Joel Reichenberger: ‘Farewell’ is a local motto |

Joel Reichenberger: ‘Farewell’ is a local motto

— Living in Steamboat Springs comes with a lot of side effects.

Who, having put in a few months here, can't help but pick up elements of skier and snowboarder lingo, learn the difference between slalom and giant slalom and define "Telemark"?

Who among non-native locals can honestly claim to have had the slightest idea what "Nordic combined" entailed before putting down roots in this ski town?

We become better skiers and snowboarders because we are around it every day all winter. We become river forecasting experts because we see the waters lap closer and closer to our favorite bars, and we soak up old-timers' tales of melting patterns on Storm Peak face.

Not all the side effects of being a Steamboat Springs local are great, however.

I feel like this month my entire circle of friends is moving away.

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That's only barely an exaggeration. Five people I've been close to have or will pack up and leave town in the latter two-thirds of this month. And I'm not that close with too many people.

That's how it is in a place like Steamboat Springs, though. Sure, people move to and from everywhere all the time. But it's different in Steamboat, no matter what some cheesy curse says. This place isn't "forever" for everyone, or even most people. Some of us — probably me included, someday — will tire of the falls and the spring, and perhaps even the winters.

Daily snowfall and minus 40 degree temperatures are only cute for so long.

I refuse to think anyone can get sick of summer in Steamboat, but I guess it's possible. Most of these friends moved when the weather was pristine and before tubing season even started.


I'll miss those leaving to varying degrees. Some proved to be great people and greater friends. Others existed on my periphery, good people to run into at a bar, spy at the other end of the shuffleboard table or soak in the Super Bowl with, but ones who I didn't spend a lot of daylight hours around.

Some I've been close and distant with and probably always will be, both at the same time.

One thing about all of them, people who have been as regular a part of my life since moving here as depressing fast food but great breakfast and lunch options, as hilariously small but rarely sold-out movie theaters, I wish they all were going to be as much a part of my August as they were my June.

So it goes in Steamboat, which draws in, entertains and sends on tens of thousands more than it ever lures back permanently.

There will be more to take their place — people, anyway. Friends? I can pessimistically say "I don't know," but optimistically assure myself there will be.

People are always coming to and going from this town.

That is Steamboat Springs, and I love it and I hate it.

Farewell, friends.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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