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Not so fast, please

Aspen, CO Colorado

Sorry to state the obvious, but here are a few things every Roaring Fork Valley resident should know. These are rules of local life:

1. The cost of living here is out of sight, but so is the lifestyle.

2. Snow falls in the winter, and generally melts off in the spring.

3. Winter driving is dangerous, and sometimes deadly.

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Back in the day, before Highway 82 had four lanes from Glenwood to Buttermilk, our valley’s main thoroughfare was known as “Killer 82.” It remains a perilous stretch, even after all the improvements ” especially when winter serves up the kind of snowstorms and freeze-thaw cycles that we’ve seen lately.

Especially in Snowmass Canyon, where the highway remains in shade for most of the day, this is a risky time of year.

Still, drivers continue to speed, tailgate, weave and generally drive like reckless fools every day on 82, especially during the morning and evening commutes.

What, we ask, are they smoking, drinking or thinking? As any local knows, the few minutes saved by racing up or down 82 at high speed are usually canceled by a stoplight later in the trip. And even if one is lucky enough to coincide with all the green lights, there is still the extraordinary risk of an accident, particularly in the icy, snow-packed conditions we’ve had lately.

Several times a week, it seems, the same curve in westbound Snowmass Canyon claims another unsuspecting speeder, who slides on the black ice and spins across both lanes or bounces off a concrete barrier on either side. Often the first wreck leads to more, when following drivers are forced to hit their brakes on the slick surface.

We would expect this kind of driving from Florida tourists unaccustomed to winter conditions in the mountains. But most of the offenders we’ve seen are locals, on their way to or from work, often with the names and logos of local businesses on the door.

Please, folks. Remember what they taught you in your teens about defensive driving, and abide it. It’s a rule of local life, or should be.


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