Joel Reichenberger: My icy badge of honor |

Joel Reichenberger: My icy badge of honor

There's plenty I've grown to love about Steamboat Springs.

Absolutely one of my favorite aspects, though, is what makes it such an impossible place to live for so many other people.

It's been a miserably cold week. I hate that. Everyone seems to, in a way.

I accidentally spilled a glass of water on my car seat one morning earlier this week as I was driving to work. I immediately leaned over to try and at least whisk it on to the floor. The water was already a thick slush, just several seconds later. By the time I had a good chance to pull over and do a thorough pat down — no more than two minutes later — it had frozen in to a thin layer of ice.

That's cold. I hate that.

I hate how every room in my house is cold when I wake up in the morning. I hate how no matter how much you run the heat, there's always one room that feels like it's channeling the North Pole. Mine's the laundry room. I feel like I should be happy when my clothes in the washing machine don't freeze solid.

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But at the same time, that cold is one of my favorite parts about Steamboat.

Everywhere else in the country shuts down when the temperature gets below 0 degrees. When I lived in Kansas — no tropical region by any stretch of the imagination — anything below 10 degrees was a legitimate reason to not do something.

In Steamboat, people blow into their hands, they bicker and they complain. And they simply go on with life. They go to the high school football game, to the ski mountain and restaurants. They even do stuff they don't have to such as go shopping or — and this I don't entirely understand — for a jog.

It hasn't really started snowing yet but that always sparks the same reaction. It seems to me that living in Steamboat turns those miserable experiences in to badges of honor.

I know I brag about them. My favorite skiing story from last year wasn't the one where I fell while trying to get on the chairlift. Twice. It wasn't the time I did a "jump" off a rock and was ejected head over heels from my skis. And it wasn't the time I got to ski first tracks.

It was the morning I woke up to go skiing and the thermometer in my car read minus 28 degrees.

I just sat there and thought about how cold that is. That's 60 degrees colder than freezing, the same difference between freezing and 92 degrees. And I went skiing — at least, I did after a stop at Sportstalker to load up on glove liners and a face mask.

I smiled all the way through it.

Five feet of snow on the driveway in the morning, that sucks. Zero-degree temperatures, they're no fun either.

But they're a part of living here, and they're much easier to stomach simply because everyone greets them with some sick kind of joy. So, while it's been a rough, cold week, it's one I've rather enjoyed.

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