The 1970s were “groovy” and so where the kids who grew up here. Steamboat Springs was a sleepy town, boasting 2,340 residents when the decade began, and “boom town” 10 years later when the population had doubled from the gondola opening Mount Werner to skiers, condominiums and watering holes.
It was a chaotic time marked by nationwide recession, changes in ski company ownership, fire destroying Howelsen Hill’s 90-meter jump, the Olympics being voted down and a 1976-77 snow drought.
Avocado green bathtubs, orange shag carpets, pet rocks and disco were the hot ticket. Atkins was launching the Diet Revolution, Frank Gehry began building houses and Kurl Vonnegut was ragging on just about everything.
James Michener was writing books too heavy to lift, and Jane Fonda was inventing the women’s movement.
But the kids in Steamboat Springs junior and senior high schools were not interested in anything except riding to keggers in the back of pickups. Some wore cowboy hats held up by their ears, others were “taken down” for hair cuts at the El Rancho. Some were given Nike shoes, Vuarnet sunglasses and Stetson hats, others got jobs in order to buy them.
Their years before Facebook were filled with Commander Cody, Charlie Daniels, LedZeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival. They drank beer in the woods and occasionally snuck into the Pioneer Bar or the Haystack, because it was a lot easier to look 18 than it was to look 21.
They drove way too fast and used CBs instead of cellphones. They were forever going down Howelsen Hill’s 90-meter jump on inner tubes, skinny dipping in the swimming pool after hours, sneaking into the rodeo and driving big trucks and rundown jeeps everywhere.
Every year the Steamboat Springs cops bought the school yearbook so they could track their antics. They knew how to play pool, poach deer, rope cattle, ski like pros and pull outlandish capers, never worrying about being “politically correct.”
The kids who grew up here in the ’70s stole hubcaps and drained beaver ponds. They never read Kierkgaard, but they knew the difference between dithering and doing.
Today, they know how to question authority and demand answers. They know when to pick fights and how to win them. They laugh often, live life free of mission statements and have the gumption to pursue their dreams.
Most have filled their lives with good people and good deeds, and today, most get out of bed every morning equipped to do something worth doing. They are all superb story tellers and, I’m here to tell ya’, the stories they tell are true.
The 1970 to 1979 Steamboat Springs High School class reunion will be held Aug. 1 to 3 with events planned each day and evening. For more information, visit www.steamboat70s.com. Members of the 1960s and 1980s classes also are invited to attend.