Winter weather advisory issued for Vail; storm warning expected to last through Sunday morning

Snow rolls in on Vail Mountain on Thursday, Nov. 22. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning as the Thanksgiving ski day was coming to a close.
John LaConte |

While as much as 14 inches of new snow is forecasted to fall in the Vail area over the Thanksgiving weekend, the good news for travelers is the snow is supposed to let up on Sunday morning, Nov. 25.

A winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service went into effect in Vail at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22, and that will graduate into a winter storm warning on Friday, Nov. 23, which will stay in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 26.

In addition to a mostly clear Sunday, there might also be a slight break in the snow on Friday afternoon, said Dan Cuevas, of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. Indeed, the series of storms headed our way this holiday weekend appear to be cooperating with the typical traffic pattern on Interstate 70.

“It looks like additional snow (on Friday) of maybe around an inch, and that will be primarily in the morning,” Cuevas said on Thursday, Nov. 22. “But there could be considerable blowing snow as well, especially in the higher exposed areas.”

Check your tire TREAD

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For drivers, blowing snow means be ready for icy patches even when it would appear everything is dry.

“You’ll have snowpacked roads, possible chain laws, etcetera,” Cuevas said.

While commercial vehicles are required to carry chains when traveling through Eagle County, (and will probably have to use them this weekend) regular motorists must have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow designation or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle once traction laws go into effect. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread, and you can also install chains or an alternative traction device to be in compliance with the law if your tires aren’t adequate. To see if your tires meet the minimum one-eighth inch tread test, insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first. If the top of his head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK. If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire, your tires don’t pass the one-eighth inch tread test.


Cuevas said the worst of the snow will likely come in on Saturday, where we could see 5 to 7 inches as a last blast before the storm lets up on Sunday morning.

“The roads might be OK for that Sunday afternoon trip back to Denver,” he said.

Of course, the Sunday trip to Denver is not recommended by the experts at the Colorado Department of Transportation, especially not between the peak hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

That’s why the department started its Change Your Peak Drive campaign a few years ago, to encourage drivers to stay off the road during that busy time.

The website offers you encouragement to stay later on Sunday, with special pricing on meals and hotel rooms across the I-70 corridor.

Participating businesses in Eagle County include Blue Plate Bistro, Gondola Pizza and Christie Lodge in Avon; and the Westwind, Vail Mountain Lodge, Mountain Haus and Destination Resorts in Vail.

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