Vail’s first snow results in season’s first weather-related Vail Pass closure |

Vail’s first snow results in season’s first weather-related Vail Pass closure

Vail Valley residents were mostly thrilled with Thursday's long-awaited snow storm, the first of the season.
Ross Leonhart| |

VAIL — The season’s first snow was quickly followed by the first traffic pileup and the first Vail Pass snow-related highway closure.

Westbound Interstate 70 was closed about five miles east of Vail was closed Thursday morning because of an accident, leading us to ask each other, “Seriously? We weren’t ready for this?”

A jack-knifed semi started the whole thing, and other motorists managed to get tangled up in it, said Tracy Trulove, public information officer with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Also, CDOT is closing Independence Pass for the season at noon today, so your plans to ride your motorcycle over it on Thanksgiving Day are foiled.

Accuweather said the greatest amount of snow will be on elevated, non-paved surfaces.

You know, like Vail Pass.

Initially, snow may struggle to accumulate on paved surfaces, due to the recent warmth. As the rate of snow increases, roads will transition from wet to slushy to snow-covered in a short amount of time, says the Accuweather forecast.

The storm will pass, as storms do. The National Weather Service forecast that by late Thursday night the weather is expected to clear, leaving us with a 10 percent chance of snow Friday, and sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 40s by Saturday and through the weekend.

Snow deadline

Because people are generally nice but are deadline junkies, they were swamped yesterday at Vail Discount Tire and other tire shops.

People who procrastinated taking care of their tires looked at the sky, which was dumping snow on them, and figured today was the day.

“Snow makes all the difference in the world,” said Bill Britt, who owns Vail Discount Tire with wife Gail.

This is not a recently-acquired behavior, Britt said.

“Every year,” Britt said chuckling.

A few of us took care of this sort of thing in October when Mother Nature sent some snow to remind us where we live. The rest of us, well …

It snowed yesterday.

The Heat is On

CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies are ramping up their enforcement efforts through Thanksgiving. It’s part of the ongoing their “Heat Is On” DUI enforcement campaign.

“We know Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and celebration — but we want Colorado’s residents and holiday guests to understand that impaired driving will not be tolerated,” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s office of transportation safety. “Make a plan. If you’re going to drink at all, arrange a sober ride home — otherwise you put yourself and others at risk.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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