Jenna Knowles: Apply golden rule
The leaves have mostly fallen, and snow is cresting our highest mountain peaks. Bikes are headed for storage, and winter boots are quickly replacing hiking shoes. Skis and boards are already tuned, and sleds are gassed and ready to go. The days are shorter, and town has been enveloped in a sleepy calm.
As we embrace the fleeting autumn weather, while welcoming in winter’s possibilities, let’s collectively take in a deep breath and exhale to the inevitable. While the locals are certainly the heartbeat of Steamboat Springs, the tourists are ultimately our lifelines.
We will once again share our beautiful mountain town with visitors by the thousands. We are the fortunate ones who get this incredible town all year long. They get a brief moment in time to drink it all in, inhale its beauty and savor our local treasures. Oftentimes, this results in a slight overdose effect. Imagine if you only had a week to be here.
We know that some of our legendary locals were born with skis attached at the foot. Our youngest residents are on teles before they start preschool, and mini split boards are a reasonable investment here.
Skiing and riding is in our blood, whether born with it, or transfused through time, we live for the days when our legs are sore, cheeks rosy and smiles abound. We are fluent in the unspoken language of powder days, and our exuberant inner child is rarely contained in those moments. For the love of it all, let’s not forget that we were all once beginners.
Smiles are free yet the payout is exponential. So smile, you’re in Steamboat.
Whether it’s asking where we store the moguls in the summer, or how to get to the hot springs they can see from the gondola, remember their hearts are pure, and their inner child is only slightly peeking out.
When they ask you what you do here, it’s more about research than intrusion. Each visitor secretly plots how to relocate here and is hoping that, one day, one of us tells them we are Captain Cubical, living on McMansion Way, with nights and weekends off. When they forget to tell you they want separate checks, forgive and forget. It is possible the visitors are intoxicated by the cerebral effects of this town, and some of their usual pleasantries have paid the price. Perhaps, it is the altitude.
We are truly the ones to pay the price when we act grumpy towards our visitors. Of course, some things remain sacred, such as powder stashes and lift line geography. However this season, instead of lashing out, may we smile and redirect.
Instead of riding by a yard sale, may we stop and help collect. Instead of laughing while a skier repeatedly stomps their boot into a popped binding, may we instruct without judgment.
If for no other reason, the golden rule applies; treat others as you wish to be treated. There will come a day in the near future when you find yourself in a strange new land where you look to the locals for guidance and wisdom; may they embrace you as you embraced them.
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