Winter storm warning remains for Independence Pass; snow hits Aspen |

Winter storm warning remains for Independence Pass; snow hits Aspen

Heavy snow breaks branches around Aspen

Staff reports
A visitor stops atop Independence Pass on Sunday during the first big snowstorm to hit the area.
David Krause/The Aspen Times

The National Weather Service said early Monday morning that the winter storm warning remains in effect for the Elk Mountains and central mountain valleys for areas above 9,000 feet.

The warning is scheduled to last until midnight Monday, and the wet, heavy snow is making travel difficult over Independence Pass as well as other mountain areas in northern and central Colorado.

The storm is expected to drop 8 to 16 inches by the time it’s finished, including another 4 to 6 inches on Monday in the Elk and Gore mountains.

Snow levels dropped below 8,000 feet overnight as Aspen and the upper Roaring Fork Valley were hit with a blanket of heavy, wet snow from Sunday into Monday morning. There were numerous broken tree limbs around town Monday morning.

Snowmass Village officials said 6-8 inches of snow in the area snapped trees along many trails and paths.

Aspen Skiing Co. reported approximately a foot atop Aspen Mountain and 13 inches at the top of Elk Camp at Snowmass.

The National Weather Service says the storm will move out of the Aspen area overnight Monday, and Tuesday’s forecast is for mostly sunny skies with a high near 59 degrees. Highs in Aspen are expected to be in the low-60s all week and into the weekend, according to the weather service.

Flights scheduled to arrive at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport were delayed Monday morning because of the low clouds. A couple of flight have left the airport.


Independence Pass remained open over night and Monday morning. However, Vail Pass over I-70  was closed Sunday evening from Vail to Copper Mountain because of crashes and slide-offs and reopened about 6:15 a.m. Monday, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

The Eisenhower Tunnel also was closed temporarily Monday morning because of a power outage, but travel in both directions was restored at about 6:30 a.m.

Because of power outages, Summit County School District canceled classes on Monday. There were up to 45,000 homes in the mountain region with power, an Xcel spokesperson told The Summit Daily. Most were short, but as of 11 a.m. there were still more than 10,000 homes without power.

Those driving Monday in the high mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter driving conditions over mountain passes, the weather service warned Monday morning.