Colorado Mountains in Winter with Zeb and Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to show my cousin, Eider Duck, our Colorado Mountains in the winter.   Eider lived in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, until recently, so Eider knows about winter snow.   But our Colorado winters are different.   We have so many days with bright sunshine, so our snow melts much faster.   We drove west on I-70 from Denver.   Our first stop was Dillon Reservoir.

Dillon Reservoir, frozen

We drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel, under the Continental Divide.   But, the tunnel is still more than 11,000 feet above sea level.   This reservoir has many sailboats in the summer.   This is also a source of water for Denver.   In the winter, this frozen reservoir is beautiful and serene.   Continuing west on I-70, we stopped to watch humans skiing on the groomed snow slopes of Copper Mountain.

Copper Mountain ski area

We went into Copper Mountain resort, but from I-70 you can see many trails with skiers.   Copper Mountain resort consists of three villages, each with hotels, restaurants, ski lifts and several trails.   This is looking through the entrance to Center Village.

Entrance to Center Village, Copper Mountain, Colorado

Thousands of skiers are here at any time, so many services are needed.   And this is just one of several ski areas in Colorado, along I-70.   Colorado, because of the Rocky Mountains, has many more ski areas further from the interstate highway.   A little further west on I-70 we stopped at this rest area on Vail Pass.   From inside a building at the rest area, the view through the window shows snow to the windows and ice on the top of the window.

Through window of rest area at Vail Pass

There is a designated recreation area here at the rest area also.   Humans enjoy exploring on snow machines.

Snow machines at Vail Pass

Looking back east toward the Continental Divide, from Vail Pass, we like this view.

Continental Divide from Vail Pass

We are still less than 100 miles from our home near Denver, Colorado.   But mom says we need to head back home.   About 20 miles from Denver there is a buffalo herd that lives near I-70, at Genesee Park.  A tunnel beneath the highway allows the herd to move from one side of the highway to the other.  Today they were in the area best for viewing.   We pulled off the highway and admired these buffalo.

Buffalo herd near Denver, Colorado

There is a fence since buffalo are huge and they are wild animals.   We just want to admire these magnificent animals.   They are fun to see, don’t you agree?  Near Rocky Mountain National Park, we often visit Estes Park.   In the summer Lake Estes is a great water recreation area.   In the fall, we often see elk herds in the adjoining picnic area and sometimes drinking from the lake.   But this winter day the lake is partly frozen, the boaters are gone and the elk have moved to their winter areas.

Lake Estes in the winter

Today, another serene scene for us to enjoy.  Today our Colorado sky is a vivid blue.   Peacefulness of winter.   Another favorite winter trip is 20-25 minutes from our house.   Coal Creek Canyon follows the South Boulder Creek.   We often follow this creek and road to the town of Pinecliffe.   Let’s travel into this canyon today.

Entering Coal Creek Canyon

Close to Denver there is not much snow today.   The intense Colorado sun has melted most of last week’s snow fall.  We ducks love sitting by the creek, listening to the water.   Further into the canyon, another stop is appreciated as we admire the snow capped mountains.

View snow capped mountains from Coal Creek Canyon

Our blue skies are beautiful and we like watching the white clouds moving in.   In Pinecliffe, Colorado, we view the frozen South Boulder Creek.

Frozen South Boulder Creek in Pinecliffe, Colorado

Again, we must head home.   One last view of the sun streaming through the trees as Zeb and Eider relax on a fallen pine tree.

Sun filtering through trees in Coal Creek Canyon

Hard to see in this photo, but our pine tree perch had many tiny pine cones.   We love pine trees, pine cones and the fresh smell of pine.   Winter in the mountains is beautiful and peaceful.   But at times falling snow, wind and avalanches are treacherous.   Please, when visiting mountains in the winter, be prepared (carry water and warm clothing) and be careful.   Check weather conditions before you go and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.   Precautions can keep you safe and let you enjoy the beauty, serenity and enjoyment of winter in the mountains.  Have fun!

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Making Snow in Colorado

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck, went to Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin) ski resort today.

Back o Arapahoe Basin Ski resort

Back o Arapahoe Basin Ski resort

We were here June 20 for the last weekend of skiing for last season. Today they have the snow guns going.   A-Basin is making snow now in preparation for the opening of another ski season. Last year A-Basin was the first ski resort to open in North America.   A-Basin was established in 1946 and is really high. The base or bottom of the ski runs is 10,780 feet above sea level. The top of the ski run is 13,050 feet. That’s more than 2 miles high! Usually about 2 weeks of snowmaking is needed to make the 18-inch base necessary to open the resort.

This is a working snow gun.

Snow gun at work

Snow gun at work

Making snow that is similar to natural snow and good for skiing is happening now. The area has received up to 7 inches of natural snow this week and the temperatures are cold enough to make snow.   It was 36 degrees this morning when we visited. This photo shows snow guns.

Snow guns making snow today

Snow guns making snow today

These are not skiers. Soapy and I sat in natural snow on these tables.

They had some natural snow also and it is cold

They had some natural snow also and it is cold

We do not know how to ski or snowboard, so we would need to rent equipment and take lessons here.

Everything the beginner needs

Everything the beginner needs

Another ski resort, Copper Mountain, is also making snow. When we arrived this afternoon, the guns were off. Snow is usually made at night when it is colder. This is a photo of Dillon Reservoir, between the two ski resorts.

Beginning to look like winter

Beginning to look like winter

The snow on the mountains was not there a couple weeks ago.

Then we went to Loveland Basin ski resort.

We have a lot of ski resorts

We have a lot of ski resorts

The snow guns had been working when we passed the resort this morning, but were off in the afternoon.  This shows some man made snow on the lower part of the ski runs and natural snow at the top. These ski lifts are ready for ski season.

Getting ready to ski at Loveland Basin

Getting ready to ski at Loveland Basin