Quandary: Taking a dip in Dillon Reservoir
May 2, 2016
I'm dreaming of summer. Once the ice finally melts, can I take a dip in Lake Dillon?
Polar Bear Bob
You could try, but it wouldn't end particularly well for you. Not only is swimming in the lake still not allowed, it's also really freaking cold. Even this old goat isn't too fond of laps in Dillon and I have a lovely coat, you bare-skinned bohemians are just not equipped for that kind of dip. Temperatures fluctuate with the weather obviously, but even in the heat of summer, surface temperatures are usually in the low-60s. I know that doesn't sound that bad, but keep in mind it gets colder the deeper you go, and even the 60s is cold enough to trigger the mammalian dive reflex — basically your body goes into survival mode, slowing everything down and trying to keep your insides as warm as possible. This means as soon as you hit the water your breath gets zapped out of you, your pulse slows down and slowly but surely it gets a lot harder to even feel your limbs. While, I'm sure you can burn a lot of calories this way (and there's probably already some fad exercise program built on it), you can also lose a lot of extremities if you stay in too long.
Now, the rules on the lake have relaxed a little over the years, and things like windsurfing are now allowed, but only with a full-body dry or wetsuit. I know all you locals are overachievers and the yoga classes have already started on stand-up paddleboards on the water (which do not require a wetsuit), but before you start your next Ultimate tourney, remember if your disc hits the lake, you are out of luck. According to the lake's rules and regulations, you are still not allowed to make any intentional contact with the water, meaning a diving catch is a play that can land you in a lot of hot water (get it, it's hot water because it's cold water — oh, the irony). Denver Water cites both cold temperatures and concerns over water quality as reasons you are not allowed to get up close and personal with the lake.
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Have you always fancied yourself a rule breaker? Well have no fear, there is one way you can get a dip in the drink, but you are going to have to earn it: The 106-Degree West Triathlon. You'll still need to slip into a wetsuit, but this will be your chance to go 1.2 miles along the hopefully not-icy shoreline. What's the price for your moment of defiance? A 56-mile bike ride followed by a 13.1 mile run to finish the race. But won't it be glorious once you've finished the highest tri in the country and dipped your floaties in the mighty reservoir? If this conquest sounds like a little more than you can muster this September, there's always a pontoon boat waiting for you at the marina.
Quandary, an old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to any question about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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