Vail Pass closures: 17 this winter |

Vail Pass closures: 17 this winter

Steve Lynn
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lead parking supervisor Marion Little tries to get drivers to park for free in the Vail parking structure when Interstate 70 closed Thursday. Vail Pass closed for about three hours after five accidents and poor weather. (Dominique Taylor/Vail Daily)

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. ” Several accidents and poor road conditions Thursday on Interstate 70 led authorities to close Vail Pass for the 17th time since Nov. 1, authorities said.

Vail Pass was closed three times during the same period last winter.

The combination of heavy snowfall this year, people driving too fast and truckers still refusing to follow the chain law have caused most of the closures, Vail Police Commander Susan Douglas said.

No injuries were reported in the five accidents that occurred in both directions of Vail Pass Thursday, authorities said, but the three-hour closure left plenty of people temporarily stranded. Accidents also closed U.S. Highway 24 for about an hour.

Mike Moore, of Denver, works construction in Vail and like many other drivers, he was waiting in his truck in the Ford Park parking lot in East Vail until he could drive home.

“I don’t know if there’s anything to do” in Vail, Moore said. “I’m just hanging out.”

This isn’t the first time he has been stranded in Vail this winter, he said, and he attributes the closures to people driving too fast.

“People need to slow down,” he said.

Authorities have closed Vail Pass overnight twice this winter due to heavy winds, blowing snow and accidents.

But lately, people think they can drive faster when they see slush on the interstate through the town of Vail, Douglas said. When they reach Vail Pass, people may not realize temperatures are lower and the interstate gets icier, she said.

Bernie Reynoso was working on his computer in his car to pass time Thursday night before he could drive home to Frisco.

“It’s winter and we live in Colorado, so what can you do?” he said.

Avon resident Russ McKelvey sympathized with travelers, but the snow on Vail Mountain has been incredible this year compared to last year, he said.

“You never get tired of the powder days,” he said.


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