More snow, wind hits Aspen |

More snow, wind hits Aspen

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Mark Borderick/Special to the Aspen Times Aspen Skiing Co. instructors practice their synchronized skiing techniques Sunday on Aspen Mountain in preparation for the world competition, which will be held in Aspen next week. Team members are Phil Le Roux, Trent Jones, Tito Franco, Nicolas Hill, Kenny Spain, Shane Burdett, Mathew Wylie, Paul Speedy, Brian Bruce and coach Michael Farmer.

ASPEN ” A winter advisory remains in effect for the central mountains of Colorado Monday, including the Aspen area. Eight to 14 inches of new snow are possible by evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowmass was already reporting 8 inches of new snow Monday morning, Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk picked up 5 inches and Aspen Highlands got three. Steamboat in northern Colorado was the big winner among the state’s ski resorts ” and the only one to beat out Snowmass ” reporting 15 inches of freshies early Monday.

The winter advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Snow had stopped falling in Aspen by daybreak, but the weather service was calling for more snow ” heavy at times ” during the day, with northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph and gusting up to 30 mph, producing areas of blowing and drifting snow, mainly over exposed terrain.

Avalanche danger in the Aspen zone was rated considerable on Monday by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. “Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered ones probable,” the CAIC said.

On the Front Range, the latest snowstorm set off traffic pileups and fatalities around Denver.

The storm was blamed for an 18-vehicle pileup Monday morning on eastbound Interstate 76, about 30 miles northeast of Denver. Weather caused another pileup on westbound Interstate 70 about 40 miles east of Denver, closing about 4 miles of that interstate.

The Colorado State Patrol said the morning snowstorm was responsible for at least three traffic fatalities in three separate crashes caused by drivers losing control on ice-slick roads. All three happened on state roads in suburban Denver during the morning commute.

The latest in a series of winter storms to hit Colorado as March draws to a close was ushered in by strong winds Sunday that wrecked havoc with air travel and chairlift operations in Aspen.

The Silver Queen Gondola and the Bell Mountain chairlift on Aspen Mountain were shut down for the day Sunday at 10 a.m., said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle. Skiers and boarders were forced to load on the Little Nell chair to access Lift 1A and the Ruthie’s chair.

The Sheer Bliss and High Alpine chairs at Snowmass were closed until 2 p.m. The Cirque lift never opened.

At Highlands, the Loge and Cloud Nine lifts were closed from 9:30 a.m. to 10:40 a.m., Hanle said.

After that, the chairs ran slowly the rest of the day.

The wind also forced operators shut down the Tiehack chairs at Buttermilk.

More than two dozen flights in and out of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport were affected by winds Sunday, said airport Director Jim Elwood.

Flights outbound were canceled and delayed, and some incoming flights were either canceled or diverted to Grand Junction. Passengers were then bused to Aspen.

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