Steamboat Springs I hate to be a downer and disturb the normally light-hearted nature of this column, but I had a rough weekend.
On Saturday, I attended a farewell party for fellow reporter Alexis DeLaCruz, who recently resigned from the Pilot & Today and moved back to her hometown of Denver. I went out Sunday night with a group of friends who gathered to say goodbye to Anthony Miriani, who worked at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and TIC, and has moved to Chicago for a job.
In the five months since I moved to Steamboat, Anthony and Alexis became two of my best friends. Their loss is no doubt dispiriting, but I don't know what's discouraging me more: missing my friends or what these two departures might say about our community's future.
In my short time here, I've heard more than a few times the saying that if you don't have at least two jobs in Steamboat, you're unemployed. Anthony - like myself and like so many people in this community - worked two jobs to make ends meet and still have some semblance of a social life in Steamboat Springs. Anthony, like Alexis, decided it was time to move on.
While reporting a story in August, a financial planner told me, "You already are rich living in Steamboat" - an easy thing for someone who actually is rich to say. But it is true that even in my most glum moods - like when my mom back in Indiana told me she was renting out the house next door for about the same price I pay to share a duplex with two other people here - all it takes is a step outside and a scan of the scenery to refresh my soul.
But I suspect beautiful surroundings, loads of fun and five months of skiing only go so far before the absence of larger life goals such as financial stability and home ownership - or just a weekend - take their toll.
Numerous government officials, City Council candidates and others have said the rising cost of living in Steamboat is putting the city at risk of losing the very people that give it the character we all love, but the problem is usually framed as a future one. I have news for all of them: Alexis and Anthony were two of those people - and the exodus may have already begun.