Tag Archives: RMNP Skiing

There’s Snow In The Mountains In Rocky Mountain National Park!




What a difference from one week to the next! Last weekend we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts, marveling at how beautiful the weather has been and what a gorgeous extended summer we were having! Last year at this time we had already had 2 significant snowfalls. So far this year the temperatures were still in the 70s during the daytime. Not bad for the beginning of October.

And then on Friday, the weather changed. It is still beautiful but we turned  the heat on in the house with temps at night in the 30s and 40s and in the daytime in the 60s. We got out the  jeans and jackets. What a difference a week makes!

Phil and I took a ride into the park to see the snow in the mountains. You can see that it is still autumn at the bottom but definitely winter at the top!

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What Noise Does A Dead Tree Make?



I remember one particular day about 15+ years ago going skiing with my children in Vermont (went skiing with my children since they were 3 years old).

It was a very crowded morning as the snow just fell and the lodge was very busy with 1,000’s of skiers.  Everyone was putting on their boots, getting ready and very excited for fresh powder.  It was going to be a gorgeous day.  Little did I know what I was about to experience.  And that is the beauty of waking up each day.  You never know what you are going to experience… and every day is going to be a new experience, unlike the many days before.

We went up on the chair and gondola for a lot of great runs.  About 11:30am, we decided to go into the lodge for lunch (always try to get into the lodge earlier than the rest of the crowd).  But this day was extremely busy and the lodge was already crowded… and there was a lot of noise, clanging, people talking loud, people shouting and people having a great time.

I have noticed over the years (with cell phones), that there is a lot of noise in public today.  Usually, a person would be walking down the street and looking around… enjoying the day. But now, people have bluetooth in their ears and talking loud while they are walking around (even when they are enjoying the day walking around a lake, etc.)  Everyone has a need to talk all the time.

So… let’s get back to my skiing with my children as after lunch we decided to ski backcountry as this would be the best time for our strength to take that challenge.

We took the gondola up and started to trek through the trees as my son-in-law knew a very special place to start our run.  As we left the crowds, I started noticing quiet… very quiet and no noise.   All I could feel and see was the falling of tiny snow flakes all around.  Each flake that landed on my ski parka did not make a sound.  Suddenly it became totally quiet and it became a surreal experience.  There wasn’t a sound around and everyone stopped at that moment to experience it.  And what a moment it was.

And just when everyone had enough of that magical moment… skis were turned downhill and everyone started off… screaming and yelling and having a great time.

There is a time for silence and a time for noise.  Let’s just not forget that there is a need for the balance of the two.

What noise does a dead tree make?

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They Are Still Skiing In The Bowls At Hidden Valley In RMNP!



We passed this carload of guys on the side of the road going up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. They were getting all of their skiing gear together to hike up and ski down the bowls at Hidden Valley. Wow!

You can see the little speck which is the skier right in the middle of this photograph. He is all by himself. But…look at all the snow! Unbelievable for the end of May!

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Enjoy Estes Park Audio Podcast Network Has Been Launched For Estes Park And RMNP!



Enjoy Estes Park recently launched “The Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park Audio Podcast Network.”  The Audio Podcast Network currently has 45 Channels (growing each day) and 13,000+ listeners.  Over 400+ shows have been scheduled for production. You can listen to the Podcast Network with your computer, cell phone and tablet. There are many great Estes Park & RMNP experiences available that you don’t know about or will miss and the Podcast Network brings that information directly to you.  All podcasts and music are professionally produced in a recording studio.

Podcast Topics include (this is a small sampling):
• Rocky Mountain National Park: wildlife, fishing, hiking, wildflowers, butterflies, birds, photography, trails, camping, gear, driving tours & more.
• Estes Park Business Tours on-site: Retail, Dining, Health, Lodging & Service.
• Art Tours: Visual & Literary Arts interviews with art galleries, artists (painters, sculptors, potters, etc.), authors & more.
• Museum Tours: Art collections, exhibits & more.
• Rocky Mountain National Park: Outdoor Adventure & Adventure Guides.
• Podcast Cafe’ Music: Interviews and live performances with Estes Park musicians (Cowboy Brad, etc.).
• Estes Park History: Historical tours, talks from the past, interviews, on-site historical topics, etc.
• Business: How to get ahead in business. Business advice & help.
• Rocky Mountain National Park 100th Year: Interviews with people associated with RMNP regarding the celebration.
• Inspirational, Health & Wellness: Professionals talk about subjects that will help you enjoy life to its fullness.
• Beat On The Street: Live audio & video interviews.
• The Week Ahead: Every Friday, you can listen to “The Week Ahead” to learn about what is going on for the week ahead in Estes Park & RMNP.
• Share Podcasts: You can share all the podcasts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
• And a whole lot more!

Sign Up for your free podcast membership as there are many additional podcast benefits available for you.  For a limited time, you will receive a Free Lifetime Membership to listen to all premium channels.

Please visit The Podcast Network at www.estesparkpodcast.com.

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New Ski Tracks On The Bowls At Hidden Valley In RMNP



You can see the new ski tracks way up on the bowls of Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. These bowls are above Trail Ridge Road. You can even see 4 people over on the right side of the photograph who are hiking up there to ski or snowboard down the mountain. That is the only way up!

In its heyday, Hidden Valley was a ski resort in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was closed in the early 1990s…so sad. I have met so many people in Estes Park who learned to ski there and had a blast all winter skiing on the slopes.

So now the only way up is to hike up. Phil and I have hiked up and skied down…what fun! And totally exhausting!

Can you see the ski tracks and the people hiking up?

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The Snow At The Hidden Valley Bowls And Rainbow Curve In Rocky Mountain National Park Is Really High!




Phil and I took a drive up Trail Ridge Road to Rainbow Curve yesterday to see how high the snow was. Trail Ridge Road is not open yet for the season. We were surprised at how high the snow was right below the Hidden Valley bowls and before Rainbow Curve.

Can you believe how high the snow is now? I’ve never seen it this high at the end of May!

I can’t wait to drive up Trail Ridge Road when it opens. The snows must be amazing!

I’ll keep you updated as to when Trail Ridge Road opens for the season.

Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous road in the country, opened today for the season!

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A Snowy Hike At Sprague Lake in RMNP




Sprague Lake was just gorgeous the other day in Rocky Mountain National Park! The lake is frozen and there is a lot of snow. The mountain peaks of Hallett and Flattop were just beautiful in the background.

You can hike around the lake with good hiking boots, stabilizers, micro-spikes, snowshoes or cross-country skis. It’s like a winter wonderland. If you’re in the area, maybe you can get outside and enjoy the beautiful winter!

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Showshoeing Hidden Valley Ski Slopes In Rocky Mountain National Park


I had to bring back an old time movie that we made of us snowshoeing Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park in honor of the recent snow fall that has fallen in the past week. We filmed this video with our Leica Cameras (our older Leica Cameras) and edited the videos into an old-time super 8 type film. We will be snowshoeing and AT skiing Hidden Valley again soon as there is possibly enough snow fall available now as the river has to freeze over and fill with snow.

The video starts off with us snowshoeing up the main t-bar slope which is extremely steep and very tiring to arrive at the top.  Then we head down Trail Ridge Road for about 1 mile and end up at the bowls (bowl skiing for AT skiers).  Then it is down Columbine (which we have skied down)  and through the back country trees.

Hidden Valley Ski Resort in Rocky Mountain National Park used to be a very popular ski resort from 1955 until 1991 when it was closed by the national park to try to get it back to its natural beauty. Reading and listening to stories about the old ski area is like going back in time to the old T-Bars and chair lifts. It was a hopping place back then.

Today it is used as a sledding and tubing hill in the winter. If you feel adventurous you can hike up and ski down one of the many old trails or try some snowshoeing. We’ve done both of them a few times. It’s lots of fun but what a workout!

In the summer you can hike the many trails or or ski slopes up to Trail Ridge Road. It’s a beautiful place for a hike, whether it be long or short. Near the bottom there are many picnic tables to eat at while you enjoy the spectacular views. It’s a great place to visit either in summer and winter.

Hope you enjoy the video as much as I do!

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Old Hidden Valley Poster, Photographs And Display At The Estes Park Museum



The Estes Park Museum is a great play to wander around. Their exhibits are constantly changing and are always very informative.

Right now they have a display on what Estes Park used to look like when Hidden Valley was open and the people were having a ball! Here is an excerpt from their poster:

By 1933, old logging cuts had been developed into ski runs at Hidden Valley, which is located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Between 1935 and 1937, ski runs were constructed and with the addition of warming shelters, Hidden Valley became a destination for competition and recreation for locals and visitors. The area went through many changes and faced many problems trying to accommodate the growing number of visitors, providing a sufficient tow-lift, and dealing with strong winds blowing snow off of the trails. Rocky Mountain National Park decided to officially close the ski area in 1991. There is now a play-area at the base of Hidden Valley.

This top photograph is one of the early ones of skiing at Hidden Valley. The lower photograph shows skiers up on Trail Ridge Road near the tunnel. Skiers would ski the bowls way up at the top and then over the tunnel to trails below. This way, the road could remain open for buses bringing skiers up the mountain.

I took both of the photographs at the Estes Park Museum. Their Hidden Valley display is really informative and a must for anyone coming into Estes Park! It is very interesting!


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Bear Lake Road Reconstruction Begins In Rocky Mountain National Park On March 5th



Rocky Mountain National Park News Release: Bear Lake Road is one of the most popular scenic roads in Rocky Mountain National Park and provides year-round visitor access to a variety of wonderful recreational opportunities.  More than 2 million visitors a year are estimated to drive on Bear Lake Road and last year over 440,000 riders took advantage of the shuttle buses along the corridor.
Beginning on March 5, visitors should expect major construction work on the lower section of the road for the next two years.

The construction will take place on Bear Lake Road from the junction of Trail Ridge Road/Highway 36 to the Park & Ride – Glacier Basin Campground intersection, covering 5.1 miles.  The work will be similar in scope and impacts as the first phase of reconstruction on Bear Lake Road which was completed in 2004, and took place on the upper 4.3 mile section of road.  This major project will involve construction of significant retaining walls to improve safety and drainage.  In addition, a 0.9 mile section will be rerouted away from Glacier Creek, in order to prevent impacts to wetlands and riparian habitat and reduce costs.  Repairs will be made on the Big Thompson Bridge to improve safety.  Structural deficiencies will be corrected in the roadway and inadequate parking and pullout design will be improved.  This project will widen the road and improve the road surface to better accommodate park shuttle buses.  Safety associated with winter snow removal will be enhanced by the wider road.

Beginning on March 5, park visitors should expect at least one 30 minute delay, Monday through Friday, on the lower section of Bear Lake Road.  As the construction proceeds, visitors should expect rough road conditions.

From May 29, through October 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Bear Lake Road, approximately one mile west of Moraine Park Visitor Center to Bear Lake, will be accessible by free shuttle bus only, seven days a week. Private vehicles will be allowed both directions prior to 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.  Visitors in private vehicles, who make the 9:00 a.m. cutoff time, will be allowed to travel eastbound throughout the day. All visitors, in private vehicles or shuttle buses, should expect at east two 20-minute delays both west and eastbound through the construction area. There will be no construction delays between Park & Ride and Bear Lake. There may be night closures during the construction.  Night closures will be announced at least two weeks prior to occurring.
The park’s three shuttle routes will be modified during the construction.  The Bear Lake Route will run between Moraine Park Visitor Center and Bear Lake with stops at Hollowell Park, Park & Ride,
Bierstadt Bus Stop, Glacier Gorge Trailhead and Bear Lake.  The Moraine Park Route will run between the Moraine Park Visitor Center and the Fern Lake bus stop with stops at Moraine Park Campground, Cub Lake Trailhead and Fern Lake bus stop.  The first bus will depart from the Moraine Park Visitor Center at 7:00 a.m. and the last bus will leave at 7:00 p.m.  The last bus of the day
will leave Bear Lake and Fern Lake Trailheads at 7:30 p.m.  Bear Lake Route buses will run every 15 minutes but may be delayed during periods of road construction.  Moraine Park Route buses will run every 20 minutes.

The Hiker Shuttle Route will make stops at the Estes Park Fairgrounds Parking Lot, the Estes Park Visitor Center, the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, and the Moraine Park Visitor Center where passengers will transfer to either the Bear Lake Route or the Moraine Park Route.  The first bus will leave the Town of Estes Park Visitor Center at 6:30 a.m. and the last bus will leave the Moraine Park Visitor Center bound for Estes Park at 8:00 p.m.  The Hiker Shuttle will run on an hourly schedule early and late in the day; switching to a half hour schedule from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Most facilities along Bear Lake Road will be available to the public during the reconstruction project.  However, Glacier Basin Campground and the Tuxedo Park picnic area and shuttle stop will be closed.  Numerous pull-off areas may be closed at times during the construction.  Moraine Park Visitor Center will be open, however visitors should expect congestion and very limited parking. Visitors should also expect congestion andlimited parking at the popular picnic and angler area in lower Moraine Park, north of the Big Thompson River.

During the next two years, visitors who plan to go to the Bear Lake area will have easier access if they plan ahead, hike early or hike late, and carpool.  All trailheads along the Bear Lake Corridor, the Park & Ride, Moraine Park Visitor Center and Beaver Meadows Visitor Center have limited parking spaces available.  For those visitors who want to access the Bear Lake area between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the best option will be to park in Estes Park at the parking lot near the Fairgrounds or the Estes Park Visitor Center and take the Hiker Shuttle in to Rocky Mountain National

Rocky Mountain National Park is approaching its Centennial anniversary in 2015.  Bear Lake Road was completed in 1928 and until 2003, no significant improvements were made.  No major road work has taken place on the lower section for more than 80 years.  When this project is complete, just prior to the park’s hundredth anniversary, it will conclude over 47 miles of critical improvements on park roads since 2003.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded a $28 million contract t0 American Civil Constructors and is administering this project on behalf of the National Park Service.   American Civil Constructors is based in Littleton, Colorado.

This project involves 5.1 miles of road and access to another 4.3 miles. There are 110 miles of road in the park.  This project does not include Trail Ridge Road.  Information on the Bear Lake Road
Reconstruction Project will be available at www.nps.gov/romo, the park’s recorded road status line (970) 586-1222 or through the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


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