Landscape: The First Snow


In the mountains, time runs on a natural clock. The summer can’t officially start until the snow melts, and autumn ends when the last aspen leaves fall. Winter begins with the first snowfall that sticks, but it isn’t much fun until the first big powder day. In the past few weeks here in Vail, Colorado, we’ve been getting some teaser snow—the kind that looks good when it comes down but melts as soon as it hits the hills. But with a few consecutive below-freezing nights and a good heavy snowfall on Tuesday evening, it appears that winter is here to stay.

The trees are drooping beneath the weight of the snow, and now only a few rocky bits are showing up on the trails. It’s not snowshoe season just yet, but the snow cover is just thick enough to make trail running shoes insufficient.


Gore Creek is much lower than it was in June, when the snowmelt made it crash like thunder just outside my bedroom window. I prefer the sound it makes now—more of a murmur—as it rolls under this bridge near my apartment.


And the water is starting to ice over, a thin bubbly crust beginning to form.


And for those of you wondering whether or not you should come up to Summit County for the ski season opening this weekend? I’d say hold off for a few weeks. Here’s the view of Copper Mountain last week, just barely covered with snow:


Sure, people have been out skiing at A-Basin already, but I can’t imagine it’s much good. And I’ve seen the snow blowers going full blast elsewhere in Summit County. Call me a snow snob, but I’d rather wait until it’s real-live snow and not just the machined stuff.


One response to “Landscape: The First Snow

  1. wow, I went climbing in Yosemite today – where it’s warm, sunny, with blue skies. Can’t believe I’ll soon be there in the snow!

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