Independence Pass re-opens after snowstorm |

Independence Pass re-opens after snowstorm

Independence Pass reopened at about 12:30 p.m. Friday after the season's first snowstorm forced closure of the mountain road Friday morning, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.

Still, sheriff's deputies recommended travelers go around, especially if drivers have a two-wheel-drive car.

"We are into winter-weather driving conditions," said Deputy Alex Burchetta, director of operations at the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office. "It's a mess."

Deputy Josh Bennett said he headed up the pass at about 6:40 a.m. Friday and encountered a car stuck in a 3-foot snow drift at the last turn before the summit. The car had been there since about midnight, though deputies offered the two men inside a ride down at about 2 a.m. and they declined, Burchetta said.

A tow truck arrived in the morning to pull them out. However, a plow tried to go around and got stuck, blocking the road for any other traffic, Bennett said, adding that he was walking in snow drifts above his knees. Workers were still trying to dig out the truck Friday afternoon, Bennett said.

Bennett also said he piled a hockey coach and his two children plus all their gear into his vehicle and gave them a ride to the Aspen Recreation Center for a tournament this morning.

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Burchetta recommended that drivers have adequate tires and an emergency kit with blankets, water and food in the car.

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