Surviving Snow Days on the Front Range

Winter in Chautauqua Park

Do you ever wake up and frown when you look out the window to see it’s snowing? I think we all do sometimes. The extra time it takes to shovel the driveway, scrape the ice off your car, and change between snow boots and regular shoes can be a hassle. Here’s how to make the best of a snowy day in Boulder:

  1. Layer up! Multiple layers will keep you warm outside, and prevent overheating inside. Make sure to cover your head! Start with an insulating base layer made of merino wool or a synthetic blend. On the coldest of days, add a fleece and then down jacket. Top it off with a GoreTex outer layer, gloves, and a hat to ensure you stay warm and dry all day long.
  2. Check to see whether your car has a remote start feature. Starting your car from the warmth of your house or work is a life saver when it's parked out in the snow.
  3. Make time for play! Maybe this means ski-commuting to work or the grocery store, or taking your kids sledding down the street. Either way, embracing the fun activities to be had in the snow is the best way to avoid resenting it.

While gray, cold weather can certainly put a damper on plans, try to keep in mind that the storm will pass (both meteorologically and metaphorically).

Backcountry Skiing up Bear Canyon

Winter Activities at Brainard Lake

View from below Lefthand Reservoir

Brainard Lake Recreation Area is one of the most beautiful spots in the Front Range. Nestled between Nederland and Ward, Brainard Lake is just 45 minutes up the mountains from Boulder. To complement summer hiking, fishing, backpacking, and cycling, this area offers incredible winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and picnicking. 

From about November to May, the Brainard Lake Road is closed beyond the entrance station. This road turns into an excellent start for any skiing, snowshoeing, or picnic adventure. From the entrance station, you have three route options: stay on the road, veer left onto Lefthand Park Reservoir Road, or turn right onto the Sourdough Trail. 

Heading straight on Brainard Lake Road offers adventurers a relatively flat path, perfect for learning to cross country ski or snowshoe. Red Rock Lake is the first destination on this path, just ½ mile beyond the entrance station. From here, users can follow the road another 1.5 miles to Brainard Lake.

Those looking for some elevation gain may opt to follow Lefthand Park Reservoir Road to Lefthand Park Reservoir for beautiful views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This winter trail climbs 600 feet over the course of 1.8 miles to the reservoir.

For people who enjoy the solitude of snowy singletrack, Sourdough Trail offers miles and miles of pristine winter wilderness. This trail connects to South Saint Vrain and Waldrop trails for a long, scenic route to Brainard Lake.

Some aspects of a home loan can feel like a mystery…

Some aspects of a home loan can feel like a mystery…

by Cory Dudley
What exactly is an "escrow" account and why does it change sometimes??? 1. WHAT IS AN 'ESCROW' ACCOUNT An escrow account is an account maintained by your mortgage servicer for the payment of bills. Bills such as property taxes and homeowner's insurance are deducted from your escrow account. With each monthly mortgage payment, a portion goes into your escrow account for property taxes and insurance premiums (homeowner's, mortgage insurance (PMI), or flood insurance). When those bills are due, your mortgage servicer uses the funds in your escrow account to pay them.  Part of the payment goes to pay your principal and interest, and part goes into your escrow account for property taxes and insurance premiums. 2. WHAT ITEMS ARE TYPICALLY PAID FROM AN ESCROW ACCOUNT Most often the following are paid from escrow: Property taxes Homeowner's insurance Mortgage insurance (if required) Flood insurance (if required) Your escrow account does not pay:  Homeowners Association (HOA) bills Special or added tax assessments Interim or supplemental secure tax bills (CA residents) Water and other utility bills Per Capita tax bills (PA residents) 3. WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT MY ESCROW ACCOUNT? You can find information about your escrow account by logging into your online mortgage account or contacting your mortgage servicer. You'll be able to learn about previous escrow account activity and projected future activity including any changes to your monthly mortgage payment. 4. HOW OFTEN IS MY ESCROW ACCOUNT REVIEWED? Property taxes and insurance premiums change over time. Your mortgage servicer reviews your escrow account annually to make sure you'll have enough funds to cover your bills. To help with any unexpected increases, you need to keep a minimum balance in your account at all times. 5. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I'VE BEEN NOTIFIED OF AN ESCROW SHORTAGE? A shortage occurs when payments to property taxes and/or homeowner's insurance obligations cause your escrow account balance to drop below the required amount. The required balance is based on your escrow cushion requirement, which is typically equal to two monthly escrow deposits unless otherwise required by state law. The shortage amount will appear on your Escrow Account Disclosure Statement. Escrow shortages frequently occur due to increases in either taxes or insurance premiums. However, a shortage can also result if unexpected bills were paid on your behalf. Such items may include lender-placed insurance, midterm policy substitutions or delinquent taxes. 6. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I'VE BEEN NOTIFIED OF AN ESCROW SURPLUS? If your escrow account is projected to have more than the minimum balance required, you have a surplus. The amount of the surplus will usually be refunded to you in 30 days, as long as your loan is paid current at the time of the analysis. The check may be attached to the bottom of your statement or it could be mailed it to you under separate cover.  If your loan is past due at the time it is determined that a surplus exists, a refund will not be sent to you. Once your loan is brought current and if the surplus still exists, the amount of the surplus will be refunded to you. *** Our friends at SWBC Mortgage helped bring this information to you today! Home ownership, loans, refinancing, etc. can be daunting and overwhelming, but Mortgage and Real Estate professionals deal with it all day, every day. Call us when you have a question, need a referral, or just want to ask real estate questions- we love helping you!
Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Proposed Gate Fee Increase to $70

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Proposed Gate Fee Increase to $70

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the 10 most-visited national parks in the United States, coming in at number 4 behind (1) Great Smoky Mountains NP, (2) Grand Canyon NP & (3) Yosemite NP.

Photo Credits: Michael Hodges, Jim Osterberg © 2012

The number of visitors each year (over 4.5 million this year!), specifically concentrated during the peak season (June to September), is taking a toll on the park. From roads and bridges to campgrounds and restrooms, the infrastructure is aging and the National Parks Service is proposing raising rates to fund improvements in RMNP, as well as, 17 other popular national parks.

Photo Credits: Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce

Current Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fees are $30/week and $10 dollars for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles. If the proposed rate increase goes into effect, it could cost $70 to enter RMNP in June of 2018.

Photo Credits: CBS Denver - CBS Local

The National Parks Service says if implemented, this increase could boost park revenue by $70 million/year. But, there's no guarantee that this will happen. A public comment period is open through November 23rd. Learn more and share your thoughts in the Comments section here:​

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Stay Curious Video Series

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Stay Curious Video Series

by Cory Dudley

"I think that's what I like the best is understanding more about how things work, and what's living there, and how it interacts with all the other organisms in that system."

Erin Borgman 

The National Park Service's video series, Stay Curious, most recently selected and interviewed one of Rocky Mountain National Park's very own. Erin Borgman is an NPS Ecologist and Field Coordinator with the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Division. In short, her job is to keep a close eye on the vital signs and overall 'health' of important streams and rivers within the park. These bodies of water are the most important resource to the park's habitat and wildlife inhabitants, making her mission a crucial one!

Check out the video below to learn how Erin began down the path of Ecology sciences and the advice she has for anyone else trying to discover their place in the world around them.

Motivational Monday – “The Honeymoon Is Over”

"I think it's good enough to just be passionate about something that you really care about, regardless of what this is. It doesn't need to be some complicated, deep thing... You're just lucky that you have something you're that psyched about and that passionate about." 

Josh Wharton 

Colorado-based climber, Madaleine Sorkin, is considered one of a few women in North America who are highly active in the styles of adventurous and challenging free-climbing.. And just last fall she became the first woman (and 5th person ever) to redpoint the infamous Longs Peak Route, The Honeymoon Is Over.

"Sometimes you have to get more insecure than you want to in the end." 

Madaleine Sorkin

The Honeymoon Is Over is among the most difficult high-altitude rock climbs in the world, and is considered the most difficult route up the Longs Peak Diamond. It's unique in the sense that you are climbing at such a high altitude while tackling an equally difficult climb - even before the altitude is factored in. Hiking in can take 3 to 4 hours on it's own, which most people choose to do very early in the morning. For those of us familiar with Colorado weather, summers can bring thunderstorms in the blink of an eye; as a result, the route itself is often wet and the weather can be extremely unpredictable... Though it required several failed or partial attempts to tackle, she didn't give up.

"Actually failing doesn't feel that different from anything else. Thinking about failing or feeling like a failure - those feel terrifying." 

Madaleine Sorkin 

With each attempt and failure, she was forced to muster deep for perseverance, and recall on her passion to reach the top. Check out the video below to witness how Sorkin approached the challenge and then achieved her goal!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Firewood Lottery!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Firewood Lottery!

What if you could win firewood straight from Rocky Mountain National Park? Now you have the chance! Over 100 permits will be granted via a lottery to claim wood that has been previously cut from the forest. If chosen through the lottery, you will be limited to one cord of firewood, which can be picked up by appointment near Moraine Park.

If you're interested, here's what you need to do...

1.) Email now through 8am on March 27th. In the subject line of the email, type your last name, then first name in the following format: Smith, John.

2.) In the body of the email, type your full name, home address and phone number.

And then you're officially entered!

If you're selected, you'll be contacted by the RMNP staff to set up an appointment. You'll need to receive a vehicle and gear inspection, obtain the permit, go through an orientation to wood gathering and then gather your wood.

Please note a couple of things... First, if selected, a $20 non-refundable fee will be charged to claim the permit. Second, most of the wood will require a chainsaw - it hasn't been cut into smaller more  manageable pieces.

CONGRATS to our Buyers!

CONGRATS to our Buyers!

Congratulations to our buyers for closing on this terrific home across from a beautiful park and the Twin Peaks Golf Course.

"She came in search if a fixer-upper and we found a winner! This one has so much potential for her creativity and ingenuity. We can't wait to see what she does! The work starts this weekend!"

Christa is a Licensed REALTOR for The Winning Team Real Estate Group at Old Town Real Estate in beautiful Longmont, Colorado. Christa is The Winning Team's Buyer's Specialist. Her business background gives her the experience and expertise a Buyer needs and wants in today's competitive market. Christa lives with her contractor husband, Guy, and their two pups Bubba and Whim in the foothills of North Boulder. Christa can be found spending her free time mountain biking, skiing, running and enjoying her home and property. It's all that Colorado has to offer that keeps Christa and Guy happy, healthy, and enjoying life to it's fullest.

Christa can be contacted via email at  or mobile at 303.913.9698