I70Things has built a Colorado community following on Instagram | VailDaily.com

I70Things has built a Colorado community following on Instagram

Road warriors, animal enthusiasts, sunset chasers and more featured on social media page

Julie Bielenberg
Special to the Daily
Photographer Ben Ford’s photo was featured on the i70things Instagram recently with the caption: “An I-70 Masterpiece.” Check out i70things, and Ford, on Instagram. (Ben Ford, mr._ford on Instagram)

There’s no reason to even name the Denver-based individual behind one of America’s most popular Instagram accounts, for highways. As of March 10, 2021, @i70things had over 45,000 followers logging in to watch “all the wild things that happen on I-70” specifically between the Front Range and Glenwood Springs exit.

“I don’t like to disclose my real name,” the account owner said in an email. “The reason for this is I realized pretty early on that it didn’t matter who I was. What mattered to the community was the content and useful information that the page brought. The funny part about this is that I used to and sometimes still do receive DMs to my personal Instagram of I-70 content where a friend says, ‘Did you see this?’ I should respond, ‘I just posted this,’ but I usually just say ‘I’ll check it out.’”

The idea for the Instagram social sharing page came from the exact content it currently offers.

“The idea came to me during a very long trip on I-70. I was with a buddy, and we were driving from Denver to Aspen. We kept having to stop due to traffic, cars skidding off the road and then finally a semi jackknifed 200 yards right in front of us. As the passenger, I was already filming most of the stuff going on because it is wild and also people who aren’t from here don’t really believe how treacherous and insane I-70 can be.”

For locals in the valley, it’s humorous and a part of daily life. For outsiders, it’s a mix of “Jerry of the Day” on the highway and incredible nature, wildlife and gnarly landscapes — rainbow sunsets, massive white dumps and loads of mountain dogs riding along the highway.

“Content that tends to be posted includes things such as odd things or funny things, accidents that may have occurred (never deadly), weather related phenomenon, such as avalanches, wildfires, but the winner will always be traffic. I sometimes will post something simply Colorado related, but tend to stick to I-70 related content.”

One of the most popular posts thus far was a snapshot of the Rockies from the Buffalo Overlook area. It’s a time lapse compilation of photos from sunrises and sunsets with spectacular color and obvious appeal.

Other top posts cover important issues such as PSAs, for example, demonstrating a two-wheel drive car struggling to get up to the tunnel in snowy conditions.

“People can really relate to this because not only does it cause more traffic, but it is dangerous for everyone on the road.”

“A cool unintended consequence as a community is we have been able to find three stolen cars here in Colorado just by sharing a community member’s photo of their car alongside pertinent information and another community member happening to find it. I could have never imagined this kind of positive effect and I’m really happy about this.”

Another prime example of the need for social media mixed with relevant, real-time information is the reservations implemented by resorts this season.

“The reservation system has thrown a wrench in the typical way you’d decide to go skiing. I-70 Things has been able to allocate many reservations from people who can’t go or forgot to cancel to people who are eager to get on the hill that day. Another unintended but positive consequence of the community we have built.”

With more and more people with mobile devices commuting to and from the mountains, there’s endless content possibilities including collaborations and partnerships.

“I know the brand has a lot of potential and I’d like it to remain a very Colorado-centric page. People who live and are from Colorado are very proud to do so. Although I-70 runs from Maryland to Utah, most of the shenanigans occur right here in Colorado from Morrison to Parachute. I have only worked with Colorado brands and the goal is to keep doing so especially with small businesses when possible.”

“I don’t consider followers as followers, I call and consider them Community Members because one really cool aspect about I-70 Things is the camaraderie. Whether skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling in the winter to camping, hiking, fishing or hunting in the summer, we all like to get outside and stay active. This is a key driving factor (literally) that forces a lot of the people to take I-70. It’s the road to their next adventure. This is what the outdoor media brand embodies.”

“It would be interesting to work with CDOT because, personally, I appreciate everything they do to keep the roads clear, and I believe we could get some great messaging across to those driving on I-70. Some of the problems surrounding I-70 traffic besides sheer volume of cars are preventable issues, such as having snow tires and driving a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle. Or even things as simple as using the left lane just to pass.”

Looking to get in on the ‘gram, there’s plenty to be captured between here and there, and done safely! All content is supposed to reinforce the wild, but promote a safe approach to Colorado recreation.

The i70things Instagram page featured this photo submitted by Kevin Shih: “Quality traffic photo featuring an accident in the distance. Wish this traffic was because Red Rocks was open” the caption says. In addition to regular posts, the Instagram page also has lively stories regularly updated. (Kevin Shih, Special to the Daily)

“I miss things all the time. Something I was close to but didn’t witness first hand was in March of 2019 when that massive avy hit I-70, I believe it was around Ten Mile Canyon. That was pretty insane and would have been interesting to watch from a safe distance. Nature is a force not to be reckoned with and I believe it is imperative to remember how quickly things can change on this highway.”

Just as the highway will inevitably expand in some capacity, so will the Instagram site.

“I-70 Things is working on some cool projects at the moment and is also coming out with merchandise. Being an I-70 Things community member is a prideful title and illustrates that this isn’t your first rodeo on this rowdy highway.”

Follow i70things on Instagram to join the I-70 community.

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