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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

When Christmas is a wrap, where do you put it?

by | December 22nd, 2015

When it comes to the holidays—like so many things in life—the build-up is so much more fun than the take-down. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah at your BackCountry home, chances are there’s some stowing away in your immediate future. Below are a few ideas to help streamline the process and make next year’s holiday set-up even easier. Cue the holiday music and eggnog one last time.

Holiday lights are the nemesis of many otherwise happy revelers. It seems as if they spend their off-season wriggling themselves into nasty knots. The solution? Wrap them neatly around sheets of cardboard before tucking them away. Or around a coffee can, poking the plug into the can through an ‘X’ cut into the plastic top. When it comes to those heavy-duty exterior holiday lights, keep them on a portable hose reel. The wheels and handle make them easy to maneuver around the yard while you decorate.

christmas light storage

Ornaments can be especially fragile (and chock-full of priceless memories), so storage that prevents jostling is crucial. Try an egg carton or apple box for your smaller round ornaments. Slip the larger flat ornaments into your stockings.

Real Christmas trees are (mercifully) tossed, but artificial trees occupy space in your basement all year long. Familyhandyman.com suggests sliding them neatly into sleek, 8” diameter concrete form tubes. So smart.

Décor, like wreaths, ribbons, and candles, needs a little creative TLC. While you can purchase specialty wreath boxes at places like the Container Storeyou can tackle that one for free. Slip the wreath over the neck of a coat hanger, then cover with a plastic dry cleaning bag to prevent a year’s worth of dust build-up. The same is true for larger items, such as a menorah or those awkwardly sized lawn reindeer—just save the dry cleaning bags or garment bags from your new suits and dresses.

Keep your big fancy bows from getting crimped by plumping out the loops with cardboard tubes wrapped in paper towels. You can use more of those paper towel tubes for storing slim candles or knee-high stockings for their larger counterparts.

Post-holiday sales can be a great opportunity to stock up on half-price gift wrap and bags. But where to keep them all—preferably uncrushed? One simple idea is to stash your gift wrap rolls in a nice-looking trash bin like this one. Or store them behind a wire closet shelf installed sideways behind a door jamb. Try hanging your gift bags from hooks on a tension rod in some out-of-the-way nook. This will keep them pristine and easy to choose from.

christmas wrapping storage tips

And if you want to take wrapping organization to a whole new, Martha Stewart-like level, watch her short video on how to create a “wrap and ship station.” It’s just as wonderfully persnickety as you imagine.

Lastly, some overall tips from Real Simple magazine. Label and color-code your boxes—think blue lids for Hanukkah and orange for Halloween. Have an “open first” label for the boxed essentials you need to kick off each holiday. Consider keeping a detailed content list for each box on your computer. And give yourself permission to toss or give away those items that never make it out of the box, year after year. After all, less stuff to put away means more time for more important things. Like eggnog. And sharing it with the people you love.

September is sneaky. Winterize now.

by | September 22nd, 2015

In September, weather is even more unpredictable than usual. By the end of the month, average temperatures will have dropped 12 degrees. And while temperatures typically soar into the 90s for a day or two, snow shovels can make their first appearance.

If you’re new to BackCountry or Colorado, you’ll want to check out the winterizing tips below. Your beautiful new home and yard require just a little bit of attention this month. Then you can relax, knowing that everything is shipshape for the chilly season that lies ahead.

1) Tidy up your perennials. Colorado’s extreme temperature fluctuations and dry winds can brutalize many of our commonly planted perennials. And, as any long-suffering vegetable gardener will tell you, our first hard frost can land in September—which means that the foliage of most perennials starts to wither this month. If you prefer to remove dead foliage right away, gently apply mulch to protect the plant from the winter elements. (Always remove diseased foliage to avoid the spread of leaf-spot diseases and fungal problems.) Alternatively, you can wait to remove dead foliage in the spring.

2) Keep your plants hydrated. Our winter snows can be heavy and frequent…or irregular and insufficient. Make sure your landscape has the moisture it needs with a layer of mulch that’s several inches thick. Mulch should be coarse and loose, such as shredded leaves, to permit air movement to the roots. Become a mulch expert here. Also, water at least monthly under dry winter conditions. Apply water mid-day, and only when it’s 40 degrees or warmer.

flower bed mulch winterize

3) That goes for your trees, too. If you’re a new BackCountry owner, you should know that new trees are more susceptible to winter drought. Your trees will absorb water best with a slow soak into the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond, ideally with a deep-root fork or needle. Read the how-tos of tree and shrub watering here.

4) Replace your furnace filter. Even if you’re not turning on the heat yet, you will soon. Be ready for the chill with a nice, clean furnace filter so you can breathe easier and improve energy efficiency. By the way, you should do this every month, since a clean filter minimizes wear and tear on your furnace. Buy a bundle, so you have them ready. Mark the date on each new filter as you install it.

5) Unclog your gutters and downspouts. Naturally you’ll want to do a touch-up after all the autumn leaves have fallen, but cleaning out gutters and downspouts prevents serious damage from trapped rain, snow, and ice. Do it yourself if you’re comfortable, or play it safe and leave the climbing to a pro.

Clear out rain gutters for winter

6) Flush the water heater. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater healthy and long-lived. Because who wants a frigid shower on a cold morning? Watch this how-to video.

7) Rotate ceiling fans clockwise. And you thought ceiling fans were just for summer. Use these smart energy-savers year-round by reversing them in a clockwise direction. That way, fans will push the hot air near the ceiling down towards the floor.

8) Inspect your chimney. New Colorado fireplaces are gas-burning, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the chimney altogether. Critters sometimes move in—which can spell disaster. Call a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean out any hazardous debris.

9) Protect your pipes. Temperatures can get ugly around here fast, so don’t leave your pipes vulnerable to the freeze, thaw, and burst cycle—which can create a world of water damage and icky mold growing.  Weatherproof your plumbing by shutting off the supply of water to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, and then drain them. (Depending on your irrigation system, you may also need a contractor to blow out any excess moisture with compressed air.) Read more about how to protect your pipes while you’re away from home.

Water heater maintenance

10) Just say no to CO. That is, carbon monoxide. Before winter hits, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries. If you cook on a gas range, use the fan on your stove hood to vent to the outside and reduce your carbon monoxide exposure. Adjust your burners so you get a nice blue flame; a yellow-tipped flame produces more emissions.

The Quintessential Coloradan’s Bucket List

by | February 23rd, 2015

Our thriving economy is one logical explanation of why people keep moving to Colorado. But really, how many people do we know who came here on vacation… to college… to visit friends and family… and got hopelessly hooked on the state? It’s the natural beauty—and the endlessly fun, associated activities—that just keeps ‘em coming, year after year.

So as a welcome to all the newbies and a refresher course for you natives and long-timers, here’s a selection of “must-do” Colorado activities that capture the flavor of our state across the seasons. If you’ve already checked these ideas off your list, explore a more fine-grained rundown of ideas published in last month’s article in 5280 magazine. And be sure to share your bucket list with us on our Facebook page.

TellurideSkiResortCom
Ski at Telluride

Ranked the best overall ski resort in the US by powderhounds.com, Telluride Ski Resort Colorado Telluride offers stellar skiing and snowboarding far from the maddening weekend pilgrimage on I-70. That’s the beauty and curse of Telluride, of course, as its southwest Colorado location makes it a bit of a hike from metro Denver. But the rewards, beyond the powder, are a unique town with an extra-laidback vibe, colorful mining history, and its awe-inspiring canyon setting with steep mountain vistas. Learn more.

Bike on Independence Pass
Jaw-dropping gorgeous and a wee bit harrowing, thanks to narrow lanes, hairpin turns and dramatic drop-offs, traversing Independence Pass is truly a Colorado rite of passage. Driving the road is a badge of honor all by itself, but biking can take your Colorado cred to a whole new level. Start at Aspen and end at Twin Lakes, and in between, log 37.6 miles and gain 4,187 feet—while taking in magnificent, jagged vistas thick with aspen and evergreen. Open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, due to high altitude and winter road conditions. Check for road closures here.

StrawberryHotSprings
Soak at Strawberry Springs

This destination is the perfect complement to your ski trip or summer vacation in Steamboat Springs, http://www.steamboat.com another must-see destination. Just outside of town, these hot springs clock in at about 104 degrees—a perfect contrast with the literally adjacent, frigid river. (One favorite diversion is to dip, courageously, from one to the other.) These mineral pools are of the more naturalistic type, with rocky, tree-filled surroundings, but there are private massage huts if you want to glam up the experience. Be warned: come evening, clothing is optional. Learn more.

Ogle at Bridal Veil Falls
Let’s say you went skiing at Telluride and fell in love with that charming town. Be sure to go back in summer and explore its many warm-weather pleasures, including Bridal Veil Falls. With a 365-foot drop, these are the tallest free-falling falls in Colorado. It’s a 4.2 mile trek to the top of the falls with a gain of 1,650 feet, so let that inform your decision whether to hike, bike, or four-wheel drive up the road. Learn more.

manitouincline
Quiver on the Manitou Incline

Rare is the hiker whose thighs will not jellify on this incline, the former site of a cable car ride. After a rockslide in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed and locals started (illegally) hiking up the remaining ties for a lung-searing workout. The incline was officially opened to the public in 2013 and is a popular, challenging hike of 2,741 steps—a one-mile ascent with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Good luck! Learn more.

Learn at Mesa Verde
While Mesa Verde National Park is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, warmer months are a better bet for fully enjoying this national treasure. This park was once the home of ancestral Pueblo people from 600-1300 A.D. who lived both on the mesa tops and in dwellings carved into the rock below. These cliff dwellings are some of the country’s best-preserved. While you’re there, you can explore a variety of cliff dwellings and learn about the Puebloans’ way of life from well-informed park rangers. Nearby camping is also available. Learn more.

georgetownlooprrcom
Time Travel on the Georgetown Loop

This one’s an idyllic way to spend an afternoon with everyone from kids to grandparents. Nose around Georgetown, with its charming historic buildings, and then hop a classic train on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, built in 1884. This three-mile, 1-1/2 hour loop takes you through the mountainous terrain between Georgetown and Silver Plume, another quaint mining town. Options include mine tours, dinner, wine and hors d’oeuvres, and “ales on rails.” Learn more.

So much to love in February.

by | February 3rd, 2015

There’s a lot more to February than Valentine’s Day. And we’re not just talking about Groundhog Day. Thankfully, we found plenty of delightful diversions to get you through this hunkered-down, not-yet-spring stretch, especially if you live in BackCountry. Here are our sweetest suggestions for all: singles, couples, families.

Highlands Ranch Mansion Valentines Day
Father & Daughter Sweetheart Ball
-Feb. 6, 6:30-8:30pm; Feb. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Daddies, you may think this ball is all for your girl, but you’ll actually be making some of your favorite, heart-tugging memories. (Sadly, dancing with Dad seems to lose its luster during the teen years.) Choose from two nights of dancing and dining at the elegant Highlands Ranch Mansion, where each girl will receive a corsage, a father-daughter photo, refreshments and a special gift. $25 per person; $33 per person at the door, if not sold out. Learn more about 2/6.
Learn more about 2/7.

BackCountry Sundae Lovin Party
Sundae Lovin’ Ice Cream Bar
-Feb. 9
Hey BackCountry tweens, this one’s for you—and your sweet tooth. Head over to the Sundial House and concoct your tastiest-ever ice cream sundae. We’ll provide the goodies; you provide the creativity. Kids ages 9-13 are welcome from 5:15-6:15pm. Open to the first 40 kids. In order to have enough ice cream, residents please register at www.backcountrylife.org by Friday, February 6.

Denver Restaurant Week 2015
Denver Restaurant Week
-Feb. 20-March 1
Why fight the perennial Valentine’s Day crowd? If you just wait a week, you’ll have a whole city of restaurants to explore for the tasty price of $30 per person. Make your reservations now for the 11th annual Denver Restaurant Week, when local (and traveling) foodies enjoy multi-course dinners at a pain-free price. It’s a fabulous way to explore some of Denver’s top restaurants or revisit your favorites. Hundreds of restaurants participate each year. Learn more.

Highlands Ranch Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
-Feb. 21, 12pm-5pm
Happy New Year—again! This celebration may be even more memorable, thanks to dazzling stage performances that include lion dances, folk dances, traditional music, martial arts, and a children’s chorus. An all-afternoon cultural fair will showcase traditional Chinese folk art displays, costumes, crafts, calligraphy and brush paintings, shops and refreshments including dumplings, noodles, and more. Cultural fair 12-5pm and stage performances 1-2pm and 4-5pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 day of event, if not sold out. Children ages 0-2 are free on parent’s lap. Held at the Recreation Center at Southridge, Debus Wildcat Mountain Auditorium (map) Learn more.

Why BackCountry is so much fun.

by | January 28th, 2015

Kids Dancing BackCountry Highlands Ranch July 4
And who’s behind it all.

Bored while living at BackCountry? Not a chance on Britany Chambers’ watch. Britany is BackCountry’s full-time Lifestyle Director, and she’s always stocking the community calendar with special events.

“Right now I’m securing bands for summer events and bar nights,” Britany reveals. That kind of long-range planning makes for smoothly run, well-attended events, as do generous doses of creativity and community input. Once a month, Britany meets with BackCountry’s Lifestyle Committee of nine volunteer residents to share ideas and firm up details for the next few months’ events.

Fan favorites revealed

So, what are the most popular events in BackCountry? Depends on whom you ask. Families with small children favor the two events with, not surprisingly, the largest attendance: Visits with Santa (the traditional lap chat, cookies and milk) and a similar meet-up with the Easter Bunny, complete with fast-paced egg hunt. Up to 250 kids can show up for these events!

On the other hand, young couples and empty nesters favor all the date night options—happy hours, live music, and comedy nights, as well as cooking classes and special events like the upcoming Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Wine Pairing. The monthly Drive-By Dinners are a big hit, too, in which residents pre-order restaurant-prepared dinners and conveniently pick them up at the Sundial House.

Santa at BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado
“People work hard all week long,” says Britany. “So by the time the weekend comes, they can be really ready for down time, a date night, or just spending time with their kids.” Which is why she strikes a healthy balance between creating kid- and adult-oriented events.

Families, couples, and singles alike enjoy all-age events like the Fourth of July, with country music, dancing, food trucks, and Uncle Sam on stilts, and last summer’s Drive-In Movie Night, which featured live music, root beer floats, hand-jive lessons, and Back to the Future playing on a 20-foot blowup screen.

Perks of an active community

Compared to most other communities, BackCountry is exceptionally active. Having a full-time Lifestyle Director, outdoor amphitheater, pool, and the 12,000-square-foot Sundial House with pub, demonstration kitchen, terraces, and meeting and fitness rooms, promotes community cohesiveness.

SundialHouseExteriorFromGrounds2
“All these ways to gather creates a strong sense of connection,” explains Britany. “Which is especially helpful when you’re a new resident. In other neighborhoods, you might just meet the people on your block. But because of all the community events, here you meet people who live all around you. It’s much easier to connect with other families or empty nesters, and people who share your interests.”

All those connections make for a rewarding job for Britany. Before coming to BackCountry, she helped plan huge public events at Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield. But the smaller scale at BackCountry means she gets to know “all the great people here.” And, she says, “When I see people asking for an encore or not wanting to leave an event because they’re having so much fun, it feels great knowing I’ve done my job.”

Show Winter Blahs the Door: FREE Winter Activities!

by | January 15th, 2015

If winter seems to be stretching on a bit too long for your taste, maybe it’s time to shake up your routine. And don’t worry about breaking those “spend less” resolutions just yet, as all of the boredom-busting suggestions below cost absolutely nothing.

Hudson Gardens Bird Tour
Free Day at Hudson Gardens
– Jan. 26, 9am-5pm
While this is a no-brainer destination in the growing season, Hudson Gardens is a beautiful place to explore this time of year, too, from the conifer grove, ponds, and wetlands, to the adjacent trail that runs for miles along the Platte River. Learn more.

Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park-Feb. 6, noon-4pm
Travel back to 1859 at this Denver landmark, where you’ll pan for gold, tour the city’s oldest structure, meet many farm animals, and enjoy a snapshot of frontier life. Learn more.

Denver Mint-Every Monday through Thursday, 8am-3:30pm
Take a free, 45-minute guided tour to learn about the history of the United States Mint and the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins. And don’t miss the gift shop for unique memorabilia. Reservations required.

NOAA Weather
National Center for Atmospheric Research
-Seven days a week
Through exhibits, self-guided tours, and guided tours (held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon), learn about global warming, the 21st century’s hottest topic. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes, and get an up-close look at how lightning is created. Learn more.

Colorado State Capitol Tour-Weekdays, 10am-3pm
Tour the just-repaired, golden-domed Colorado Capitol Building, which boasts 200 ounces of 24k gold. Stand at exactly a mile high on the 13th western-facing step. Marvel at Allen True’s beautiful murals, the rose onyx wainscoting, and the live shenanigans of Colorado General Assembly. Learn more.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour
Celestial Seasonings Tour
-Mon.-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun., 11am-3pm
A 45-minute tour gives you the inside scoop on how the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America blends, packages, and ships its teas. Prepare yourself for the sinus-opening Mint Room, then enjoy free samples of every variety and discover a gallery of original artwork from their famous tea boxes. Learn more.

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame-Thurs.-Sat. 10am-3pm
Housed on the west side of Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors the legacies of the city’s greatest sports heroes, and features the Gallery of Legends, a “Great Moments in Colorado Sports” exhibit, and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado sports. Guided tours are 75-90 minutes and include both the museum and stadium. Learn more.

Four Seasons at Discovery Park

by | January 7th, 2015

Unlike other Colorado neighborhoods, BackCountry offers its residents an awe-inspiring natural backdrop for enjoying the beauty of all four seasons. Panoramic mountain views let you marvel at each year’s dramatic snow buildup and melt-off, as well as the greening up and autumn vibrancy of the 467-acre South Rim area and 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area that surround BackCountry.

Even closer are BackCountry’s trails and six parks. One of them, Discovery Park, features a meandering waterway that makes its way into a pond along the Discovery Center’s edge. On BackCountry’s Facebook and Pinterest pages, a months-long series of photos taken in 2014 shows the year-round beauty of this one small area, a perfect hideaway for quiet reflection or reading. This year, BackCountry will take another yearlong series of photos, but in another neighborhood setting. Keep an eye on it here and here.

#1: Springtime in Colorado is always a back-and-forth dialog between snowing and growing.
May BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#6: Blooming lily pads in June.
June BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#12: A welcome afternoon rainstorm in July, part of Colorado’s monsoon pattern.
July Rainstorm BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#22: October means golden leaves and grasses around the pond.
October BackCountry Highlands Ranch

#28: November brought light, quickly melting snow.
November BackCountry Higlands Ranch Colorado

#33: By the final day of the year, winter had truly found us here at BackCountry.
December 31 2014 BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

Best resolution ever? More fun.

by | December 30th, 2014

While there’s nothing wrong with losing weight, saving money, and writing the Great American Novel in 2015, be sure to add some entertainment to your resolution list. A little balance just might make those other goals easier to reach. Kick off the brainstorming with these ideas. Happy New Year!

Stock Show Facebook Page
National Western Stock Show
– Jan. 8-25
If you’ve never been, it’s high time to enjoy the abundant western charms of this iconic show. New events this year include a BBQ Throwdown competition and the CINCH® Super Shootout Rodeo—a battle of the world’s most elite rodeos. Perennial favorites include the lavish Mexican Rodeo, mutton bustin’ competitions (there’s nothing quite like seeing a five-year-old riding a panicked sheep), horse shows, exhibitions of award-winning chickens and steers, children’s activities, and much more. Ticket prices vary. Learn more.

john-crist-greenroom
BackCountry Comedy Night with John Crist
– Jan. 17, 7 pm
Coming to BackCountry’s own Sundial House, award-winning stand-up comedian John Crist has appeared on Live at Gotham and has opened on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. Crist’s interactive and improvisational skills ensure that no two shows are exactly alike. His edgy-yet-clean comedy has made him popular among fans of all ages. Space is limited to the first 65 residents. $20 per person. Register online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by Monday, January 12.

Adult_Visitors_Lecture_FivePoints
Five Points: The Cradle of Jazz in the Rockies
– Jan. 20, 7-8:30pm
Denver’s Five Points neighborhood has deep connections to the city’s early black history and culture. Through story and song, this special event at the History Colorado Center shares tales from the “Harlem of the West,” which attracted such jazz legends as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. Led by jazz musician and historian Purnell Steen and his group Le Jazz Machine. Tickets from $6.50-8.50 for museum members; $10-$14 for non-members. Learn more.

BackCountry Highlands Ranch Superhero Party
Superhero & Princess Party
– Jan. 21, 4pm-5pm
BackCountry kids, grab your tiaras and capes. It’s time for some after-school magic at the Sundial House. Come in your best superhero or princess outfit and enjoy a snack and special appearance by Rapunzel and Spiderman. In order to have enough snacks for all, please register via ActiveNet by Friday, January 16. Open to the first 50 kids.

glowga
Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga
– Jan. 24, 5:30pm-7:30pm
It’s like yoga in a parallel universe, where the mellow, vinyasa flow includes upbeat music, black lights, a disco ball, and best of all, cocktails. Bring your own yoga mat, wear white or neon yoga clothing, and don glow-in-the-dark accessories (if you have them) to make the room glow. Ticket price also includes a glow necklace, one glass of wine or beer, and appetizers. Cash bar available. 75-minute, all-levels class. Ages 21+ only. Recreation Center at Southridge (map). Tickets $25 in advance, $30 day of event if not sold out. Learn more.

Gilbert-and-Sullivan-Pinafore
Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore
– Jan. 24 at 7:30pm and Jan. 25 at 1pm
Subtitled The Lass Who Loved a Sailor, this classic comic opera opened in 1878 and was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first international sensation. This lighthearted story of love between the captain’s daughter and a lower-class sailor skewers the British class system, politics, and other timeless topics. Tickets $22-84. Learn more.

Zip up your parka and go!

by | December 22nd, 2014

Macaroni Kid Family Skiing
There really is more to winter than hot cocoa and movies. Yes, non-winter-sporty types, we’re talking to you. When it comes to enjoying winter instead of just enduring it, knowledge is power.

To tempt you out of your bunny slippers and into the chill, let’s start easy, with snowshoeing right here in the BackCountry neighborhood. Did you know that residents can borrow snowshoes whenever there’s 12” or more of snow on the ground? Pick them up at the Sundial House, no charge. All you need is good hiking or waterproof boots. Strap the snowshoes on and walk around the wilderness trails in the snow—and check out all the different animal tracks.

How about sledding? You can barrel down fun hills in the BackCountry neighborhood and at nearby ThunderRidge High School, but be sure to explore this exhaustive list of Douglas County sledding hills and ice rinks.

Southwest Rink Denver
Outdoor skating is (temperatures permitting) just up the road on C-470 at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, at the Streets of SouthGlenn, and, a bit farther afield, in downtown Denver, or at Evergreen Lake, with its beautiful mountain views and free hot chocolate at the lake house.

When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, start with a visit to Colorado Ski and Get Out Skiing for an overview of your options. Many feel that Breckenridge and Copper Mountain offer the best beginner terrain, while others prefer the small size and unintimidating vibe of Granby Ranch and Loveland.

First-time skiers will be wise to take a lesson. Sure, you can save money by letting a knowledgeable friend or family member teach you, but your experience may go a lot more smoothly with an expert. Be sure to dress warmly—which may seem obvious, but there really is strategy involved in staying warm (not overheated) and dry. A cold, wet day can send any newbie running from the sport, so learn more about smart alpine dressing here, and pick up lots of other good tips for novice skiers and snowboarders here.
Skiing Colorado

What’s fluffy, white and plowed all over?

by | November 24th, 2014

Although we were lulled into denial by a gorgeous Indian summer, snow has found us and the super heavy stuff will come. And that’s actually a good thing—especially when you’re cozy in your BackCountry home, looking out on snow-covered wilderness, foothills, and mountains. But it’s okay, even when you’re commuting to work, because BackCountry has a comprehensive snow removal plan. Here’s a quick recap of the system both for newcomers and the rest of us, for whom last winter feels like a distant memory.

Just as with landscape maintenance, BackCountry uses outside contractors for snow plowing. Service kicks in any time accumulations reach three inches on the roads. For storms that bring less than three inches, the decision on whether or not to clear the roads is made case-by-case. If daytime temperatures are likely to melt the snow quickly, all roads may not get plowed.

Snowplow at work
At least six plow trucks are used, as needed, for all storms, and each individual truck has its own route to ensure every BackCountry neighborhood is cleared as quickly as possible.

Where do they put all the snow? Never on any privately owned property, but there are limits to where it can be stockpiled—and the cost of relocating snow adds up fast. So, be aware that snow pushed outward by the plow may collect in curb and gutter areas. If you find any snow mounds at the end of your driveway, simply push excess snow onto your landscape, which will thank you for the moisture. And be sure to park your cars off the street—on your driveway or in your garage, especially on evenings when snow accumulations are predicted.

Also, the HOA uses a Kubota tractor to push snow off of the wider common sidewalks, with mailboxes and school bus stop areas given top priority.

All this support is good news for winter in Colorado—unless you were counting on a few “can’t-get-into-the-office” days. In any case, enjoy the wintry weather!
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