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Steamboat Magazine

Local Knowledge: For Locals, About Locals

12/01/2008 01:00AM ● By Kelly Bastone

Holiday 2008:

Local Knowledge: For Locals, About Locals

by Kelly Bastone

 For Locals, About Locals

You read the paper for news and restaurant specials. You tune the radio to hear your neighbors croon their own ad jingles. But the real local stuff – the subtle quirks that reveal what it’s really like to live in the Yampa Valley – you won’t find in any newspaper, radio station, guidebook or online listing. That’s local knowledge. Here’s this issue’s sampler of tidbits you gotta live here to knoabout. 

Hog HeavenNo Need for Turkey: Homegrown hogs keep some Routt County residents up to their gills in pork all year long. Photo by: Ken WrightStarting in early November, Steamboat’s butchers scribble long lists of custom meat orders for those wanting to serve something special for the holidays. But some area residents customize their dining even further: by raising pigs, they replace stuffed turkey with swine, sidestep long lines at the meat department and enjoy a level of intimacy with their food the grocery store can’t match. “I try to keep things more holistic for my family,” says Pete Vandecarr, who raises six pigs in a 1,000 square-foot pig pen. Pete lives outside town, just past the Steamboat Springs Airport, where his wife and two young sons help care for the backyard livestock. “It’s just like gardening for some folks,” he explains. After 12 years pursuing his hobby, Pete has learned a thing or two about hogs. They’re “pretty darn clean,” says Pete, and they’re easy to deal with – not stinky like chickens or turkeys, which he says demand more time. Pigs just need food and water every morning (his critters enjoy a blend of,commercial feed and leftover veggies), yet each animal provides the Vandecarrs with about 120 pounds of meat. They keep a year’s supply, and sell the rest to friends or rade it for other locally raised products. “I basically break even,” says Pete, noting that the costs of pig feed and processing counterbalance the savings he enjoys from eating meat he raises himself. 

Luxe LockersEverything But Fuzzy Dice: Nikki Knoebel's built-to-suit ski locker. Photo by: Corey KopishckeSavvy skiers don’t schlep their stuff around town. Instead they nab a ski locker beloGondola Square, beneath the SportsStalker retail shop. It’s cool convenience – yet some pros take their storage one step further by fitting lockers with nifty details that transform these basic boxes into deluxe ski-gear garages. “I actually had a guy call me over the summer to get the locker’s dimensions,” says Chuck O’Connell who, as manager of the Gondola Square SportsStalker, oversees the locker rentals. “He’s building custom shelves to help hold his gear.” Nikki Knoebel is one local who wasn’t satisfied with the bare-bones box. “They all come with hooks inside, like a school or gym locker, but that’s about it,” she explains. Sharing her locker with her husband, Tim, they needed a way to fit two of everything – skis, boots, poles, goggles, gloves, and more – into one small compartment. So they built a stool that slides into the bottom to double its boot storage. They also bought a cloth shoe organizer – a long strip of fabric with small pouches that hangs inside closets – and trimmed it to fit their locker door. It’s the perfect place to stash goggles, hats, socks, and gloves. “A lot of people add stuff to their lockers to make them more useful,” Nikki says, adding that just like high school, plenty of socializing happens around those open locker doors. “People often hang out there after skiing. We’ve met people we probably wouldn’t have known if we weren’t locker neighbors.”To read more Local Knowledge, subscribe to Steamboat Magazine today!