The year in photos: A look back at 2021 through the lens of Vail Daily photographer Chris Dillmann | VailDaily.com
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The year in photos: A look back at 2021 through the lens of Vail Daily photographer Chris Dillmann

Year of 2021 in photos

Oh, what a year. Feels like we achieved a little bit more normalcy than last year, but these past 12 months will still go down in the history books.

The photos I chose to represent the year 2021 were picked based on the most newsworthy premise. There were others that might have slipped through the cracks as “better photos,” but these to me were the most influential when it comes to what we experienced in this little portion of Colorado and an even smaller section of the world.

It’s hard going through and picking a select few photos when so much has happened throughout the year. Hard-hitting news like canyon closures and wildfires to powder days and kids doing cute things — they all have a place in documenting what happened in Eagle County. Behind a lens, you look at what happens in this valley differently. You also are able to see more than most do. So here’s my attempt to sum the year up through my eyes and pressing a button clicking the shutter of my camera.



The pandemic was still going strong, though the difference from 2020 is events came back. Though, they came back differently than before, whether it was limited capacity or vaccination requirements at local venues. Nonetheless, they came back. Concerts, sporting events and most things in between helped our valley come back to life.

Then there’s the weather. A lower-than-average snow season and precipitation can guarantee one thing in Colorado — wildfires and low river flows. We had one fire pretty close to home in Sylvan Lake State Park early on in the summer. Then came the rains later in the summer, which helped to prevent new fires, but aggravated the scars of old ones such as the Grizzly Creek Fire the year before. Hence, a summer marked by Interstate 70 closures in Glenwood Canyon.



The valley, like always, lost some very influential people. In-person graduations without restrictions came back and school was in session without block schedules or smaller learning pods, even if most students had to wear masks for a second year in a row.

Again, I can’t reiterate enough how hard it is to choose a select few photos to go in print that captures the year. With that said, make sure to check out the online story where you can see far more photos than what’s able to make it into the print edition.

A Kaman K-MAX helicopter fills a water bucket to fight the Sylvan Fire in June. The burn scar in the background shows how the fire moved down to Sylvan Lake at Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle. Air operations were key to fighting the fire, which burned 3,792 acres — nearly 6 square miles.
Robert Yi teaches his daughter Sylvana, 11, of Evergreen how to fly fish in July at Piney Lake outside of Vail. The lake is a popular destination for many recreational activities.
Major roadwork begins on a destroyed portion of Interstate 70 after historic mudslides August near Glenwood Springs. Heavy rains on burn scars brought the mountain down, shutting the highway down for weeks.
First-grade teacher Monica Moreno and Zayd Hernandez work on an assignment the first day of school at Homestake Peak School in August in EagleVail. The district is requiring masks for all faculty and students.
A Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter fills up from Sylvan Lake to fight the Sylvan Fire in June outside of Eagle.
Axel, a 5-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, gets air during the DockDogs Outdoor Big Air competition in June in Vail. The event was the kickoff for the Vail Valley Foundation's GoPro Mountain Games, which returned in full a year after being canceled dud to COVID-19 concerns.
Derek Redd exits the whiteroom in February in Beaver Creek.
Town of Vail Mayor Dave Chapin is administered a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Vail Health nurse Elizabeth Kegode in March at Vail Hospital in Vail. Chapin came down with a bout of COVID-19 in early 2020 when Eagle County became one of the early hot spots in the pandemic.
Smoke rises in hot spots of the Sylvan Fire in June at Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle.
Fire was one of the production aspects to the music during Powabunga Music Fesitval in December in Vail. The festival wasn't short on striking visuals.
Kai Blumenauer, 2, of EagleVail strolls the Vail Recreation District's annual Trick-or-Treat in October in Vail. Kids and adults showed up in costumes galore.
Crews work to clear Glenwood Canyon after mudslides in August between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs.
The Flynn Creek Circus performers dazzle audience members in August in Avon.
The Wailers play for the Vail Valley Foundation's Hot Summer Night concert series in August in Vail.
Town of Vail Fleet Manager Jeff Darnall explains the battery capabilities of the new town buses in April in Vail. The town had hybrid electric, but will be adding 100 percent electric running buses to the fleet.
The Battle Mountain boys hockey team celebrates its 4A state championship win with a parade in April in Eagle. The boys won the whole thing after getting in the playoffs with a wild-card spot.
Kelley Nelson of the Vail Fire Department breaks through a wall during a training exercise at the former Children’s Garden of Learning site in November in Vail. The training was to teach firefighters self rescue when they are trapped by learning how to escape a building when regular exists are blocked off.
Keb' Mo' plays the Vilar Performing Arts Center August in Beaver Creek.
Riders compete in bareback riding for the opening night of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo in July in Eagle.
A firefighter ignites brush for a prescribed burn April in East Vail. The burn took place in the Katsos Ranch area of East Vail on approximately 20 acres of town of Vail land and 1 acre of Colorado Department of Transportation right of way. It will help regenerate the vegetation for the bighorn sheep winter range.
The aptly-named John Ramunno field stands are filled with people to pay respects to the legendary coach under the lights in August at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. Ramunno died after a battle with cancer.
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe plays as the sun sets on Avon's Salute to the USA in July in Avon. The fireworks might have been canceled because of fire danger, but the fun went on with live music, food and entertainment.
Al Bonneau of Denver makes turns last March in Beaver Creek.
Arabella Bothwell and her best friend Anna Miller of Avon scope out the art instillations in January in Beaver Creek.
Jack Reed, 13, receives his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Dr. David Wahl, who is retired but came to help with the vaccination clinic, in May at Vail Health Hospital in Vail.
Jaime Molina paints one of the ventilation stacks just west of the Dobson Ice Arena in June in Vail. The duo, known as "The Worst Crew," was finishing their work, "Valley Threnody.“
People line up for Covid-19 vaccines March at the Gypsum Recreation Center in Gypsum.
Aspens showcase their color in September near Minturn.
An excavator works to fill a hole in Interstate 70 after a series of mud and rock slides decimated the highway at the end of July and August in Glenwood Canyon.

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