As fall approaches, our family goes through the annual, almost ritualistic process of dusting off our vintage ski gear (thanks, Goodwill!) and we start thinking about driving a few hours to get to our ski resort. favourite.
It’s always a moment of excitement. And it should be. The idea of skiing on perfectly groomed slopes, gliding along proud trees similar to those that surround our own community, and “eating out of our pockets” – a term my family uses to describe how we eat in these towns tourists by avoiding high restaurant prices .
The tourist towns themselves look immaculate from the outside. The snow sits in crisp white patches, the buildings still look freshly painted, and the rust-covered signs are perfect – if not too perfect.
However, we all know that these places, especially in the low season, are largely filled with empty houses with streets teeming mostly with construction workers, repairmen and others running after being sent, often, from far. During the winter, the communities are quite friendly, but full of foreigners who have recently arrived and who will probably leave even earlier.
Let me compare this to the actual communities that exist in Teller County. What our fellow tourist towns call shoulder season, we simply call fall. Or maybe fall, depending on where you’re from. As the tourist towns emptied, our parks filled with eager children ready to play football in Meadow Wood, led by their heroic volunteer coaches. Our college is full of girls, including my sister, playing volleyball and looking for their next win. My brother and other football team members listen to Coach Drummond as they navigate another football season.
The veterans roared through Woodland Park toward Cripple Creek and the teachers got back to doing what they love, welcoming new faces and greeting familiar faces.
It’s not that Colorado’s tourist towns are bad.
Without their perfectly stacked snow and postcard-quality city blocks, people probably wouldn’t come from all over the world to visit what we take for granted. But, if you have a choice between a Colorado resort town and the true Colorado mountain towns of Woodland Park, Divide, and Cripple Creek, the choice is easy.
Tourist cities – you are great to visit. But I’m always happy when I get home.
Ruth Wiseman, a freshman at Merit Academy, is from Woodland Park. Please email any questions or topic ideas you may have for her to Mail Editor Michelle Karas at [email protected].