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Morning photo: Winter’s last gasp?

Never say never …


North Tenmile Creek, Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — At this point, I’m almost afraid to say it’s the last snowstorm of the season because it feels like it could keep snowing all summer. We’ve had years like this before — old-timers may remember a 12-inch dump up at A-Basin in the early 80s, and we’re in a weird phase of hemispheric circulation that doesn’t lend itself to predictability. But what the heck, snow is beautiful any time of year. It doesn’t really feel out of place here at nearly 2 miles elevation, even though it’s May. In this set, I tried to capture some of the feel of the wet spring snow with some iPhone closeups, which sounds easier than it is. For all its charms, the iPhone camera’s spot sensor can be tricky when you get within a few inches of a subject. Please visit our online FineArt America gallery for a selection of stunning Summit County landscapes. Continue reading

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Morning photo: One more time …

Snowy bliss


Shooting into the sun can be dicey, but sometimes it’s worth the try.

FRISCO — I’m still shorting through shots from our early May snowstorm and working up a few edits of the iPhone and DSLR shots, including the top image, which is literally a roadside view right here in our Frisco neighborhood, if you know where to look. I used an iPhone for the scene, but instead of using an Instagram filter to try and lighten up the foreground, I ran it through the iPhoto program on my laptop to try and preserve some of the snoothness that gets lost in Instagram sometimes. The rest of the images were all taken with the Nikon. Continue reading

Morning photo: Going with the flow …

Winter hangs on


No, it’s not cotton. It’s fresh snow piling up on aspen catkins.

FRISCO — Another day, another snowstorm in Summit County, but the good thing is, you don’t really hear anyone complaining about the snow. Well, maybe a few good-natured comments about flip-flops and bikes, but for the most part, people are quite aware that these April storms are the only thing standing between us and extreme summer drought. As far as photography, you just gotta go with the flow — or with snow, in this case. Continue reading

Morning photo: Spring? Not so fast

Better late than never …


Sunrise lights up the Gore against the backdrop of an incoming storm.

FRISCO — March arrived with a wintry punch last weekend, delivering a blast of much-needed snow to the high country of Colorado. It wasn’t a big storm in the scheme of things, but after a dry January and a so-so February, the freshies were more than welcome. Continue reading

Ullr: The comeback kid!


A snowboarder enjoys freshies at Copper Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. Photo courtesy Copper Mountain Resort/Tripp Fay.

Winter storm warnings from Tuesday through Thursday in Colorado; avalanche danger to peak in the mountains

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Snow piled up in a big way at some Colorado ski areas and more is on the way. National Weather Service forecasters are tracking a moist flow off the Pacific that favors the northwestern mountains. Much of the state’s high country is under a winter storm warning, from Steamboat down through Fairplay.

The warning is in effect from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 31) and covers parts of the I-70 corridor. Snow and blowing snow will hinder traffic over the high passes in the region. Snow is expected to continue through Thursday with periods of heavy snow and strong winds.

The snow is a huge relief for ski areas and water managers. Already, some resorts have picked up multiple feet of snow. According to Colorado Ski Country, Silverton Mountain in the San Juans reported 78 inches of snow in the past few days, about double of the 36 inches reported at Wolf Creek.

Along the I-70 corridor, Copper reported a 6-inch storm total and declared a Snow Day for a special breed of passholders who can ski anytime there’s 4 inches or more of snow under the terms of a $99 season-long Snow Say pass. Continue reading

Morning photo: Snapshots

Snow magic in Breckenridge


Colorado lights highlight the shapes of the Breckenridge snow sculptures.

FRISCO — Some years it’s cold and snowy, other years, it’s warm and dry, but either way, the snowsculptures at Breckenridge’s annual competition never fail to amaze — and this year was no exception. Artists from around the world battled near-record warm temperatures as they finalized their creations for the judging Saturday. Here are just a handful of snapshots from the Riverwalk Center. Continue reading

Arctic rain-on-snow events tilt the ecological playing field

Caption: Arctic foxes in Svalbard will have more than enough food during rainy and icy winters because there will be many reindeer carcasses for them to eat. The next winter, however, the fox population size will be reduced because a robust and small reindeer population will mean many few deaths and hence, very little carrion.Credit: Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology

Arctic foxes in Svalbard will feel the effects of global warming, as rain-on-snow events change the abundance of prey animals. Photo by Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology.

Norwegian researchers document cascading environmental impacts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Norwegian scientists say they’ve observed how climate-linked extreme weather events have affected not just single species, but an entire ecological community in the Arctic.

Rain-on-snow events caused synchronized population fluctuations among all vertebrate species in a relatively simple high arctic community, the scientists said after documenting how populations of three species crashed at the same time.

These findings, published in the Jan. 18 issue of Science, may be a bellwether of the radical changes in ecosystem stability that could result from anticipated future increases in extreme events.  Continue reading

Morning photo: Ice and snow

The cold season …

FRISCO — This week’s #FriFotos Twitter chat is themed snow and ice, so it wasn’t hard for me to find just a few pictures in the archives — after all, winter reigns for more than half the year here at 9,000 feet, and it’s not unusual to get a stray snowstorm in July. Often, the first snow of the new season coats the high peaks in September, and we’ve even had a few dustings in late August.

This year was epic for early season ice along the local streams. Often, the ice gets covered up by snow as soon as it forms, but autumn was very dry in the Colorado high country, so the I had a chance to explore some cool ice formations along the creeks.

I’m looking forward to seeing ice and snow images from around the world. Join the fun – upload your snow and ice pics, tag them with #FriFotos and share them on Twitter via your favorite social media photo channel!

Colorado: Avalanche warning in the San Juans

backcountry skier

The latest storm has increased the backcountry avalanche danger in the San Juans and western Colorado mountains. Bob Berwyn photo.

Natural avalanche cycle expected, with large and dangerous slides possible

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Snowfall rates of up to 1 inch per hour, strong winds and a weak base layer have upped the avalanche danger in the San Juans to the critical zone. Forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center Friday issued an avalanche warning for the northern and Southern San Juans, where large and dangerous slides are likely and travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

The avalanche danger is rated as high on west, northwest, north, northeast and east aspects at all elevations. The danger is considerable on southeast, south and southwest aspects at all elevations in the San Juans. The avalanche warning is in effect through Saturday morning, but the threat of slides will persist through the weekend.

By Friday morning, up to 14 inches of snow had already piled up in parts of the San Juans, with winds gusting as high as 80 mph. The biggest snow totals were reported around Red Mountain Pass, Coal Bank Pass and the Weminuche Wilderness. Continue reading

Colorado snowpack lagging behind last year

December snowfall slightly above average

Colorado snowpack map

December snow boosted ski area prospects, but state snowpack is still lagging.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado’s snowpack is lagging behind even last year’s meager Dec. 1 readings and water storage is even farther behind, indicating that the state’s water managers and users face another rough year unless some big late winter and spring storms roll through the Rockies.

As of Jan. 1, the statewide snowpack was at 70 percent of average and 9 percent behind last year’s reading on the same date — the fourth-lowest total in the past 32 years.

“Conditions could have been much worse if we had not received the moisture we did in December,” said Phyllis Ann Philipps, sttate conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading


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