Storms make for great skiing and messy roads
January 10, 2014
VAIL — The roads are a mess, as you may have noticed, but the ski mountains are spectacular.
Crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation are working round-the-clock trying to keep roads passable. That's the good news.
But the snow keeps coming, and if you're a skier that's better news.
Department of Transportation road crews are on what they euphemistically call "snow" shifts, 12 hours on and 12 off, said Tracy Trulove, spokeswoman for this region. Crews will keep working those 12-hour shifts through Sunday night.
"The object is to get down as close to dry road conditions as possible," Trulove said.
On Vail Pass alone CDOT has five plows working the westbound lanes and four working the eastbound side.
Usually it's enough to keep up, but Interstate 70 was closed in several places at various times as the snow kept coming. Vail Pass was closed for more than an hour midday Friday.
Most of the problem was passenger vehicles spinning out because the drivers were either going too fast or didn't have proper winter tires — or both, Trulove said.
"A lot of vehicles that spun out are not commercial vehicles," she said.
If you're lucky and paying attention, then you'll see snowplows running three abreast.
"They call that 'the wall,' to push the snow all the way off the side of the highway," Trulove said. "It's impressive to watch, but remember, when you come up on the plows, take it slow and steady."
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says we can expect 10 inches through Sunday night.
Mountain passes such as Vail Pass and Straight Creek are expected to receive roughly 10 inches of snow throughout the weekend. McClure Pass could see around 8 inches of new snow.
Motorists can call 511 or visit http://www.cotrip.org for current road condition information across the state.
Skiing the white stuff
Vail Mountain has been hit with a foot of new snow in the past two days, the resort is reporting.
Vail has received more than 11 feet of snow so far this season. The entire mountain and all of the Back Bowls are open.
Enjoy it while you can, says Joel Gratz, a meteorologist with Opensnow.com
With the exception of a few snow showers across northern Colorado on Monday and again on Thursday, the period from Monday the 13th through about the 22nd looks dry, Gratz said.
"It's possible that a storm could bring some snow to Colorado during this time if it sneaks through the ridge, but we'll need an overall pattern change to bring more consistent snow back to the state," he said.
Active weather is expected to return to Colorado during the last seven days of the month, he said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.