Snow, winds in Colo. mountains shut down roads

DENVER — More than a foot of snow fell on Colorado’s mountains, where winds up to 75 mph briefly shut down parts of the state’s major east-west route through Denver today.

Vail Pass on Interstate 70 was closed for about two hours due to the weather and multiple accidents, causing traffic to back up.

About 18.5 inches of snow fell at the Eisenhower Tunnel on the road west of Denver, said Frank Benton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder. Weather spotters reported 19 inches near Silverthorne in Summit County.

Winds up to about 75 mph were recorded along the eastern side of the Rockies, including near the foothills west and north of Denver, according to the weather service.

Both sides of I-70 between the tunnel and Silverthorne will be closed in stages early Wednesday so crews can clear snow from lanes that have been closed for construction.

Eastbound traffic will be detoured off the highway from 1 to 3 a.m., followed by westbound traffic from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The Loveland and Independence passes were also closed for a second day.

The weather service said another round of snow will move into the northern Colorado mountains Tuesday evening. Snow was expected through Wednesday morning, thanks to “a very strong” upper-level jet stream, said Benton.

The only two ski resorts open so far in Colorado have benefited from the wave of storms. Arapahoe Basin, which opened Monday, reported 8 inches of new snow.

Loveland Ski Area, which opened Sunday, said it has received 12 inches of new snow.

Viceroy Snowmass hotel group sales employee Brian Mordecai said he woke up excited to see that around 4 inches of snow had fallen overnight in Snowmass Village. The resort reported 9 inches of new snow.

“It wasn’t as much accumulation as I was hoping for, but that’s OK,” he said. “I was hoping for 4 to 6 inches on top of my car.”

Snowmass opens for the season Nov. 25.



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