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Storm dumps on Aspen; schools closed

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Ten inches of fresh snow blanketed Aspen Mountain Friday morning, and Aspen schools are closed, thanks to a snowstorm that hit the mountains of western Colorado late Thursday.

The Aspen Skiing Co. reported 10 inches on Aspen Mountain by 7 a.m., 8 inches of new snow at Snowmass and Buttermilk, and 7 inches at Aspen Highlands.

Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs also reported 8 inches of new snow on Friday morning, but schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs are open as usual.



A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday, and heavy snow is expected during the day with total accumulations of 1 to 2 feet in the central mountains of Colorado, including the Elk range surrounding Aspen and Snowmass, according to the National Weather Service.

In the backcountry surrounding Aspen, the avalanche danger jumped from moderate on Thursday to considerable on Friday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.




“A rapid load of new snow overnight and some westerly winds that were strong enough to move snow and form slabs will make natural avalanche possible and human-triggered ones probable in the backcountry today,” the avalanche center warned in its Friday report for the Aspen zone.

Inbounds skiers, however, will find bountiful new snow at most ski areas around the state. Winter Park on the Front Range scored 15 inches over night, while Vail, Breckenridge and Ski Cooper near Leadville all reported 10 inches of new snow. Beaver Creek, Loveland and Keystone each picked up 8 inches; Steamboat, Crested Butte and Copper Mountain all reported 7 inches.

The resorts of southwest Colorado ” often the big winners when it comes to big dumps, have been shorted thusfar. Silverton Mountain reported 2 inches of new snow Friday morning, while Telluride picked up an inch and Wolf Creek reported no new snow.

Getting to the slopes along the Interstate 70 corridor may, however, prove difficult. Avalanche control work is forcing travel delays on I-70 at Vail Pass, and chain restrictions are in effect for commercial vehicles in both directions at the Eisenhower Tunnel and at Vail Pass, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Loveland Pass is closed because of adverse conditions.

Go to http://www.cotrip.org for updated, statewide road conditions.

Winter’s return may not be short-lived. According to the National Weather Service, another storm may bring widespread snow and rain to the area again Sunday and Monday.

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