Ode to Colorado

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 27, 2009      

I don’t know if this event happened sooner or later than I anticipated. I knew it was possible the day would come, but still couldn’t imagine it happening: I no longer live in Colorado.

This wonderful state that I grew up in, since age two. I have loved it, all of it. Every season. You always hear: “stay for the summer,” or, “stay for the winter.”

No! Stay all year.

Life finally drew me away from the homeland. I didn’t move to replace Colorado — it was just time to move on. Will I be back? Of course, every year. Did I move somewhere better? That’s not possible, but another place just as amazing, absolutely!

Colorado, where it's always sunny and perfect!

Colorado, where it's always sunny and perfect!

So, in remembrance of all the years I was there, here is a short list of what will keep Colorado so fond in my heart:

    Ski Towns: Telluride & Aspen alone leave every other ski town wanting.

    Access: In what other state can you drive an Interstate to 11,000 feet? Or drive to the top of a 14,000 foot peak and spend the day skiing it?

    Snow 12 Months a year. Few places can serve up true pow in summer. North facing, high altitude, need I say more?

    ‘Bonedale Bike Week: They’re riding for you!

    Seasons: There are at least four, seven in a good year.

    The People: To all my friends, and the people I’ve never met. If you are from Colorado I know you’ll greet me with a smile, say “hi” on the trail, congratulations at the summit, and even share beta on your favorite stash (usually).

    Elevation. 54 peaks over 14,000ft means you have all 600 or so of the high 13ers to yourself.

    Location, location, location. Mud season means 2 hours to the desert, 30 minutes to snowy peaks.

    Stunning Scenery. Other places are as pretty, but nothing surpasses a Colorado view. Snow capped peaks over a sea of golden aspens never ceases to amaze me.

    The Accent: Seriously? There is NOT a Colorado accent!

Did I hear something about "Grayfish"? Just another day in Montana.

Did I hear something about Grayfish? Just another day in Montana.

Moving on to Montana

My new adventure is starting in Whitefish, Montana. Jess and I have settled in to this mountain town in NW Montana excited to explore a new area. It is overwhelming seeing new mountains without snow, wondering where it will stick in a month. And crazy riding local trails without a clue as to where you are relative to anything, especially the trailhead. It’s all wild and I look forward to every minute of it.

In my short time here, I’ve learned a few amazing things about Montana too. So, without further ado:


Editors Note: The above list was fact checked by a bipartisan group of Montana locals. They informed us that the first rule about Montana is you don’t talk about Montana. We allowed them to edit the list, with result published above. You’d think they worked for the CIA or something.

(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Whitefish, MT, where he is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave still loves Colorado, and has been told that there is nothing to see in Montana, please move along.)


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24 Responses to “Ode to Colorado”

  1. David October 27th, 2009 8:09 am

    Best of luck in Whitefish. I love that town! Funny thing, half the people I met that lived there where from Colorado. I think it reminds people of a ski town in Colorado in the 80’s.

  2. Tony October 27th, 2009 8:29 am

    Sure is beautiful up Whitefish way. Speaking of Whitefish and secretive locals,
    check out this nice little introduction to whitefish backcountry.


    Not all of the locals are that concerned with keeping things quiet.

    Funny thing is that last year an acquaintance there started a quiet blog with a couple of trip reports and updates on backcountry/avalanche conditions. He was greeted with seething vitriol by a few of the local hardcores, including participants in the above expose. Publicizing the fact that there is backcountry skiing in the area was a huge affront.

    Seems like local nimby hypocrisy extends to the quiet north. Hope you stay on the good side of it, Dave.

  3. Lou October 27th, 2009 8:55 am

    I guess Dave’s blogging career is over. Kinda tough to publish blank trip reports. :biggrin:

  4. Dave October 27th, 2009 9:40 am

    don’t worry lou, i have a guy in canada i can run my posts across the border through. He then sneaks it back into the states via Idaho where they have dialup to email to WildSnow HQ.

  5. Dostie October 27th, 2009 9:46 am

    Hope to join you in the not too distant future. Been thinking of starting a dental floss ranch.

  6. Lou October 27th, 2009 9:52 am

    Tony, I laughed out loud when I saw that post on the Sierra Club website. Aren’t they the ones trying to preserve the land and keep it from getting crowded? And especially, they’re promoting Montana, one of the last empty places? Seems hypocritical, but that’s just me… :angel:

  7. Patrick Odenbeck October 27th, 2009 9:56 am

    Excellent! Silence is golden.

  8. Smokey October 27th, 2009 11:29 am

    Welcome to Montana…glad you learned the first rule. The second rule is that, for a year, you have to lead on all bike rides…clear the trail of griz.

  9. KR October 27th, 2009 11:45 am

    Don’t worry, the sun will return in May or so!

  10. Lou October 27th, 2009 2:09 pm

    By the same token, we don’t talk about anyone who makes any gear in Montana, as we figure that would get the secret out and we’d get in trouble. We’d also never sell any advertising to anyone in Montana. :angel:

  11. Patrick Odenbeck October 27th, 2009 2:24 pm

    Part of my job is to be mysterious. :ninja:

  12. James Minifie October 27th, 2009 2:24 pm

    The best thing about Whitefish is how close it is to Fernie, BC. Wait a sec….Fernie is brutal, you don’t want to go there! 😉

  13. dave downing October 27th, 2009 2:54 pm

    Smokey, that 2nd rule explains a couple things. Now I know why everyone so graciously offers to let me lead (I guess I can’t expect that on a pow day though). And two, the strange absence of other rookies, yet many well fed bears in the area 🙂

  14. Francisco October 28th, 2009 5:11 am

    From your first few lines I thought you moved to a REALLY different place, like New Guinea or Utah.

  15. Cory October 28th, 2009 2:13 pm

    Now is probably a bad time to tell you that we’ve had about a foot of snowfall in the last 7 hours here in Salida and it’s not supposed to let up for at least another 12 hours or so.
    Snow+the highest concentration of 14ers-the hoards of skiers found in other mountain towns=a happy cory

  16. dave downing October 28th, 2009 5:00 pm

    + Monarch Crest trail = SICK!

  17. Noah October 28th, 2009 6:35 pm

    Having spent time in both MT and CO, I have to say how jealous I am that you grew up in, and now live in, such beautiful areas of the country with so much to offer in the way of the Great Outdoors.

    Be sure to take a warm summer night under a starry Big Sky Country night and watch the shooting stars; it’s amazing how many you can see in just an hour or so… one of my best memories of camping my way through the state.

    Thanks for the great post.. the Montana editing had me cracking up!

  18. Kate Howe October 29th, 2009 8:58 am

    Well, Dave, if you get sick of skiing in Whitefish, go hang out in Polebridge! Have fun exploring the park, I’m so sorry to be leaving Montana to go live in Colorado! But I’m excited to explore a new place. What a winter, huh? Hope to ski with you soon! :dizzy:

  19. dave downing October 29th, 2009 9:16 am

    Kate, we should do a reality t.v. show. Call it “Mtn Swap.” Make sure everyone tunes in next episode when Kate moves to Aspen! Where the beer flows like wine.

  20. Kate Howe October 29th, 2009 9:19 am

    And the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano? I KNOW, right? I’m so glad to be moving somewhere *warm* !!

  21. Kate Howe October 29th, 2009 9:20 am


    And the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano? I KNOW, right? I’m so glad to be moving somewhere *warm* !!

  22. Kate Howe October 29th, 2009 9:49 am

    Dave, your ice beard is once again immortalized. The post: How to make Beard Juice Tequila.

    Thanks for the pic. Hope you grow just as burly a beard in MT. (I believe its required or you’ll get pulled over for inadequate facial growth un-befitting a North Montana Man. Fair Warning.)



    ps sorry for the double above, trouble with the captcha. it was NOT operator error, that’s just mean.

  23. Mark W October 29th, 2009 12:00 pm

    Enjoy Montana. I spent most of my life there, and NW MT is terrific. Glacier Park will have you hooked. My favorite place.

  24. Mark October 29th, 2009 7:16 pm

    There is a Border Patrol office on the outskirts of Whitefish, if anyone had any doubt about how far north Whitefish is.

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