Colorado Skiing Trip

 

Recently, Lila and I went to Buena Vista, Colorado to visit our friends, Pete and Sandy and to go skiing.    Buena Vista is located in central Colorado midway between Salida and Leadville at an elevation of 8,000 feet.    Winters are relatively mild there as it lies in a wide Valley between the Arkansas River and some very high mountains.   In fact, Buena Vista lies at the base of the 14,000+ peaks of the Collegiate Peaks ..Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Harvard.      Buena Vista is also a popular access point for world-class whitewater rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing on the Arkansas River, as well as mountain climbing and backpacking on the Collegiate Peaks and the Colorado Trail.   Elk and deer herds are visible in the winter months, and bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and antelope are also indigenous to the area.

Leadville is the county seat and the only municipality in Lake County, Colorado.  Situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city and the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States.    Leadville is a former silver mining town that lies near the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.   The city includes the Leadville Historic District, which preserves many historic structures and sites from Leadville's dynamic mining era.  In the late 19th century, Leadville was the second most populous city in Colorado, after Denver.

The National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame opened in Leadville in 1987 with a federal charter. The town's altitude and rugged terrain contributes to a number of challenging racing events, such as the Leadville Trail 100 series of races.

Pictured to the left is the lobby of the famous Delaware Hotel. 

 

We also had an opportunity to visit Twin Lakes, Colorado (Visitor Center pictured - right) is located twenty miles southwest of Leadville and this historic town sits in the shadow of Colorado's highest peak, Mt. Elbert and overlooks the beautiful Twin Lakes. It is situated along the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, with Independence Pass being one of the highest paved passes in the state. Natural beauty surrounds the entire community and can be seen as it reflects in each of the twin lakes.   

Pictured above right is the well known Jackson Hotel in Poncha Springs, a small town adjacent to Salida.   To  the left is the frozen Arkansas River flowing through Salida.

Salida was founded in 1880, originally as a railroad town and a major link in the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.  After World War II the railroad started pulling back its operations in Salida during a time when many residents worked either in local ranching operations or even commuted north to Leadville to work. Today, the most prominent industry in Salida is tourism, consisting of skiing at Monarch ski resort, whitewater rafting, kayaking and outfitting, particularly on the Arkansas River.   Salida is home to an annual kayak race, one of the oldest whitewater races in North America.  Below is Little River Branch of the Arkansas River just outside the Twisted Cork Restaurant...my favorite.

Monarch Mountain is located thirty minutes from Salida, in south central Colorado and is located on the Continental Divide.  Monarch Mountain is one of Colorado's best ski areas; reasonable lift tickets, powder snow, and family skiing.   Steep terrain, black diamond runs, tree skiing, and fresh powder snow attract  expert and advanced skiers. Monarch Mountain has more of an old time ski area feeling than that of a modern ski resort.

A truly hidden gem, Monarch provides great runs, small lift lines ands great powder.   Below are some scenes of this resort and the lift line you see is only present midday on the weekend....