COMMENT: Congrats on a wonderful winter carnival, Rossland
Saturday. I knew I was in trouble within the first few minutes of the remarkable Ski Bum musical, when everyone around me began roaring with recognition at each bum-based joke and I caught myself identifying sheepishly with the awkward anthropologist.
In brief, the trouble is this: I love my toque, but I still take it off indoors. Three years now in Rossland, and I still cannot refer to snow as “pow” with a straight face, due to seriously scrawny legs and an undying love of syllables. I upgrade my ski gear by waiting for my little sister to replace hers with something cooler. I panic when jobless and went on record Friday as advising against keg-stands in a “$#@! book store”. I’m no ski bum.
But I still feel like a Rosslander. The distinction, and the amazing multi-generational spirit of the Winter Carnival this weekend, got me thinking about the nature of belonging in this special place. In many ways, we live in a visibly stratified society. The younger ski bums appear seasonally. Some stay. There’s an older stage involving 2.3 small children, investment in a Subaru, and an interest in schools and sustainability. There are the older ski bums who wandered this way in the 1970s and now find themselves integral to the foundation of the community. And finally, there’s the townie contingent – often identifiable by old names, a penchant for snowmobiles and spectacular facial hair. To their immense credit, they’ve welcomed the long influx of young’uns and yuppies with a quiet acceptance. Such a mix might not fly in some towns. But here it does, and the Winter Carnival showcases this place at its best. A place where grandmothers, firefighters and teenage girls race homemade “bobsleds” down a city street, and the twenty-somethings who speak in slang and won’t pay more than $200 for rent flock to a very witty musical on a Saturday night, and fork out $20 for an awfully smart and funny book by one of their own who also happens to be a PhD candidate. It’s simultaneously a ski town, a shamelessly smart town, and a beautifully connected and quirky community. What a wonderful thing. Congratulations on another great Winter Carnival, Rossland.