Conference and holiday in Colorado

On Saturday 18th October 2008, I went to Colorado for a software conference, where I gave a few talks. Colorado Software Summit if you're interested - sadly 2008 was the last of these excellent conferences. I managed to get a couple of extra weeks of holiday after the conference, and did a little bit of mountain walking, along with a trip to Arizona to see the sights, even skipping briefly into Utah.

Keystone, during the conference - Saturday 18th October to Friday 24th October

I arrived at Denver airport (which is simply huge and peaceful - such a contrast to heathrow) on Saturday evening, and took a shuttle bus up and over the mountains to Keystone, where the conference is held. The scenery is beautiful, although it does take a little while to get used to the altitude, which is 9,300 feet above sea level - that's the valley level, as the mountains around go up to 12,000 feet or so.
Squaretop Mountain

Independence Mountain

I spent the Sunday wandering around and acclimatising myself to the environment. I climbed a little way up one of the ski slopes, which gave a fairly good view of the valley. Further along, the valley branches out into the wonderfully named "No Name Gulch".
No Name Gulch

The valley

Snake River

On Wednesday morning, I awoke to a white world. This often happens at this conference, as it is held about a week before the ski season starts. Keystone Lake is just starting to freeze over and become Keystone Skating Rink.
A white view out of my window

Path lamp in the snow

The lake, freezing over

The lake

Outside the conference centre

Friday was clear and bright, with a lot of snow remaining from the previous day, and a sharp frost.
Across the lake

The frozen corner

The Tenmile mountain range behind lake

In the early morning, a mist rose from the lake, which was beautiful, if very chilly.
Mist on the lake

The sun rises from over there

Frost on a window

The conference ended at lunchtime on Friday. This next photo is the main entrance of the conference centre. Many a discussion are held in front of that fireplace. In the afternoon, the guy on the far left took a load of us up to Loveland Pass, about ten miles up the road.
The fireplace

Looking South from Loveland Pass

Loveland Pass

Mountain above Arapahoe Basin

Skiing at Arapahoe Basin

The ski slopes at Arapahoe Basin

Back at Keystone, I spent the afternoon wandering around before the wild party in the evening.
Independence Mountain covered in snow from the lake

Porcupine Peak and Snake River

Snake River

Tracks in the snow

Porcupine Peak from Keystone village

In the middle of the party (with lots of scotch), I looked out of the window and caught this colour, actually on the opposite side of the sky to the sunset.

The real sunset was over the other side:

Close-up of sunset

The stars