Times like this week, it's easy to look westward and daydream of living in the thick of it all. Breck, Vail, Aspen, CB -- they all seem like heaven in the middle of your favorite white dream.
But living in a ski town is far from utopia. Why else would hordes of powder hounds decamp for the Front Range each year, putting up with grinding drives when they want to shred? It's in this spirit that we present our Top Five Reasons Why Ski-Town Living ain't all it's cracked up to be.
(Get ready, comment Trollz!)
1. It's expensive. The first and highest barrier to entry in ski-town living is the expense. Even the far-out ones like Crested Butte will sap your savings and rip you off stupid -- and we're not just talking about the rent. Try and go cheap at a Wendy's and sometimes you'll see $2 tacked on to a value meal (call it the "vacation lifestyle" tax). And when you're younger, it's easy to hole up in some hovel with 12 other dudes, but that gets old fast. Unless you're one of the lucky lifties who somehow parlays that into a real estate job, get ready for Top Ramen nights well into your 30s. Remember, most ski-town folks don't make their money here -- they bring it.
2. It lacks culture. I know, I know: Every ski town this side of Silverton has a goddamn opera festival, or symphony, or modern herky-jerky dance fest, which is great while it's happening, but what're you gonna do when the crickets are singing in between? Face it, even the good weekends pale compared to the panoply of options afforded by an average Front Range weekend. They get the pow, we get the people -- it's just the way it works.
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3. It's kinda dumb. Even the most educated people (there are a lot) in ski towns go slack-jawed and monosyllabic as soon as it starts snowing. I love pow as much as anybody else, but sometimes the brain needs nourishment and stimulating conversation. Talking about snow quality and faceshots for days on end (while powered, admittedly, with primo weed) does not feed the life of the mind. Wanna talk about national politics? Music? Sartre? Better head east, brah.
4. The music sucks. This is obviously way subjective, but who wants to subject themselves to reggae and adult-contemporary has-beens every night? Michael Franti must've cloned himself long ago to make all his Colorado dates. Local bands? I'd rather be shot than have to hear a bluegrass/world-beat fusion band ever again. (Caveat: Ghost Ranch in Steamboat and Sandbar in Vail have made great strides in booking indie bands, and Belly Up has some of the greatest sound in Colorado. But we're not quite there yet. ) Want consistently great indie/punk/metal? Fuhgeddaboudit.
5. You never stop getting visitors. This is great at first, but when Aunt Patty from Dallas, who you haven't seen since you were twelve, starts trying to crash at your place and wheedle you for discount lift tickets, the open-door policy gets old fast. You'll never be more popular with college friends you didn't really like in the first place.
(Okay, Okay--calm down, people. Before you get all riled up and soil yourself, keep in mind that this is part one of a two-part post. Coming soon: Top Five Reasons Mountain-Town Living is EVERYTHING It's cracked Up To Be. Stay tuned.)