John DeVincentis: Don’t be a grumpy local
August 3, 2017
I've lived in Steamboat Springs for 34 years. Back then there was so little summer traffic you could walk across Lincoln Avenue blindfolded, and you wouldn't have to worry about getting hit by a car. Not even close.
Things have changed. Yes, there is a lot of traffic and a lot of visitors. But back then there was no Yampa River Core Trail. There was no pro rodeo although we had locals riding each weekend. It was fun to watch from the rails of the arena – there were no large bleachers.
There was no roofed ice rink just a rink frozen by cold air with slushy ice when it was warmer. We had a small public library – nothing like we have now. There were no free summer concerts. No summer activities on the mountain – certainly no mountainside concerts, stream promenade and sandy beaches, and no Alpine slide at Howelsen. The list could go on and on.
Employers told us that they couldn't increase our wages because we were a ski town with no summer tourism to talk about to help increase revenues and along with that our salaries. Now here we are – better wages, more amenities for us to use year round and still a great place to live and raise kids.
If tourism is something you don't like here in Steamboat, remember that when you go somewhere to visit on vacation. How do those locals feel? If they don't like it, do they shove that in your face when you read their local newspapers.
Summertime is a time to relax and take it easy. Leave your home five minutes earlier. Make use of right turns to get to a light to cut across traffic. Be nice and friendly – even if it kills you.
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Everyone here talks about karma. Keep that in mind when you visit somewhere else. Maybe if you like, your next life will be one on a deserted island with no one and nothing to upset you. Just you and that lonely little palm tree that doesn't light up at Christmas time like the beautiful lights on Lincoln Avenue.
Oh, and if you have a presidential bumper sticker that displays vulgarity, think about our Steamboat children and our tourists who see you and wonder what kind of person you are and what kind of people live here.
One last thing: take time to say hello, smile and be pleasant to those visiting – and to other locals. That happened a lot in the "old days."
There are a lot of other places where our visitors would love to travel. Next time you're grumpy, think about what would happen to Steamboat if all these visitors decided Steamboat was an unfriendly town with a bunch of grumpy, mumbling-under-their-breath locals.