Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Colorado is over,  Hooray !!  I am so glad to be away from that place.  Management was horrible, condescending, double standards against certain employees, and more.  We spent most of the work shift standing around waiting.  I would have 3 or 4 phone calls, maybe 2 check-ins, maybe not.  The younger employees watched videos on social media and talked among themselves.  I can't stare at the screen for that long.  Why so few guests ?   Snow conditions are just not so good.  It's plenty cold, but there is not enough moisture for large snowfalls. 
     Recently someone said to me,  "Copper Mt used to be such a good family place, now its so uppity."      I could not agree more.  Why do ski resorts need to be so pretentious ?

     I have had a few interviews at Texas State Parks.  We will see what happens there.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


The big excitement in mid-December was the Grand Prix Snowboard championships.  Riders who did well in this qualifying event have a good chance of being selected for the Olympics, coming up in February.  I could not see the competitors well enough to take any photos.  The Half-pipe course started much further up the slope.  Big Air is a new event for the Olympics, and it was exciting to watch.  The rider comes down the slope, gaining speed, then launches UP a steep slope and does several flips and twists before landing.  I could see the landing area quite well.
     I have wondered (for quite some time) how they learn those flips and maneuvers without being injured.  Now I know.  Next door to the Lodging office is a training facility for skiing and snowboarding.  The kids start on a trampoline and later progress to wooden slopes using a snowboard on wheels.  They land in a pit of foam blocks until the  "trick"  is perfected.   Similar to how gymnasts learn their high-flying moves.

There will be a door decorating contest with Christmas themes.  In my casual walking around I have not seen any decorated doors yet.  This building used to be a Club Med property and is not set up in a standard manner.  Labyrinthine halls, sudden short hallways lead to dead ends, and sometimes past an elevator that travels to the 5th floor of this 7th floor building.  Maybe it will be posted where to find the decorated doors.

I walked the path between the creek and the buildings one afternoon, and found one Mountain Chickadee.  The large 3 and 4 story dark brown buildings where most of the guest rooms are, looked old, almost medieval, from that angle.  In reality these buildings are about 30 years old, trying to look like something they are not.

Top photo taken from Lake Dillon looking south.   Photo of 2 Ring-necked Ducks taken at Silverthorne's  Water Treatment facility.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Copper Mt with snow

A few photos to post.   Big machines making snow on the ski slopes in the early morning.

Natural snow from a storm on Friday night.  The skiers were happy to have fresh new snow on a Saturday morning.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sparrow has landed

Since the season has ended at Grand Tetons, I have spent most of my time in Utah.  A few days birding at Great Salt Lake revealed that this is too early for most of the winter ducks to have arrived.  Thousands of Coots, and Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks and Eared Grebes, and many Avocets.  I love Avocets.  A photo from a few years ago.
     I spent a week in Moab, in the SE corner of Utah.  Fall is very pleasant and colorful in Moab. Yellow Cottonwoods, red sandstone cliffs, and blue skies reflected in the Colorado River.  2 photos from previous trips  in the area.  I also visited Hovenweep NP, a collection of  ancient structures built by the Puebloan people about 1200 AD (or CE).   I drove a loop thru Colorado and Denver to take care of a few errands.  Great Sand Dunes NP was a fun place to visit for the morning.  90 % of the park is undeveloped for preservation of the unusual landscape and habitats.  Visitors are allowed to hike on the dunes in the 10 % of the publicly accessible park.
By Monday of this week I had been accepted at Copper Mountain Ski resort for this winter.  I will be working with the guests who come to stay in the ritzy townhouses and condos.  Copper Mt is located one hour west of Denver on hwy 70, near Silverthorne. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Season's ending

After several days of inventory and counting, we closed the Gift Shop on Friday, cleaned our rooms, and departed for various locations across the country.  Co-workers went to Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and more.  
    Photos taken by co-worker, David, of me counting stuffed animals.  41 Raccoons and 26 Black Bears.

I drove into Utah to do some birding at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge.  I was horrified to see so many people out hunting ducks in the refuge with guns, boats, and wearing waders.  This is supposed to be a REFUGE for ducks to rest and eat and be peaceful.
     After one night in the area, I drove south to Moab.  Its a laid-back small city in the middle of canyon country.   Arches NP and Canyonlands NP are nearby, as are many miles of mountain bike trails.  The hostel is cozy, convenient, and cheap.  I have done a few morning hikes while doing computer work in the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When leaves are

as pretty as the summertime flowers.  Huckleberry bushes, Mountain Ash, and Dogwood are out-competing each other for brilliant color.

 Aspens are still holding onto their green leaves for another week or two. 

Bears have come down from the high country to eat berries and other good things before hibernation.  This one caused quite a "bear jam" on a narrow road when it stopped to drink from a puddle.

Moose are fun to watch. Mama Moose had 2 little ones in early summer.  They were foraging near a creek one morning.

Smoke from the wildfires in Idaho, Montana, and Washington has finally blown out. Mid-September a series of storms came across northern Wyoming and persisted for 10 days.  Rain, snow, cloudy skies, more rain and low temperatures had us thinking winter was coming early.  Yellowstone Park is higher in elevation and received alot more snow.  3 entrances and several roads were closed, trapping some guests in Yellowstone until the roads could be cleared and opened.

Friday, September 1, 2017

noticing August flowers

In early August I walked around a small pond to the north, and re-visited a mountain top that had been covered with flowers. Wildflowers have noticed the subtle changes in soil moisture and sun intensity.  Lupines are giving up for the season, as are the Salsify, and the Scarlet Gilias.  Bluebells, Yarrow, and small Sunflowers are doing well.  Musk Thistles are in full bloom by August, and are a favorite food for Goldfinches.  Buckwheat, an early bloomer, is turning pink and setting seeds. Geranium flowers are passed, leaving their large Delphinium leaves to turn  yellow and red.  The bright yellow flowers of Arnica and Balsamroot are gone, only the leaf clusters remain drying quickly in the August heat.
     Paintbrush, Fireweed, and Asters are maintaining their bright colors along the trails.

above red leaves from the Wild Geranium.
Asters to the left.

This is a mountain meadow I had not visited before.

Smoke from wildfires in Montana and Idaho has been giving a hazy look to our mountains, not the clear summer views guests hope to photograph.  Yellowstone is also affected by the smokey skies.