Morning photo: April snow

Springtime in the Rockies

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Tracks.

FRISCO — I’ve always thought spring snowstorms were different. The snow is wetter, and often starts when air temperatures are (relatively) warm. That means the snow sticks to everything, including vertical surfaces, and hangs on even if there’s a bit of a breeze. So, even if the weather turns springlike, that snow clinging to the trees makes it look wintrier than it feels. Here’s what Summit County looked like after a recent April dusting. Continue reading

Morning photo: Here and there …

April awesomeness

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At the edge of the meadow.

FRISCO — A couple of quick jaunts through Summit County this weekend yielded a few decent snapshot, including the muted sunset in the first image, brought to life with th iPhone’s HDR option, not to mention some Instagram editing. Along with the scenic shots of Summit County, I got up close and personal with a couple of roadside embankments, exploring the emerging mosses and icicles. If you enjoy our daily snapshots, please visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Signs of spring?

A moment of clarity ...

A moment of clarity …

FRISCO — I love those warm spring days when the snow seems to melt in front of your eyes. Instead of a smooth, unbroken, layer, the snow melts away in patches, starting on sunny slopes or around the base of trees, and the surface is pitted and rough. Every little grain of dust or twig catches the sun’s heat and the surround snow melts in a little crater. After months of stasis, the landscape seems to come to life — a time of transitions. Continue reading

Morning photo: Take 2

Winter winding down …

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Bring on the day!

FRISCO — I’m a little reluctant to let go of winter too quickly, but after feeling 50-degree temps for the first time in about six months, I’m willing to think about it. In the meantime, some winter highlights from the archives. Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art American for more Colorado landscape and nature images. Continue reading

Morning photo: April come she will

Springtime in the Rockies?

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The ice on Dillon Reservoir was mostly gone by late April, 2012, with a few berms of snow left on the shore at Pine Cove Campground, near Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — Weatherwise, April is always been one of the most dynamic months in the Colorado high country. Cold spring storms off the Pacific alternate with warm and sunny high pressure systems building from the Desert Southwest … and this year seems to be no exception, as the snow of the past few days is expected to give way to the warmest weather of the year, so far, in the coming week. But think back just two years ago, when Colorado (and much of the country) experienced a record-warm March, leading to summer-like conditions in April. It’s never a boring month! Continue reading

Morning photo: Colorado skiing

Got snow?

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Highlands Bowl is a Colorado hike-to classic.

FRISCO — There’s great skiing all over the world and it’s hard to single out any one spot as the best. But when the snow is good in Colorado, it’s about as good as it gets.

Continue reading

Vail ditches ‘Epic Pass’ as of April 1

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Front Range skiers may have to get lift tickets for Breckenridge through a statewide lottery.

Resort officials discuss best way to allocate tickets to powder-crazed Front Rangers

Staff Report

FRISCO — Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it’s curtailing sales of the so-called Epic Pass effective April 1 due to overcrowding on the slopes of Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.

The move came as part of a rebranding effort that will see Vail Resorts focus on quality rather than quantity, chairman and CEO Bob Slatz said in a prepared statement.

“This spring break, we’ve come to realize that enough is enough,” Slatz said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve heard them loud and clear. Starting April 1, the Epic Pass will be history.”

The announcement came after a busy weekend at Breckenridge, when the lift line for the Colorado SuperChair extended from the base of the lift to within about 100 feet of the top.

“It was kind of ridiculous,” said Aurora skier Charles “Tazzie” Wayright. “We got on the lift, side-slipped down to the end of the line and then rode back up again. By the time we got to the top it was time to head back to Denver to try and beat the I-70 jam,” Wayright said, adding that the drive back to the Front Range “only” took five hours.

“A couple of weeks ago, it took us four hours just to get from Breck to the tunnel,” he said, wondering whether Vail will replace the Epic Pass with some other product.

Breckenridge Ski Area chief Cat Rambell said the resort is thinking about using a lottery system to allocate precious day passes among Front Range skiers who flock to the slopes on snowy weekends.

Another option is to direct skiers according to their vehicles, Slatz added, quickly saying that it wouldn’t be a case of vehicular profiling.

“If you think about it, it makes sense. Hummers and Escalades will be directed to Beaver Creek; all other giant SUVs go to Vail, and, oh yeah, Volvos, too,” Slatz said. Minivans will be steered toward Keystone, while Subarus showing the slightest bit of rust will have to make the trek up to A-Basin.

*Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa … APRIL FOOLS! I’m actually a big fan of Vail’s pass products. I think it makes skiing much more accessible and attractive. It’s absurd to blame Vail Resorts for I-70 traffic jams because it sells a product that people want.

That said, they could probably optimize their pricing to incentivize off-peak travel and skiing. In my mind, that would include a higher-priced unrestricted pass and deeper discounts for mid-week skiing.

And what about, finally once again, a locals pass that includes ALL local resorts, specifically Copper and Loveland.

Morning photo: Half-light

High in the Rockies …

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A curtain of virga hangs over the Colorado Rockies during a solar eclipse.

FRISCO — A couple of years ago, we had the chance to wander way up above treeline during a solar eclipse that started in the late afternoon and continued until after sunset. While we weren’t able to see the moment of totality, the shifting light of the clouds, combined with the filtering effect of the eclipse delivered some breathtaking light. If you enjoy our daily snapshots, visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for a selection of Summit County landscape and nature images.

Continue reading

Morning photo: Emergent

Earth tones

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Emergent sage, Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO — Summit County gleamed white once again after a quick overnight storm dropped a few more inches of snow, the latest wave in a seemingly endless onslaught of winter. But it only took a few hours of warm spring sunshine start the inexorable thaw process in the valleys, where — surprise — there’s already a bit of brown earth showing. Melting snow on emergent sage has to be one of the best smells in the world, and if you don’t believe me, take a stroll along the Oro Grande trail in Dillon. Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature photography.

Continue reading

Morning photo: Saturday set

Fire and ice revisited

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Daybreak.

FRISCO — Sometimes, when the fiery sun rises in a winter sky, it seems so improbable that the snow and ice can persist under the solar rays. But don’t be fooled by the hot colors — these images were all snapped on days when the temperature was well below freezing. If you enjoy our daily Summit Voice photo essays, visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature photos.

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Misty dawn.

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Alpen glow on the Continental Divide.

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Peaceful sky over Buffalo Mountain.

Sundog at sunrise, Frisco, Colorado.

Sundog at sunrise, Frisco, Colorado.

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