Imagine life in the Yampa Valley after COVID-19 |

Imagine life in the Yampa Valley after COVID-19

Emmanuelle Vital For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Linocut print by Steamboat Springs artist Jill Bergman at
Courtesy art by Jill Bergman

Editor’s note: We invite readers to consider the questions below and answer them for inclusion in a post-COVID-19 event that will be hosted by Bud Werner Memorial Library and consultant Emmanuelle Vital in partnership with Steamboat Pilot & Today. You can post your thoughts in the comments below this article or you can email them to Vital at or to Editor Lisa Schlichtman at

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A truncated ski season, empty schools, deserted streets and most businesses at a standstill. This previously unthinkable scenario is now a reality. While community members are disproportionately affected, we have all been forced to reevaluate our sense of wellbeing and are now sharing an unprecedented moment to re-imagine our lives in the Yampa Valley.

Most of us are fortunate to be able to practice social distancing and to still enjoy our beloved outdoors. By being apart we are coming together in many ways as we slow down to care for and support each other during this historical time. Fears for family, friends, teams and our community are forcing us to rise up in ways we have never been asked before. 

Your reactions to COVID-19 and visions for life in the Yampa Valley, post pandemic, matter. While for many, our daily lives are at redline, we have the opportunity to reflect on the root causes of what is taking place and deeply consider how we behave. 

I would like to invite you to envision our future together and share the issues you care most about to help transition into a more vibrant, equitable and resilient Yampa Valley. Please post your reflections online below this story or email them. Below are some ideas to ignite your thoughts and trigger future conversations:  

  • Do you feel that this crisis has transformed your motivation, priorities and conceptions of a desirable life in the Yampa Valley?
  • What measures do you think would help everyone in the Yampa Valley make ends meet now and post pandemic? 
  • What grassroots movements do you feel most inclined to participate in? 
  • How could the community better support the organizations you feel are key to improving our wellbeing?
  • Has your view on sourcing local food, goods and talent changed?
  • How could the community greater support youth leadership? 
  • What community events are you most eager to attend in person?
  • Do you feel a greater global connection and more compassion for humanity during the pandemic? After?
  • What behavior changes and new decisions should we maintain or take in order to positively impact all life on earth?

Please feel free to post your ideas — verbally or through artistic expressions — as we remain in quarantine. At some point, hopefully in the near future, your comments could be displayed at the Bud Werner Memorial Library for the community to revisit and celebrate.

We have never experienced such a measure of containment around the world in response to a major global threat. While our local and global economies are on-hold and we remain connected in real time, we have an invaluable opportunity to change our practices and act locally while keeping a world-wide vision and have a universal impact.

Some believe that progress is achieved either by design or disaster. While acknowledging our grief, I believe that we can build upon each other’s ideas and let the most vulnerable drive our actions in order to move toward a more cohesive, sustainable and thriving Yampa Valley.  Thank you for your kind contribution. 

Emmanuelle Vital is an environmental and creative leadership consultant who has lived in the Yampa Valley for 18 years.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.