6 Outsider Misconceptions About Denver

While living in Los Angeles for five years, I was asked many (really dumb) questions about my hometown. Below are the most common misconceptions outsiders shared with me about Denver, Colorado (and yes, these are all real and recurring assumptions):

1. Denver is perpetually buried in several feet of snow.
Hardly. We have over 300 sunny days annually (just short of Miami and more than San Diego). The average annual snowfall in the metro area is 57.5 inches, it lands sporadically six months out of the year, and only 40-50% of it sticks. With the average winter temperature above freezing (between 34 and 51 degrees, depending on the month), the snow that sticks melts in a few days.

2. Most people in Denver are cowboys and dress accordingly.
I can think of five people who wear cowboy boots and zero people who wear cowboy hats casually. Yes, Colorado maintains a lot of agriculture and has rich cow-town history. But the large majority of people do not dress or act the part.

3. Everyone skis.
I don’t. I know many people who never have. It’s really expensive.

4. Columbine High School is the main high school in Littleton.
Jefferson County, Columbine’s home district, has 22 high schools, serves nearly 85,000 students, and blankets a 700 square-mile area with half of a million people. Columbine isn’t even in the Littleton Public School District. Just because the school was televised 12 years ago doesn’t make it the masthead for an entire town.

5. Denver is a violent city.
Two high school students and a few scruffy wildlife hunters do not make an entire city “violent.” The funny part? These assumptions were made by people living in South Central Los Angeles. Denver had 33 murders last year. Los Angeles? 291.

6. Denver is in the mountains.
Seriously? Look at a map. Denver is easily 20 miles away from the nearest hill, let alone the depths of the Rocky Mountains. Do Southern Californians take geography?

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