It is that time of year, the ski town off-season, when things slow down, and locals have more time to reflect, relax and take back their beloved home which tends to become overly inhabited by tourists for a good portion of the year.
I have been catching a few ski town articles this off-season that cater to the mountain local scene. A couple of articles on yoga in the mountains, one on the joys of the off-season in Vail and most recently a feature in the Steamboat Pilot about what defines a “local”.
One thing is for sure, locals tend to love, not just like the ski town in which they live. Check out RealVail’s Boyd’s Blog and read the latest entry titled, ”Vail vacation takes an October chill pill”. Excuse the slang, but it would be hard to find a ski town local saying, “yeah, it really sucks to live here”. Yes, it can be challenging to live in a ski town, but we all really know that life can be challenging at anytime and anywhere. For the most part, if you go around and ask local residents how they feel about living in the mountains, the majority will tell you that they wouldn’t choose to live any other way.
Defining a local, featured this past week in the Steamboat Pilot states that ”being a Steamboat local is all about becoming involved in the community”. I was trying to remember my first couple of years in Jackson Hole and how exactly did I feel. When did I start to feel like a “local”? My transition was fairly easy due to my job managing a temporary staffing office; I quickly became involved in the community, dealing with businesses and workers every single day. What is amazing is the number of people I met while working in that office who are still living and thriving in Jackson Hole today.
It is understandable how residents in any small town would find comfort in acceptance from the community. It is nothing like city living where anonymity is more the norm. On the other hand, I don’t know if I would say that the actual label of being considered a “local” is really the big deal. It is hard to put into words, but becoming a “local” may be more about a feeling than a label and generally will come about at some random point in time. It may be some kind of “wow” moment when you look out at the mountains and it hits you that this is actually now your home. I think this is what happened to me, the realization one day that I was fulfilling my dream of living in the mountains and wanted to be nowhere else but right here!