Denver digs out and heads for the hills |

Denver digs out and heads for the hills

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

From most accounts, the skiing and riding were absolutely pleasant over the weekend, here in this mountain oasis.

The forecast for today is calling for wind and snow showers this afternoon, with perhaps up to 3 inches throughout the day. Highs are to be in the lower 30s to lower 40s. Tuesday is to be partly cloudy and chilly.

The Front Range continues to dig out, and skiers are heading up for spring skiing. The midmountain base depth at Winter Park was 100 inches Sunday. Eldora had 95 inches midmountain and A-Basin had 93 inches.

By contrast, Snowmass has 60 inches midmountain, and Aspen Mountain has 57 inches.

According to The Associated Press, moderate to heavy traffic was reported Sunday afternoon through the Eisenhower Tunnel, and traffic was slowed by avalanche work on both sides of Interstate 70.

Berthoud Pass, like Interstate 70, opened Friday, and Winter Park’s Mary Jane side was seeing strong but not overwhelming numbers.

Copper Mountain spokesman Ben Friedland said he expected crowds to grow even more once Denver residents dug themselves out of the snow.

Friedland said numbers were high at Copper Mountain, but not “over the top.” He guessed that many Front Range residents would like to be skiing, but were more concerned about recovering from the storm.

“You can see the pent-up demand, though,” Friedland said. “It’s nice to do something with snow besides shovel it.”

We should be so occupied.

In another Associated Press story, a Colorado cloud-seeding consultant says he can’t be blamed for last week’s huge dump on the Front Range.

“We shut down all our equipment before the storm because of avalanche concerns. We give up some opportunities to assure people that we are operating responsibly,” said Larry Hjermstad, who has a contract with the city of Denver and ski areas to squeeze more snow from passing clouds amid Colorado’s worst drought on record.

“The areas that got the maximum precipitation out of this hadn’t been seeded at all,” added Hjermstad.

In other skiing news, Bode Miller had a good day at the U.S. Alpine National Championships on Sunday. He won the second of two slalom races held in the event.

Miller – who won the super G title last week on Whiteface Mountain – finished the two runs in 2 minutes, 6.59 seconds, fighting off blustery winds, fog and deteriorating snow.

Eric Schlopy was 0.73 behind, followed by Jesse Marshall, Chip Knight and James Cochran.

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