How do you know you are in the midst of a bro-brah? Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.

You may be a bro-brah and not even know it. Next time you ski or ride, check to see if your hooded, print-pattern jibber jacket matches your pants, goggles and pocketed bandana.



It could be a matter of knowing when to stop projecting your desired sport to all. Do you leave your boat on your car for the week following your kayak run? Do you need to wear your goggles on your head into the bar?

Do you jump or huck? Shake hands or bump fists? Speak or holla? Get drunk or get faced?

Another indicator is the habitual practice of unnecessarily abbreviating words like pow(der), gnar(ly), three(sixty), sess(ion), tech(nical), dec(ent) and so on. In fact, it seems that because of the nature of the word bro-brah – used among those that can smell their own – I rarely hear the full version anymore in favor of the abbreviated “bro.”

The variations of bro types can be seen from the pro-bro kayaker struggling to support a year-round, full-time fix to the bearded fellow in the tattered moo-moo transporting organic sprouts from the alley Dumpster to his painted microbus – the rainbro.

Although I often sarcastically mock the bro, usingwords like sickbird and toe-gnar (totally gnarly) that I’ve never actually heard another person use in sincerity, I think the concept might as well be embraced.

At the fundamental level, the purest of bro is at the core of their sport, using the latest technology to catapult their skills forward.

Living in a town like Steamboat, amidst this portion of the population that constantly pushes themselves to progress in the cutting edge of their given outdoor sports, it’s interesting to be at the forefront of an evolving terminology, however dumb the words may sound.


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