Editorial: Winter Weather Awareness Week a reminder that snow is on the horizon | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Winter Weather Awareness Week a reminder that snow is on the horizon

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Our View

Governor John Hickenlooper has declared the week of Sunday, Oct. 15, through Saturday, Oct. 21, as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado.

No, really.

Given our current sunny fall weather, it's easy to giggle a bit thinking about winter weather preparedness, but we all know cold weather is coming — along with plenty of snow as well, we hope.

Actually, mid-October is as good a time as any to think about winter, even while we're not yet ready to put up the bikes or golf clubs. Early birds among us have already bought or mounted snow tires on their vehicles, especially in the wake of last week's quick blast of snow. Some resorts have started snowmaking, Arapahoe Basin is open for the season and Loveland Ski Area will follow on its heels Friday, Oct. 20.

Whether or not you're still in winter denial, it's on the way, and a bit of advance planning now can stave off bad days later on.

The National Weather Service is a partner in Winter Weather Awareness Week, and this week is providing several information statements.

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Those statements already include information about winter travel safety — something many of us seem to need frequent reminders about — and how the weather service's watches, warnings and advisories work.

Even longtime residents will probably find new information, or at least a few "I'd forgotten that" moments in the information releases.

Along with helpful hints about winter's potential hazards, it's worth mentioning that Colorado requires commercial vehicles to carry chains or other approved traction devices from Sept. 1 to May 31 along Interstate 70 between Dotsero and Morrison.

A recent safety check along the interstate through Vail showed almost all the commercial vehicles were carrying the proper equipment. The fines for not carrying that equipment are fairly minimal, unless an unequipped driver gets stuck and blocks the road. If that happens, then a trucker is hit with $1,157 in fines and surcharges

Soon-to-be-former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Routt counties pending her coming resignation, for a few years tried to get a law passed to impose similar requirements on passenger vehicles. That effort was ultimately derailed in Denver — a mistake, in our view. Instead of a blanket requirement, the state is muddling along with existing law, declaring when traction equipment is required as conditions change. Those rules can be imposed and lifted a few times in a day, creating needless confusion.

Regardless of the law, though, drivers owe it to themselves and others to be properly equipped for the blizzards to come.

In the home, the approach of winter might also be a good time to have an energy audit through Eagle County's Energy Smart Colorado program.

However you prepare, it's time to get ready. Being stuck, or being at home with an on-the-fritz heater, is the very definition of a ruined day.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is comprised of Business Editor Scott Miller, Editor Krista Driscoll and Publisher Mark Wurzer.