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Colorado Camping Weekend
For FSX/P3D Published by Vertical Studios
Reviewed by Rob Scott
August 2013

Three years ago I reviewed Vertical Studios ‘Mountain Flying in Switzerland’ series of missions and was very impressed by them. Fast forward three years and Vertical Studios have released another series of missions called ‘Colorado Camping Weekend’

The theme of the missions is very simple: 4 different flights from Thursday – Sunday flying around the Rocky Mountains landing at 5 airports and flying over 6 mountain passes in the default Cessna 172.

The missions are priced at $1.99 each, which is around £1.30 or €1.50 and come as a download from the Vertical Studios website. The total combined download size is 264mb, although some of the files are the same – presumably for people who only download one or two of the missions.


If you are not aware who Vertical Studios are and how they come up with their ideas then read on.

Chris Klein (owner) is a private pilot in real life (FAA - Airplane, Single engine, Land) and uses his license purely for “fun” (as a hobby). Like many real world pilots he uses FSX to help become safer with real-world flying. Chris tries to “give back” to the FSX community a taste of what it’s like to fly in real-life. This is why Vertical Studios’ missions use real-world voice, charts, procedures, etc. (within reason). For example, when there’s a towered airport they try to simulate the communication that would take place in real life with ATC. For the Mountain Flying in Switzerland scenario, this was EXACTLY the route they took one summer and so the missions are actually just the sim version of a real-life flight. In fact, when customers finish the missions they are given a link to watch the real-world video of the actual flight.

For Colorado Camping Weekend, this is based on a real-world weekend Chris experienced a few years ago with the Colorado Pilot’s Association. They offer a great, 3-day weekend course on Mountain Flying and the route of their flight on day 3 is very similar to that of the 4-day mission series. They added the Camp Vertical airstrip, which does not exist in real life. In terms of departing Boulder, going over the Rollins Pass, arriving in Glenwood Springs, then Aspen, Leadville, and back to Boulder – this was the actual route they took over that weekend course. This also allows them to comment on the scenery along the way since they know the area in real life.


The installation process, whilst easy, is not automated. You will need to download the missions, extract them from the .zip file and then manually move them into the FSX folders and activate them within FSX. Full step by step instructions are given in the manual and they are easy to follow through, but there is always the risk of human error leading to a bad installation.

Once they are installed correctly the missions will display under the ‘Good Life’ section in the FSX Missions screen.


For the cheap purchase price of these missions I wasn’t expecting much in the way of documentation, but I was wrong. Each mission has a good manual containing the route information, map of a sectional chart (although it is small) and information about the airports and mountain passes which you will encounter along the way.


Thursday will see you depart from Boulder, head over the Rollins Pass Berthoud Pass and Loveland Pass before landing about an hour later at Camp Vertical. You’ll need to pay close attention to your mixture when airborne as you will be flying at 12,500 feet to clear the mountains.

The Journey Begins

Nice day for flying

Make sure to get your headings correct

Nice flat land for a change

Destination in sight

Parked up after the first mission


After spending the night at Camp Vertical it is another early morning start flying over the Vail Pass, through Glenwood Canyon and on to Glenwood Springs. The final approach into Glenwood is quite fun and hectic.

As you are taxing to the runway at Camp Vertical your co-pilot informs you that you will need to follow Jerry for this flight. However, by the time I had got to the runway Jerry had already taken off and was long gone. The route is programmed into the GPS and your co-pilot gives instructions along the way about heading changes etc… and after a while I did manage to catch up with Jerry…. Only to lose him again in the mountains.

Jerry will be our guide today

Great scenery

Mind Those Trees

The canyon is narrow, but we can make it

The approach is blind



The third mission is one of the busiest! You’ll depart from Glenwood Springs, make a small detour to land at the Aspen Ski Resort. After a quick turnaround you’ll take off again and fly over the Hagerman Pass before landing at Leadville, which is the highest airport in the US.

Early Start

Make sure that you choose the correct valley

Now I know I'm high!

Off for the 2nd part of this flight

Aspen comes into sight

Parked up after another enjoyable flight


Unlike the other days Sunday sees you flying in the evening due to unforeseen circumstances! Along the route you’ll fly over several mountain passes and a few lakes before finally landing at Boulder to finish the weekend. You’ll also need to pick up Jerry along the way. Landing at the airstrip to collect Jerry was probably the trickiest part of the 4 missions for me, mainly because I was flying without using my GPS and there are two airstrips which look identical fairly close to each other. I managed to get it right second time around.

Hop Aboard Jerry

Great Sunset

Keep an Eye on the GPS


All in all the four missions should take no more than around 5-6 hours to complete and aren’t that demanding. I’ve flown some missions where the co-pilot talks so much it gets annoying, this isn’t the case here. You are given simple instructions which are easy to follow, as well as some local knowledge of the area. Most of the time you are left to fly! Once you have completed the mission there is nothing to stop you trying it again with a different aircraft.

It’s worth noting that if you are using Ultimate Traffic for your AI Traffic, it might be an idea to disable it prior to loading the mission. I had some fun and games on the ground at a couple of the airports with kamikaze AI.


Who would have thought that flying the default Cessna could be so much fun? The missions are not overly challenging and allow you to sit back and enjoy the flights. The region that the flights take part in has some great scenery to keep you occupied and, provided that you follow the instructions given, you’ll have no trouble completing the missions.

They are let down slightly by the lack of an automated installation process, but the manual makes it fairly easy to put the files in the correct location (provided you follow it step by step). For the price of a couple of beers you can spend a few hours enjoying yourself over and over again.

 Verdict:   silver
• Fun Factor: 9.0/10
• Difficulty Rating*: 5.0/10
• Documentation: 8.0/10
• Value for money: 9.0/10
*Omitted from final score calculation  
Mutley’s Hangar score of 8.6/10, with an "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award!

Rob Scott
Review machine Spec:
Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium