UNDER THE SUN

Are you funky?

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— Is Steamboat Springs funky? A longtime local brought up the question to me last week. I thought maybe Steamboat was a little bit more rock 'n' roll or bluegrass. Not funky-jazzy, but maybe it was soulful. But this wasn't what he was talking about.

He was posing the question of Steamboat Springs' reality as a mountain town and comparing it to other ski towns in the state. He asked when I moved here if I expected it to be the way it is. If I expected it to be a "small town." The answer was "no." However, I do believe there is a certain level of funk here.

In general, most of the funk here died with an influx of trophy homes. It was frightened away by laws and litigation. Materialism, money and greed may have helped run it off, too.

Steamboat may have been funky at one time, but now it's just a nice place to live. A nice small city for a family that just happens to have a ski resort and beautiful surroundings. There are pockets of funkiness here, but in general, it is not funky.

So what does this mean, to have the funk or to be funky?

Funky is an element often attributed to mountain towns. If you don't know what it is, you're probably not funky, but you still can be.

There are funky little mountain houses; however, living in a bus with no wheels is funky, too. As a colleague said to me, funky people are neither poor nor rich, because funky people have an indifference to money.

Funky people are not hippies, but hippies tend to be funky. Hahn's Peak Village is funky. Oak Creek is funky and once was the Mecca of funk. Hayden is a nice small town. It is not funky.

Having an old couch on your front porch is funky. Having a wood stove as your only source of heat is in the neighborhood of funky. Living in a million-dollar mansion in the mountains is not funky. Living in no house in the mountains is. The Highway House is funky.

The Bump-Off was funky; the Tequila Bump-Off was funky; the Tug Boat River Race was funky; freestyle jumping competitions into the pools of water was funky. The World Cup is neat, but not funky.

Free concerts are usually funky and could be the last example of community-sponsored funk left here.

Nighttime mountain biking is funky. Skiing on skis older than you are is funky. Snowboarding once was really funky. Swimming naked in mountain lakes is funky. Groomed ski runs are not funky.

An old wool sweater is funky. A bar-band that brings in heads of dredlocks, purple hair, long hair and normal hair is funky. Mountain of Venus last week at the Tugboat was funky, and funky people were there.

Funky people are beautiful, but not pretty. A funky situation gives you a feeling that something is going on. Something new, something real, something unique. Something that could only be happening right there, at that moment and can't be exactly reproduced.

Crested Butte is funky. Vail, Aspen, Keystone not funky.

Though Steamboat may not be an overall funky town, much of Routt County is funky.

Funky should not be shunned or looked down upon. It should be embraced, celebrated and entertaining. Being funky is good. Anyone can be funky, even if you are not funky.

So go be funky it's good for the atmosphere.

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