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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Snow

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

Let it snow even more.

Related Posts:

http://ericschickler.com/category/mountains-in-winter/

http://ericschickler.com/2013/04/24/mountains-in-winter-part-ii/

http://ericschickler.com/2012/01/11/snowy-scenics-evergreen-colorado/

http://ericschickler.com/2010/04/27/sugar-coated-late-april-morning-in-evergreen-colorado/

http://ericschickler.com/2011/05/01/winter-scenic-photos-colorados-loveland-pass-arapahoe-basin-ski-resort-april-28-2011/

 

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The Polar Plunge in Evergreen Lake on New Year’s Day

Thanks for your patience. 
This photography post may take a moment or two to fully upload.

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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Okay, so it’s 15 degrees. So what. The sun’s out! And somebody cut a hole in the ice. So let’s go swimming.

Evergreen, Colorado.  January 1, 2011.

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Mountains in Winter 1

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

RMNP- Hallet Peak area -Snowy Clouds

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RMNP-Hallett Peak from YMCA Camp-horiz-HI-RES

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Mountains in Winter 2

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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Vail Mountain Closing Day 2012 Summit Celebration

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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

 

 

Snow & Ice – Evergreen & Kittredge, Colorado

Feb. 2-5, 2012 – This early February snowstorm dropped nearly 30 inches in and around Evergreen. Look at the delights it left on our foothills countryside.

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© Eric Schickler Photography, Communication & Design

All photography, text and artwork seen here (unless otherwise noted) is copyright-protected and the exclusive property of Eric Schickler Photography, Communication & Design. No downloading, use, reproduction, manipulation, sale and/or distribution permitted without express written consent.

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Snowy Scenics – Evergreen, Colorado

Winter in Evergreen is remarkable, and scenic beyond belief. Within one mile of my home are the most scenic spots, that take on a magic quality when the blankets of white fall from the sky. I find subject matter that is simple, grand, intriguing, soothing, peaceful, invigorating, quaint, inspiring and fascinating.

These images were taken in, around and near Alderfer/Three Sisters Park, and along Bear Creek, just east of Evergreen.

The park has 770 acres of ponderosa pines, silver-plume quartz outcrops and scenic open meadows, accessed by 10 miles of gentle trails. The primary early landowners, the Alderfer family, named the landmark rock outcrops after their children: the “Three Sisters and the “Brother.” The park has become very popular with mountain bikers and hikers, many of whom drive up from the Denver metro area on weekends.

I find endless moments of adventure, exercise and solitude in the park during the week, when you can often explore for hours without seeing a solitary person. Animals represent a higher percentage of the population at these times. I’ve seen coyotes, deer, elk, fox, bear, marmots, and plenty of hawks and eagles.

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One of my favorite little critters is the Abert’s squirrel, distinguished by its black coat and fuzzy upright ears. It is named after Colonel John James Abert, an American naturalist and military officer who led the Corps of Topographical Engineers, which mapped the western U.S. in the 1800s. The squirrels are found primarily in ponderosa pines forests, which they use for food, protection and nesting.

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One inhabitant I’m happy to have never met on the trail is the mountain lion. They are known to inhabit the park, and I have heard a few growling off in the distance. I learned early on that it’s not a great idea to run the wooded trails at dusk or dawn.

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The elk population in and around Evergreen has grown significantly over the past several decades due to their protected status and the small remaining number of mountain lions, their primary predator.

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Human-elk interactions are a daily occurrence in Evergreen, where the concept of “Rush Hour Traffic” is very different from that found in the city. Rush hour in this community often refers to a herd of elk in the middle of the road, on your driveway, sidewalk or in your backyard. Automobile traffic is stopped by both traffic lights and elk herd crossings.

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The funniest Evergreen “rush hour” moment for me was watching five elk parading aimlessly around a traffic circle in the center of town at 5 p.m., paying no heed to the well known rule that vehicles already in the traffic circle have the right of way! Fortunately most resident drivers are very alert to sudden elk appearances, and show great patience in allowing them their migratory freedoms in and around town. Letting them ravage one’s deciduous trees and gardens is another matter altogether.

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When snow covers the park, hikers strap on snowshoes, skis and ice & snow crampons to tackle the trails. Some hardy mountain bikers continue to ride the trails when the snow is hard-packed.

Winter is such a highly rewarding time for photography. That’s when I experience and document unique contrasts, the mix of cool and warm light, soft gradients, the visual delights of falling snowflakes, the juxtaposition of stark blue skies and sheets of white, and the dance of snow clouds as they rake the mountaintops.

Then my lens moves to the fascinating formations of snow on the sturdy ponderosa pines and aspens, the gentle lines and reflections along the waters of Bear Creek, the sparkle of Colorado’s dry champagne powder, and the soft draping of powder on exposed rock outcrops.

My most successful winter images are those that actually capture and convey the hush that exists when a deep blanket of snow covers the landscape. That peace and serenity is also why I so enjoy braving the elements to bring you these images. Which brings me back to the primary reason I am a nature photographer. It keeps me outside and away from the computer!

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As I get older and find myself staring down yet another winter, my mind drifts to thoughts of a warm tropical beach and all the comforts that come with it. But then I look out my door and find scenes like these in the Colorado foothills. I could never move to a one-season location. Look what I would miss!

Marriage Proposal on a Wooded Hilltop in Evergreen * Engagement

Feb. 16, 2011

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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This shoot assignment was a pure pleasure for me. Nate wanted photos of his marriage proposal to Meleah. I was hired by his friend (who is my neighbor) to secretly capture these very special moments on a snowy hillside in February 2011.

Meleah was unaware of all the secret planning that went into documenting their special day. I scouted out a place to hide behind a fallen tree, and fashioned a pine branch canopy to conceal my location. It was cool and windy that afternoon, with six inches of snow on the ground.

Nate & Meleah were brought up the mountain by their friends under the pretense of a routine afternoon trail hike. But their friends lost the trail, and the entire group began wandering around somewhat aimlessly in the woods.

I checked my watch. Where are they? A huge cloud mass was moving in on the warm sunlight. It was getting windy. I was freezing. My shutter finger was losing feeling.

What would we do without cell phones to save the day? I heard voices below me on the hill. Then I spotted them. By cell phone I helped direct them back to the trail and upward towards the designated spot. Meleah was clueless about what was really going on.

My neighbor faked an incoming phone call that unfortunately required he and his daughter turn back, and forgo the rest of the hike. This left Nate & Meleah by themselves to make the loop to the summit.

But now they were coming up the trail from the opposite direction we had planned. I had to make some quick adjustments to my hiding place, covering myself with even more pine branches, and nestling on the ground in the mud and snow. Only my zoom lens poked through the foliage, aimed carefully at the spot where a little bird house hung on a pine tree. That was the place he would drop down on his knee.

Wouldn’t you know a huge gust of wind came swooping across the hilltop just before their arrival. The wind blew the pine branches over my lens! I did my best to get it cleared in time for the big moment, without making so much noise as to be discovered by Meleah. My heart pounding with adrenaline and excitement, I peered through my lens—and there they were. In perfect position. Click, click, click. It all worked out.

Now they will have that moment to relive for the rest of their lives.

After the surprise, the emotion, the tears, the “YES!” and the hugs, he got the ring on her finger, then directed her attention to the paparazzi hiding behind the fallen tree, forty feet away, on the other side of the trail.

I spent a few more hours with them, recording various joyful interactions and footloose outdoor fun.  They were a photographer’s dream — photogenic, casual, relaxed, lost in the moment, immersed in their very happy world, oblivious to me and my camera, oblivious to everything going on around them. Just the way it ought to be.

Nice work, Nate. Thanks for allowing me to share in your magical day. As you two spend your lives together, remember…… it’s not a big deal if you lose track of your designated path now and then, and maybe even get lost in the woods, as long as you always hike together.  Happy trails!

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