Vail Mountain Closing Day Celebration (“4 at 4”) – April 23, 2017

“Vail Kaleidoscope” – Lifestyles and Scenery in and around America’s Premier Mountain Resort

 

All photos and artwork included in this Web site are copyright-protected and the exclusive property of Eric Schickler Adventure Photographer. No downloading, use, reproduction, manipulation, sale and/or distribution permitted without express written consent.

© Eric Schickler Adventure Photographer

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IMG_4579 - Version 3 2008-10-04

Avon-Game Creek Bowl- Vail- HI-RES 2009-05-03 2014-05-12 Balloon-Hot Air-Steamboat-Wild West-HI-RES 12009-07-06 332014-05-12 Balloons on Nottingham Lake- Avon- HI-RES-CHOICE SHOT 22009-07-18 342014-05-12 Colorado River Train & Canoe on Shore-HI-RES - Version 2 2009-05-23 292014-05-12 Fireworks-Vail-HI-RES-Choice Shot 2009-04-23 172014-05-12 Gore Creek-near The Hamlet-Winter 2009-05-04 282014-05-12 Hanging Lake Waterfalls-PRIMO SHOT-HI-RES 2009-07-29 312014-05-12 IMG_0143 2010-12-25 82014-05-09 IMG_0585 - Version 4 2011-01-08 92014-05-09 IMG_0586 - Version 3 2011-01-08 102014-05-09 IMG_0992 2011-04-25 202014-05-12 IMG_0995 2011-04-25 212014-05-12 IMG_1015-edited 2011-04-25 482014-05-12 IMG_1023 - Version 2 2011-04-25 472014-05-12 IMG_1102 32004-09-18 352014-05-12 IMG_2263 - Version 2 2007-07-25 222014-05-12 IMG_2281 2007-07-25 202014-05-12 IMG_2303 - Version 2 2014-03-02 462014-05-12 IMG_2318 - Version 2 2014-03-02 92014-05-12 IMG_2776 2014-04-03 (1) 452014-05-12 IMG_2869 2014-04-14 442014-05-12 IMG_3874 - Version 3 2012-08-19 542014-05-13 IMG_3908 2012-08-20 552014-05-13 IMG_3924 2012-08-20 562014-05-13 IMG_3936 - Version 2 2008-07-13 112014-05-09 IMG_3965 2012-08-21 572014-05-13 IMG_4006 2012-08-23 122014-05-12 IMG_4012 2012-08-23 132014-05-12 IMG_4031 - Davos Trail - West Vail - Mount of the Holy Cross & Notch Mtn. - Choice Pick* 2008-09-26 12014-05-12 IMG_4043 - Version 3 2008-09-26 22014-05-12 IMG_4160 2008-10-03 612014-05-13 IMG_4167 2008-10-03 602014-05-13 IMG_4203 2008-10-03 592014-05-13 IMG_4206 2008-10-03 582014-05-13 IMG_4223 - Version 2 2008-10-03 182014-05-09 IMG_4259 2008-10-03 172014-05-09 IMG_4267 2008-10-03 162014-05-09 IMG_4494 - Version 3 2012-09-16 422014-05-12 IMG_4514 2012-09-16 392014-05-12 IMG_4522 2012-09-16 382014-05-12 IMG_4534 2012-09-16 (1) 402014-05-12 IMG_4537 - Version 2 2012-09-16 142014-05-09 IMG_4542 - Version 2 2012-09-16 412014-05-12 IMG_4543 - Version 5 2012-09-16 432014-05-12 IMG_4546 2012-09-16 152014-05-09 IMG_4650 2008-10-05 192014-05-09 IMG_5438 2009-06-20 142014-05-12 IMG_5863 2009-10-05 322014-05-12 IMG_6588 - Version 2 2013-02-17 162014-05-12 IMG_6595 - Version 3 2013-02-17 182014-05-12 IMG_6630 2013-02-22 252014-05-12 IMG_6641 2013-03-25 242014-05-12 IMG_6764 2013-04-13 62014-05-09 IMG_6778 2005-09-30 302014-05-12 IMG_6790 - Version 2 2013-04-14 492014-05-12 IMG_6814 - Version 3 2013-04-14 52014-05-09 IMG_6881 2010-02-26 (1) 262014-05-12 IMG_6984 2013-04-14 72014-05-09 IMG_6988 (1) copy 32013-12-09 IMG_6989 2005-10-01 232014-05-12 IMG_6994 2013-04-14 (1) 502014-05-12 IMG_7022 2005-10-11 262014-05-12 IMG_7846-edt (1) copy 2013-10-13 IMG_8433 - Version 2 2010-09-11 152014-05-12 IMG_8545 - Version 2 2013-12-30 532014-05-12 IMG_8546 2013-12-30 522014-05-12 IMG_8547 2013-12-30 512014-05-12 IMG_8549-edt-med. size 2013-12-30 12014-05-09 IMG_8552 - Version 2 2013-12-30 42014-05-09 IMG_8582 2013-12-30 242014-05-12 IMG_8593 2013-12-30 642014-05-13 IMG_8595 - Version 2 2013-12-30 662014-05-13 IMG_8600 - Version 4 2013-12-30 652014-05-13 IMG_8679 - Version 2 2013-12-30 32014-05-12 IMG_8682 2013-12-30 42014-05-12 IMG_8770 2014-01-01 52014-05-12 IMG_8834 2014-01-03 632014-05-13 IMG_8840 2014-01-03 622014-05-13 IMG_8844 2014-01-03 102014-05-12 IMG_8846 2014-01-03 112014-05-12 IMG_8886-edtd 2014-01-03 62014-05-12 IMG_9036 - Version 2 2014-02-21 222014-05-12 IMG_9053 2014-02-21 72014-05-12 IMG_9061 2014-02-22 82014-05-12 IMG_9065 - Version 2 2014-02-22 232014-05-12 IMG_9696 2006-09-30 252014-05-12 Kayaker-S.Platte River - wide-HI-RES - Version 2 2009-07-08 122014-05-09 Piney River Scenic-HI-RES 2009-08-11 272014-05-12 Train along Colorado River-fall colors-HI-RES 42009-05-23 362014-05-12 Wildflowers -Lupines-Purple-Vail Mtn.-HI-RES 2009-04-18 212014-05-12

Vail’s Closing Day 2014 Mountaintop Celebration

These great people sure know how to party. And when the sun and warmth shows up, they bring out their best.

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All photos and artwork included in this Web site are copyright-protected and the exclusive property of Eric Schickler Photography. No downloading, use, reproduction, manipulation, sale and/or distribution permitted without express written consent.

© Eric Schickler Photography

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Winter Fun and Nature’s Beauty in the Central Colorado Rockies

It has been a busy winter so far for the ol’ Canon camera. The incomparable Colorado landscape, plentiful snow and animated clients and visitors provided wonderful visual imagery. I lost a few pounds and almost a few fingers (to frostbite) capturing these photos. But I hope you’ll agree it was worth the effort. Enjoy these selected snapshots of winter fun in the Colorado high country.

Most are from Vail Mountain and Summit County locations during Dec., Jan. & Feb.

As always, most of these images are available as high-resolution fine-art prints, or as electronic stock images for consumer and business publications or web site/Internet uses.
If you are Colorado local, I am also available for private photo shoots of any type.
Contact me for image prices, shoot fees, and terms of use.

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All photos and artwork included in this Web site are copyright-protected and the exclusive property of Eric Schickler Photography. No downloading, use, reproduction, manipulation, sale and/or distribution permitted without express written consent.

© Eric Schickler Photography

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Vail Mountain – Closing Day Celebration – April 14, 2013. The Ceremonial End to Vail’s 50th Season. *

* Two days later, the season was extended for the three-day weekend of April 19-21 due to abundant amounts of new snow.

Not sure what kind of party will happen on Sunday 21st, but this would be hard to re-create. There is nothing like Closing Day at Vail:  colorful, noisy, wild and unpredictable. Full of customs, costumes, vittles and bevvies, and plenty of tradition. Sweet and bitter, happy and sad. But always memorable.

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All photos and artwork included in this Web site are copyright-protected and the exclusive property of Eric Schickler Photography. No downloading, use, reproduction, manipulation, sale and/or distribution permitted without express written consent.

© Eric Schickler Photography

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Denver’s Union Station and the Colorado Ski Train

 Union Station:  the Alpha and The Omega

After a harrowing slide down the mountain in my trusted Mazda MX-6, I lugged my ski gear across the frozen parking lot, slipping on the fresh snow. (Better to slip on my feet, I thought, than off a mountain road in my car).


Sunrise over Denver from the Evergreen foothills.
Photo: Eric Schickler

 

The fallen snow had created a scenic white cityscape, unusual in Denver even in the middle of winter, and made Union Station look more prominent and historic than ever, its monstrous white-stoned bulk lurking in the foggy haze. Its juxtaposition in a relatively open area of Lower Downtown allows it to be seen like a statue in the center of a courtyard, from a greater distance and more perspectives than is usually afforded in tight city street grids. Its classic 1914 architecture makes it stand out in a downtown district that sees a new building pop up almost monthly.

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The large lighted red letters that crown the building boldly announce where you are, and in a circus-attraction manner, promote a specific mode of transportation as if it were the latest fad worthy of curious exploration — “UNION STATION — TRAVEL by TRAIN.”  It reminded me of the entrance to Disneyland or the inviting allure of the lettering over an  amusement park. It was definitely a throwback to the past.  But that was part of the charm.

The station is indeed a testament to Denver’s colorful, historic past, when train travel was the fastest and most comfortable way to get around. And as we are learning, the station will again become a bustling transportation hub and social center for Denver. Will it become the giant it once was, or become even more magnificent, as its history and crucial location are blended with new commercial and residential development, travel technology and a myriad of visitors from even more distant lands? The dark quiet morning gave way to the glow of warm lights and activity in and around the terminal. The massive arched windows above the entrance beckoned me inside, as did the warmth of its cavernous hollow. I slipped into its massive hull, inhaled, swallowed up — like a wandering fish by a giant whale.

My lonely drive from the foothills into the deserted city streets gave way to an instant feeling of connection as I let the doors close behind me. Connection to the city, connection to people wide awake at 6:30 a.m., to the rail tracks that ran along the rear of the building, and to faraway destinations at the other end of the tracks. I was thankful for the activity and my senses were awakened. A wave of warm air met my frozen forehead, condensation formed on my eyeglasses, then my friends approached with a hot cup of coffee and warm greetings. Conversations quickly shifted to the nature of the approaching voyage we would make together.

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Footstep echoes flittered across the grand atrium, mingling with muted, yet excited voices. Bundled-up children sat restlessly in the long wooden pews, as if they were about to witness a church service. But the facial expressions were not those you’d see as old Father Murphy marched past them to the alter. They were more like those you’d see on Christmas morning. The eager hum among the children grew with each passing minute. Even grown adults exuded child-like anticipation and excitement.

Everyone readied themselves and their baggage for boarding the quarter-mile-long train for the 7 a.m. departure for the mountains. Most city rail stations would see a 7 a.m. train screech to a halt, fill up quickly, depart, only to be followed within minutes by the same ritual, another train. With short visits from only two Amtrack trains per day, however, the activity around Denver’s Union Station today is like the flickering flame on the wick of a near-empty oil lamp. It’s akin to life in a western ghost town, where a smattering of weekend tourists provide enough commerce for seclusion-hungry locals to cling to a bare-bones existence.

The stark, expansive room seemed haunted with its early 1900’s decor and rich ambient history. In the few minutes I had before boarding, I imagined what it was like to be a child lost in the middle of a bustling throng of Depression-era travelers, filing in and out if the station during its heydays when nearly 80 trains a day pulled in and out. What a contrast to life at Union Station at the very end of the 20th century. Union Station stood as a static relic, an anomaly in Denver’s revitalized and vibrant Lower Downtown district. An unprecedented surge in LoDo’s economic activity was ignited by the 1995 opening of Coors Field. It was followed by widespread residential and commercial development, new businesses, sports, entertainment and cultural attractions, restaurants, galleries and shops. But the decline in rail travel and train commerce had relegated Union Station to a shadow of the activity center it once was.

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 On this day, as the snow continued to fall, Union Station was as busy as it ever gets. It was a weekend in the winter, so the two daily Amtrack trains would be complemented by the Rio Grande Ski Train, which carries passengers to Winter Park Resort for a day of downhill fun or sightseeing, as it has for 60 years. People rave about the Ski Train. It’s a must for every Coloradan.

I had driven from Evergreen to Denver before dawn, and would go back up the hill later that evening.  Was all that effort worth a train ride? I was joining a group of friends for the excursion, my first ever on the Ski Train. I was just as excited as any of the children making their first trip. And I was just going for the ride — I had a broken heel at the time and could not ski. That made no difference. The best parts of the day are the train rides.

On the train, I delighted in the fact that I and 749 others were sitting back enjoying the passing countryside, instead of clinging white-knuckled to my steering wheel as I maneuvered snow-packed I-70, U.S. 40 and Berthoud Pass. For two hours, we rode 56 comfortable miles, climbing 4,000 feet in elevation, passing through 28 tunnels. Then we approached the final mountain underpass, the 6.2-mile-long Moffat Tunnel, the highest railroad tunnel in the U.S.

www.skitrain

But for some reason, the visit to historic Union Station was the most memorable part of my day. That building was the first and last impression of my trip, and it dawned on me that it’s the place where you say goodbye and hello, where you cry, smile and hug loved ones. Union Station is like the old worn leather cover of a great novel. The start and the finish, with so many memories in between. And you always end up sharing it with someone you love.

The last time I traveled any great distance by train was 1987 in New York State. After visiting Union Station and taking that ride on the Ski Train, I now think differently. I’ll look for an excuse to ride the train, and take my friends. Recent security concerns in airline travel have forced people to think again about rail travel. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I first walked into Union Station on that wintry morning.

Oh, getting back to my question…. Was it worth all that effort just to ride a train?  Oh yes. To ride a train and visit Union Station. When it comes to trains, the journey is the reason you ride, but I just love going through that station.

* All photos in this article (except sunrise image) courtesy of Denver’s Union Station and The Ski Train.

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© Eric Schickler Photography, Communication & Design