Snow sweeps into Aspen, western Colorado |

Snow sweeps into Aspen, western Colorado

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Days with 8 inches of new snow in the morning snow report have been few and far between of late in Aspen and Snowmass, and an eager crowd gathered at the Aspen Mountain gondola on Saturday morning.

It wasn’t the lightest powder locals had ever seen, but it was powder.

If the forecast holds true, Aspen skiers and riders will find more freshies on Sunday. A winter storm warning remains in effect for the surrounding mountains until 6 a.m. Sunday and the National Weather Service is calling for 3 to 5 inches of snow Saturday night and another 2 to 4 inches on Sunday. A 30 percent chance for snow remains in Aspen’s forecast on Monday.

Most of western Colorado was under a winter storm warning on Saturday and Colorado ski resorts were blessed with varying amounts of snow as the weekend storm swept in on Friday. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass both reported 8 inches early Saturday, while Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands had 7 inches. Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs also reported 8 inches.

As usual this winter, the resorts of southwest Colorado enjoyed boasting rights to some of the biggest bounties – Silverton Mountain had 23 inches and Telluride reported 13 inches on Saturday morning. Wolf Creek reported 10 inches and Durango/Purgatory had 8.

Also scoring copious snowfall were Powderhorn with a foot of new snow and Crested Butte with 15 inches. Vail reported 6 inches, as did Beaver Creek. Loveland had 4 inches and Steamboat picked up 3 inches.

The snow meant dicey driving conditions Saturday across much of western Colorado, along with increasing avalanche danger. Natural and triggered slides are likely on all aspects near and above treeline in the Aspen zone, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Below treeline, the danger is considerable.

“Anticipate increasing avalanche danger throughout this weekend and the potential for large and destructive avalanches on many aspects as the snowfall totals increase,” the CAIC report said in its report for the Aspen zone.

Forecasters say up to 3 feet of snow could fall on mountain passes in the San Juan range of southwestern Colorado before it’s all over.

U.S. 550 over Red Mountain Pass north of Silverton has been closed, and chains are required on other southwest Colorado highways.

An avalanche closed heavily traveled Interstate 70 over Vail Pass for about seven hours early Saturday. The highway reopened at about 8:30 a.m.

A jack-knifed semi tractor-trailer closed eastbound I-70 in Glenwood Canyon shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday. The lanes were reopened at about 4 a.m. and no injuries were reported.

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