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Morning photo: Solstice!

First day of winter

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Early morning rays illuminate an icescape along the Snake River.

FRISCO — To get some good solstice images, I headed back to the Snake River valley, between Keystone and Montezuma, knowing that the sun would rise almost directly above the water. The cold temps of the last few nights have helped build up intricate new ice terraces and ice dams and the rays slanting through the trees helped give the canyon a wintry glow. I took my iPhone, too, because the sensor on the little camera phone actually does a better job of picking up shadow details in a backlit scene. See if you can tell which of these pics was taken with the iPhone, and which ones with the D80.

Many of the images in Summit Voice photo essays are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net. It’s a great way to support independent online journalism! Continue reading

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Colorado skiing: Catch a free ride to the slopes Dec. 15

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The Front Range Ski Bus at Keystone Resort. Photo courtesy FRSB.

Local bus company offering a free demo day; season bus passes, four-packs and discounted ski tix also available

SUMMIT COUNTY — Who say’s there’s no free ride?

To celebrate the start of full winter operations, Front Range Ski Bus is running a free bus from Denver up to A-Basin, Keystone, Loveland and Copper next weekend, right after what looks to be one of the first real snowy and wintry weeks of the season.

The bus has already been running on a limited schedule and will start operating four days per week (Thursday – Sunday) on Dec. 14, with basic round trip tickets for $35, down from $39 last year.

“Riding the bus up to the slopes is a great way to make new ski and snowboard friends before you even get to the slopes,” said  said chief marketing officer Martin Beran, who frequently rides the bus to ride up at A-Basin. “It’s a relaxing way to get up to the mountains.” he said. “This day is a great way for Denver residents to try out Denver’s best ski bus service without spending a dime.” Continue reading

Skiing: Summit County areas rev up for the season

Snowmaking the key to Thanksgiving skiing

U.S. Ski Team racers have been training at Copper Mountain the past few weeks; Friday, the Super Bee chair opens to the public. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After a few weeks of exclusively serving top ski racers, Copper’s Super Bee chair opens to the public today (Nov. 23), boosting the total number of operating lifts to eight, including the American Flyer, Gem Lift, Super Bee, Timberline Express and American Eagle, serving about 175 acres of terrain spread across 15 trails.

Saturday evening, Woodward at Copper presents the 12th Annual Yam Jam Rail Jam, an after-hours competition under the lights held in Copper’s Lower Bouncer Terrain Park. Skiers and snowboarders compete for tons of prizes, and entry is only $10. Registration is at the Cage from noon to 3:30 p.m., and practice begins at 4 p.m.

Saturday also marks the first En Fuego of the season, ringing in the holidays with a Snow Cat Parade and tree lighting, accompanied by cozy bonfires and tunes from DJ Kris Kringle. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. in the Burning Stones Plaza.

On the east side of the county, Keystone has nine lifts open, serving 170 acres spread across nine runs. Open lifts include the River Run Gondola, the Summit Express chair, the Ranger lift and the Peru Express. Open runs include Spring Dipper, River Run, Schoolmarm and Silverspoon.

A-Basin opened Lenawee Chair last week for top-to-bottom skiing on Lenawee Face, Dercum’s Gulch, Ramrod and High Noon.

Breckenridge is 6 percent open, with five lifts operating, serving 145 acres on seven trails, including Springmeier, Trygves, Crosscut and the Park Lane terrain park.

 

Vail Resorts 2012 earnings, revenue and skier visits down

Company reports increases in season pass sales and advance bookings

Breckenridge ski resort peaks seen from Dillon, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After one of the toughest seasons in memory, Vail Resorts wrapped up its fiscal year 2012 with earnings down about 7.5 percent from 2011, according to the company’s earnings statement released today (Sept. 25).

Total net revenue was $1,024.4 million in 2012 compared to $1,167.0 million in the prior year, a 12.2 percent decrease.

For 2012, VR reported a net income of $16.5 million, down from $34.5 million in 2011, as skier visits dropped steeply at the company’s California and Colorado ski areas. In Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge) visits dropped 8.9 percent, from 5.2 million in 2011 to 4.8 million in 2012.

Overall VR skier visits dropped by 12.1 percent, from 7 million in 2011 to 6.1 million in 2012. Continue reading

Summit County: Winter bluegrass at Keystone

The Pine Beatles featured in a top-notch bluegrass lineup at Keystone, Colorado, Feb. 2-4

The Pine Beatles are part of a stellar lineup for the Feb. 2-4 Winter Bluegrass concert series at Keystone. PHOTO COURTESY THE PINE BEATLES.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Keystone’s summertime beer and bluegrass festival has become a high country classic, and now, the resort is looking to bring some of that twangy American roots music to the winter season with the Keystone Winter Bluegrass concerts at Warren Station (Feb. 2-4).

Thursday’s lineup includes  Willy Porter, Carpe Diem String Quartet and The Mealies and the bluegrass continues Friday with the Mossgatherers, followed by local favorites The Pine Beatles and  The Haunted Windchimes.

The concerts conclude Saturday with Steel Pennies and Finnders and Youngberg.

A full-access, three-day pass is $30 purchased in advance, while tickets for individual shows are $12. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Morning photo: Snake River

Such a fine line between water and ice!

On the cusp of winter ...

SUMMIT COUNTY — After dropping the boys off at Keystone to let them work off the turkey and pumpkin pie, I headed up a short distance along Montezuma Road, pulling over in one of the dispersed camping areas to let the dogs out for some lightly supervised play time. It’s one of my favorite areas to take photos; the weird luminescence of the water comes partly from the high levels of toxic heavy metals in the stream. It’s pretty, but toxic to trout and other aquatic critters. But never mind, it’s still a great place to shoot, and the in-between-ness of the seasons heightened the drama — not to mention the very cool ice formations on some of the rocks. Continue reading

Summit County ski areas submit trail, forest project plans

Keystone is planning some mountain bike trail improvements and a few other projects this summer.

Public comment period on summer projects taken through June 24

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breckenridge and Keystone are planning a few small on-mountain improvement projects this summer, including a new waterline on the Peak 8 Freeway trail and Breckenridge and development of a new ski school trail on Peak 7.

Keystone will try to do some forest regeneration by transplanting trees from one part of the mountain to another, according to a blanket scoping notice issued last week by White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. Keystone also wants to cut about 20 trees at the bottom of North and South bowls to enable grooming in those areas. Continue reading

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