Summit County boating season drawing to a close
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It’s not long before we’ll see lines of blue shrink-wrapped boats at the Frisco Bay Marina and Dillon Marina, but until then, the crisp fall weather could be the perfect time to get out to enjoy the reservoir.
Days on Dillon Reservoir are numbered, with Frisco shutting down its boat rental program on Oct. 15 (larger sailboats will be removed by crane on Oct. 10 and the ramp stays open for private launch as long as there’s water or until Oct. 30).
“If the weather’s nice and we’ve got water, we’ll still be renting boats – fishing boats, pontoons, runabouts, canoes and kayaks,” Frisco Bay Marina manager Phil Hofer said.
Across the reservoir at Dillon Marina, the boat rental program ended Sunday, with slipholders able to stay in the water until Oct. 23.
But not many have chosen to pull their boats. The line of shrink-wrapped boats on trailers isn’t extensive at the Frisco Bay Marina, and Dillon Marina dock attendant Alisha LeBlanc said most of the watercraft are still at their slips.
On a sunny day with a breeze, sailboats dot the reservoir, but LeBlanc notes there aren’t too many.
“It’s just you and the water,” she said. “It’s a relaxing, peaceful experience.”
And fall is often the best time to enjoy time on the reservoir, not just because it’s quieter.
“The aspen right now are beautiful,” LeBlanc said. “If the weather keeps up, they’ll turn into an auburn color – a glowing red.”
On the reservoir, it’s a 360-degree view of the golden hillsides, she said, adding that the cool weather makes it feel “fresh and crisp,” though not terribly chilly.
Even if it is chilly, it just means pulling on a coat and a ski hat, Frisco resident Jim Bull said. He and his wife, Connie, own a 1951 Chris Craft that’s docked at Frisco Bay Marina.
“It’s my favorite part of the season because of all the colors,” he said. “It’s a smash hit everywhere. One of the greatest things is to see that shoot of yellow that comes down off Peak One. It’s a beautiful piece of the mountain.”
Bull plans to take advantage of every bit of water in the reservoir, joking he’ll “leave (the boat) in there until I’m told I have to take it out and they put a gun to my head.”
He said some of his friends are in the same situation – they’ll be “kicking and screaming” when the season comes to an end. Boaters got a late start this year, first launching in early July due to the drained Dillon Reservoir. Bull also had motor issues, rain days and some time off the water due to a planned vacation, but said he’s enjoyed what time he’s had.
“It’s been iffy, but it’s always a good season when you get in the water and putter around,” he said.
Then again, for Bull, the season doesn’t exactly end.
The full-service marinas are getting busy “buttoning up for winter,” Hofer said, which includes winterizing motors by drying them and modifying the fluids, drying the watercraft’s innards and shrink-wrapping them to ensure no snow gets in. Sealing is important, particularly for sailboats, as they can crack – as can engines with water in them – with the freeze-thaw cycle, LeBlanc said.
“Water pools in certain areas and freezes and that does a lot of damage, too,” Hofer added.
Meanwhile, Bull takes his prize home to a three-bay garage. He tinkers with it all winter, so it’s never quite the end of the season for him. And the socializing doesn’t stop.
“My friends come and drink beer in the boat while we’re sitting in the garage,” he said.
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