Snow shuts schools, closes businesses

Thirteen-year-old Sam Moody didn’t need an alarm clock Tuesday morning. The sight of falling snow — and lots of it — sprung him from bed at 6.

“I almost couldn’t sleep,” he said of the building excitement of seeing snow fall the night before. The generous dose of snow that padded the Grand Valley helped him win a bet with his dad that his school, Orchard Mesa Middle School, would be closed for the day.

Not just Moody’s school, but all District 51 schools and Mesa State College were canceled Tuesday. A wide swath of businesses and government agencies followed suit as employees invariably had trouble navigating vehicles on slick roads through nearly a foot of snow in some places.

“I’ve never seen this much snow here,” Mike Chambers said while playing with his children at Duck Pond Park. As he watched his kids, Michael, 11, and Amy, 10, purposely fall into the powdery snow, he said with a laugh, “It’s fun to be a kid isn’t it?”

Eight-and-a-half inches of snow was reported at Grand Junction Regional Airport for Monday and Tuesday, with 7.2 inches of that total recorded Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. A record for Dec. 8 is tough to beat, with 9 inches set in 1919.

“It’s kind of a treat for us in the Grand Valley if you like snow,” said hydrologist Bryon Lawrence with the National Weather Service.

Just rewards will come for skiers and snowboarders this weekend as Powderhorn Ski Resort will open Saturday, five days ahead of schedule. A whooping 28 inches of snow that fell in 24 hours has been a godsend for the Grand Mesa resort, spokeswoman Sarah Allen said.

“This is one of the strongest pre-season snowfalls we’ve seen,” she said.

Ski lifts open at 9 a.m., and resort employees are expecting the long lines of eager skiers who typically show for opening day, Allen said.

Allen said it hasn’t yet been determined how many lifts and how much terrain will be open Saturday. Those details will be released Thursday and Friday.

“We’ll open as many lifts as possible,” she said. “The timing of the storm has been perfect. We’ve been making snow, but we really needed this big boost from Mother Nature.”


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