Winter’s not over yet, Vail Valley |

Winter’s not over yet, Vail Valley

Sarah Mausolf
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyFilimon Martinez walks to the bus stop to try and take a bus to work at the Vail Medical Center as traffic moves slowly eastbound on Highway 6 Friday in Eagle-Vail. A spring storm that brought heavy snow early in the morning shut down Interstate 70 for several hours due to multiple accidents and caused heavy traffic on Highway 6.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – After a string of dry, sunny days, some people had given up on winter.

A handful of drivers this week even stopped into Vail Discount Tires in Eagle-Vail to have their snow tires removed.

“I actually told a couple people yesterday when we were doing it: you do realize it’s going to snow?” the tire store’s manager, Bill Britt said Friday. “We’re not done yet. It’s still going to snow some more.”

He was right. Friday morning brought several inches of snow to the Vail Valley, exciting skiers and creating gridlock traffic on area highways. Eagle-Vail resident Erica Ring, 23, said she encountered bumper to bumper jams on Highway 6, where officials diverted traffic while accidents cleared on I-70.

“It probably took me an hour to do what’s normally a 10-minute drive,” Ring said.

Rich Duran, a captain with the Colorado State Patrol, said drivers encountered icy, snowpacked conditions after two to six inches of snow fell on the roads. Traffic was backed up on I-70 between Vail and Avon after at least two trucks jackknifed at Dowd Junction, he said. He reported four or five other accidents in the Vail Valley but said none lead to serious injuries.

He said the snow caught people off guard after a stretch of nice weather.

“Spring brings some of the wettest storms,” he said. “It’s heavy wet snow that can impact the road quickly.”

Vail and Beaver Creek mountain’s Web sites each reported 1 inch of new snow Friday morning, although the National Weather Service received an unconfirmed report of 8 inches on Vail mountain, meteorologist Mike Chamberlain said.

Looking ahead to Saturday, he said some light snow was possible. Chamberlain predicted scattered snow in the mountains amounting to an inch or less.

Friday’s snow energized some locals. Avon snowboarder Phil Weddle, 27, said he discovered six inches of snow on his back deck Friday morning.

One thought crossed his mind.

“Powder day. It always gets you excited,” he said. “A bunch of coffee and you get jazz hands.”

Edwards resident Kevin Krieg, 42, said Friday’s snowfall was pretty exciting.

“It’s the first snow we’ve had in almost three weeks,” he said. “I hope we get a lot more end-of-the-season snow because this year has been pretty lacking in powder days.”

Although some people saw the snow as a bonus, others didn’t appreciate the break from warm weather.

“I was pretty sad, actually,” Ring said. “It’s been a long winter. I was happy for the sun.”

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

Support Local Journalism