By the number of ski town based articles that mention ski town soul, there is obviously a genuine concern shared by many mountain town locals who fear for their ski town’s soul.
Do I fear for the soul of Jackson Hole? I have been going back and forth in my mind over this issue for a while, but after having to leave town for an extended period of time, and spending some extra “web surfing” hours reading about the issue, I would have to now say … no.
Is the cost of living getting higher? Yes. Will more people move away due to affordability? Yes. Will less people move out here on a whim? Yes.
Affordable housing, staffing local companies … the issues are very real and continue to challenge a number of our mountain towns, but will there be a mass exodus of all good, passionate, life-loving individuals from all these places? I don’t think so.
For the majority of my life, I have lived in New York and Jackson Hole, and truthfully … neither one of them has been particularly affordable. Have I truly suffered because of it? Not really. Do I believe these places still have soul? Yes, I do.
After reading Has New York Lost Its Soul? with its 70+ comments and my time away from Jackson, I really started thinking about how lucky we are to be here in the mountains.
Article starts like this …
Have the proliferation of chain stores, the steep rise in housing costs and the surge in conspicuous wealth sapped New York City’s vitality?”
Example of one of the comments … I understand the alarm and anger that many have to these changes but know that NY still has more uniqueness, excitement and life than any other American city has to offer up. Step outside of the city, into the hinterland of the country, for all the proof you need!
New York and Jackson Hole, completely different yet strangely similar. Unique, expensive, high energy places that people absolutely love! Being away for an extended period of time, I thought about what I was missing and what Jackson Hole really means to me. Did it have anything to do with the restaurants, the retail shops … the million dollar homes? No.
I was missing my friends, their big smiling faces, their larger than life energy, my neighbors/acquaintances that I have been chatting with at the Wilson Post office year after year, the breathtaking view of the Tetons driving home on Hwy 22, and of course the precious time that I have spent somewhere out on a trail (almost) each and every day. That is and what will always be for me … the soul of Jackson Hole.
On a final note, I came across an old article today written by Tom Bie, Leaving Jackson Hole which gives Tom’s personal account of living, loving, and leaving Jackson Hole. I have always enjoyed his writing and reading this one really made me smile …