Spring storm blasts Vail with wet, heavy snow
Spring break crowds enjoy a powder day as big storm leads to closures on Vail Pass
The Vail area has been under a Winter Weather Advisory this week, which is expected to remain in effect until Thursday morning.
The storm began like many do in Vail, with a closure of Vail Pass during the evening hours on Tuesday.
Master Trooper Gary Cutler with the Colorado State Patrol said the first closure of Vail Pass occurred on the eastbound side at 9:16 p.m. after a Nissan Xterra rolled over at mile marker 188. State Patrol troopers and the Colorado Department of Transportation responded and were able to remove the vehicle from the roadway and get the interstate reopened at 10:37 p.m.
Snow continued to fall overnight, and another interstate closure occurred on Vail Pass eastbound starting at 4:19 a.m., but that closure was likely not due to weather, Cutler said.
“There was a car fire, it was fully engulfed and we had to shut down the road to put that out,” he said. The highway remained closed for about 2.5 hours, Cutler said.
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No injuries were reported in either incident, and no other road closures were reported after that.
But the snow continued to fall, and by the start of the ski day at 8:30 a.m. on Vail Mountain, there were 4-5 inches of fresh snow on the slopes. The snow was of the high-moisture variety and became heavier throughout the day.
Visiting from Tennessee on his college spring break, Jamison Gould said the first thing he did in the morning was adjust his bindings, setting his stance back a bit to better handle the fresh snow.
“I was lucky enough to be in Colorado a couple of seasons ago, volunteering at Vail Health, so I’m familiar with the area,” he said. “I’m really excited to catch a powder day while I’m here.”
Gould’s Wednesday powder day was his third day on the slopes during his spring break vacation; he said he’ll get two more before heading back to Tennessee for the remainder of the semester.
Dominik Bossart was also enjoying spring break on the slopes of Vail, but for the father of two, his day of shredding was made possible by what he called “a great decision” to put his kids in ski school. Originally from Switzerland but now living in Miami, Bossart said he was impressed with the layout and size of Vail Mountain, which he was able to explore by himself on Wednesday.
“It’s my first day ever skiing Vail, and I do think I’ll be back,” he said. “Really enjoying the snow.”
For Howard Schulder, the story was quite the opposite. The 76-year old has been coming to Vail since 1984, and found Wednesday’s low-visibility conditions to be a bit too challenging. He was out for the early turns but had concluded his day by 10:30 a.m., insisting his wife, Louise, ski without him.
“We’ve got three generations out here this week,” Louise said. “What a week.”
The National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office, in a Hazardous Weather Outlook issued Wednesday, said unsettled weather will continue into the weekend, “and possibly even into early next week as lingering moisture and a series of disturbances move through the region.”
The weather should remain well below seasonal norms, with more snow possible throughout the week, the National Weather Service reported.
“Snow will favor the mountains with minor accumulations possible each day,” according to the outlook issued Wednesday. “Travel could be very difficult. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.”
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