Growing up in Grand County: Sets you apart |

Growing up in Grand County: Sets you apart

Kristen Van Horn
Sky-Hi Daily News Teen Staff

The teenage years are a time full of rites of passage. They are a piece of your life filled with firsts, lasts, and everything in between. But this experience takes on a slightly different spin when growing up in Grand County.

I am a Grand County child, through and through. Just like my peers, my childhood was a bit different then someone raised anywhere else. I was educated in the ways of this unique place very early, perhaps when my eyes watched in wonder as the season’s first snow blanketed the ground. Or it could have been the day I decided that my favorite pair of shoes wasn’t neon sandals or sneakers but instead my weathered snow boots.

I didn’t realize until very recently how much calling Grand County your hometown really sets you apart from other adolescents. We are never up on the latest fashion trends, nor could we wear most of them in the subzero temperatures. I, for one, have never entertained the thought of walking to school but I suppose it’s more inviting when the trek isn’t one of 15 miles. Teenage years probably vary a bit when weekends are spent wandering around a mall as apposed to tackling the slopes sprinkled with fresh powder. You are forever changed when you grow up in a place where you can look up at night and see the stars or hear a coyote howl at the moon.

A place where “snow day” is synonymous with the word miracle and the attendance at your high school can be calculated by how much it snowed the night before. It sets you apart when the place you call home has one movie theater and where “going shopping” always means going to buy groceries. Few teenagers have known the luxury of sleeping in every Friday morning instead of desperately trying to beat the bell to your first class or what it’s like to drive at the age of 16 in a complete whiteout blizzard.

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It’s true that growing up in secluded Grand County causes you to miss out on many things. We are forced to be creative to keep ourselves occupied and drive insane distances to do the simplest tasks. But more often than not, when looking at the alpenglow dance across the snowy peaks or when glancing around your classroom filled with only familiar faces, it’s tough not to feel sorry for everybody else and know that you would never have it any other way.

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