Snow entangles drivers all over Western Slope |

Snow entangles drivers all over Western Slope

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A full weekend of winter weather ushered in a new ski season, along with some harsh driving conditions.

Around 7 p.m. Sunday, drivers from Basalt to New Castle were reporting white-out conditions that resulted in vehicles swerving between lanes and motorists resorting to hazard lights for guidance, police said. At 7:45 p.m., emergency crews responded to a rollover accident at Highway 82 near Basalt.

Deputy Mario Strobl of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that two days of heavy snowfall and unprepared motorists led to dangerous driving conditions.

“Hopefully, they’re all getting their snow tires at Big O,” he said, noting that a line had formed at the tire store earlier this weekend.

Officer John Goodman of the Snowmass Village Police Department reported three accidents over the weekend, including two rollovers that occurred Sunday along Brush Creek Road. He blamed the wrecks, which didn’t result in any serious injuries, on a combination of icy conditions and the excitement of a new ski season in Snowmass.

“People are beginning to get reacclimated to driving in winter conditions,” he said. “Every year, it’s a learning curve.”

A host of valley law enforcement agencies stepped up patrols of high-traffic areas such as Snowmass Canyon on Sunday as the evening’s weather worsened. In Aspen, police helped stranded motorists ? including a RFTA bus having trouble along the Hunter Creek route ? as snowfall picked up for a third evening in a row.

Elsewhere around the state, snow, wind and ice touched off dozens of traffic accidents on Interstate 70 throughout Summit County Saturday as western Colorado braced for even more snow from a Pacific-fueled storm system.

No serious injures were reported.

Colorado State Patrol trooper Rob Marone said more than 60 accidents were reported along I-70 in the central mountains from about 6:30 a.m. through the afternoon.

??There?s blowing snow. There are blizzard-like conditions and it?s real icy,?? Marone said.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Paul Peterson said the traffic was flowing by late afternoon and the snow was slowing. But eastbound I-70 was closed at Vail in the evening to clean up an accident.

Loveland Pass on U.S. 6 was shut for avalanche control.

U.S. 40 near Steamboat Springs in north-central Colorado was icy and snowpacked, Peterson said. Monarch Pass on U.S. 50 west of Salida was closed because of bad weather.

[The Associated Press contributed to this report.]

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