Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa always loved skiing when she grew up. But growing up in San Antonio, Texas, she didn’t have many opportunities to do it. She does now.

woman skiing on ski slope with blue sky

“It hardly ever snows in San Antonio,” she says. “And when it does, it isn’t what you think of when you think ‘snow.’ There’s almost no accumulation. What San Antonio mostly is, is hot.” She admits that she had more skiing opportunities in the back of her mind when she began thinking about going to college at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. “I’d have majored in skiing, if it had been possible,” she says with a laugh.

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa enrolled in Naropa and went there for four years. Along the way she managed to sneak in the occasional ski weekend with various friends and fellow students. “We always took our homework with us, but we didn’t always get it finished,” she recalls. After she graduated in 2007 she was determined to remain in Colorado, which she had grown to love. Then she discovered Estes Park, a tourist village at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, and decided that was where she wanted to make her home.

The closest ski area to Estes Park is called Eldora, says Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa. “Twelve lifts, fifty-three ski trails, three hundred inches of snow a year – and it’s only an hour from where I live,” she reports. She is a regular there during the ski season. She also enjoys skiing at Echo Mountain, which is a little further away and smaller, but features jumps, rails, and other terrain challenges she thoroughly enjoys. She says she still believes in Texas Forever, but says she plans on living in Colorado for the rest of her life.

Advertisements

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa says that there is a lot to love about her adopted hometown, Estes Park, Colorado. And one of those things are the herds of elk.

The town is situated on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and the area is abundant in wildlife. Each fall herds of elk descend from the mountains and all but take over the town. Hundreds of the animals congregate in parks, golf courses, and on any available lawn. And Estes Park takes advantage of this phenomenon with its annual Elk Fest, held each year in Bond Park and the surrounding area.

iStock_000001162772_Small

“The first time I saw it, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes,” says Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa. “Here are these huge animals, hundreds of them, walking around town like they own the place.” As she knows, the early part of fall is the start of the elk’s mating season. All through town the haunting call of the bull elk can be heard: deep resonant tones that quickly rise to a high pitched squeal, before turning into a series of grunts. Tourists flock to Estes Park every year to see the elk and take part in the Elk Fest.

Most of the festival is free, although there are fees for the elk viewing bus tours. “You don’t really need the tour, although I guess they have their place,” says Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa. “If you want to see elk during mating season, all you really need to do is look out the window.”

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa is a transplanted Texan. She came to Colorado to attend school at Naropa University in Boulder and has been in the Rocky Mountain State ever since. After graduating with degrees in Visual Arts and Education she moved to Estes Park, a small tourist town that is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lisa Fox-Jackson Iowa

Lisa Fox-Jackson Iowa

Not long after arriving in Estes Park, she got a job as a teacher at Estes Park Elementary School, where she teaches the third grade. “I love my kids,” she says. “Most of them are eight and nine years old. That’s such a great age. You can see their personalities forming, but there is still a lot of shaping to do.” She says these ages are known as the age of Industry versus Inferiority. Kids are still learning how to relate to their peers, learning social rules, and evolving from free play to more structured relationships and interactions. “They have a more mature basis for choosing their friends, like shared interests.”

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa also teaches painting at the Art Center of Estes Park, a combination art gallery and art education facility that has been the center of the local arts community since 1987. She has been painting seriously since she was a teenager and gravitated toward the Art Center shortly after moving to town. “The mission of the Center is to promote the visual arts, and the artists in the area, by providing a facility and opportunities to show there work,” she says. “It’s an honor and a real privilege for me to be able to teach there.”