Nestled between Gunnison and Poncha Springs in the heart of the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, Monarch Pass stands as a testament to the region's rugged beauty. The landscape is dominated by the Sawatch Range, where iconic peaks such as Chipeta Mountain, Mt. Ouray, San Luis Peak and the towering fourteeners Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache command attention.
Monarch Pass is the gateway to a winter wonderland that captivates the senses and ignites the spirit of adventure. Monarch Mountain Ski Area and the Monarch Crest Tramway come to life in this frozen landscape. Skiers carve their way down powdery slopes while the tramway offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
Winter transforms Monarch Pass into a magical realm. The combination of elevation, unique terroir and the artistic touch of the wind collaborate to paint the landscape in wonderful ways. Trees become living sculptures, their branches fully adorned in blankets of snow, creating a scene that seems plucked from the pages of a Dr. Seuss novel.
I frequently like to treat landscape photography as the practice of eliminating distractions and isolating our natural world down to its simplest yet most dramatic form. I was attracted to this cluster of trees while exploring the pass on a crisp, bluebird day. I was drawn to their form and simplicity and amazed by their resilience in the face of such harsh conditions. I've sought to bring this vision to life since I first experienced this phenomenon years before, and I feel this is my best attempt yet.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor