Snow Finally Hits Leadville High Country, Will It Stay?
The Colorado high country saw its first significant winter storm of the season, leaving behind enough measurable snow to allow nearby ski areas, job-seekers and businesses to draw a sigh of relief as the #SnowEquity arrives not a moment too soon.
The system was fast-moving, clearing out by midnight last night, leaving anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of accumulation around Lake County. Throughout the day yesterday, roads became slick and snow packed with reduced visibilities caused by blowing snow, leading to several crashes and highway closures on and off during the storm.
Late afternoon and into the night local road crews were out with the sander trucks, making sure that school areas and regular high traffic routes get the added help they need as temperatures in Lake County dipped into the teens overnight.
At about noon yesterday, November 17 there was a jack-knifed semi reported on Highway 91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain which had traffic at a near stand-still as both north and south bound lanes alternatively maneuvered around the wreck. The incident, which was posted by a Leadville Today reader and local commuter, occurred near the parking area where all the snowmobilers park off Highway 91. No injuries have been reported as of this posting.
Meanwhile on the southern end of the county, the ever-popular Independence Pass saw its last motorized traveler for 2016 yesterday. The state’s highest paved road across the Continental Divide closes to vehicle traffic during the winter months, and is not maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation. This season’s warmer fall temperatures allowed the high-mountain pass to remain open relatively late in the season. However, yesterday’s storm reportedly brought more than 5 inches in 24 hours to Indy Pass. The pass traditionally re-opens on the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend, which will make it May 25, 2017.
Sentiments regarding the first significant snow system Lake County has seen this season from nearby ski areas was a bit more enthusiastic:
“That’s what we like to see! Bring it on, Mother Nature!” posted Ski Cooper/ Chicago Ridge on its Facebook Page. The ski area relies on 100% natural snow to get its slopes open by Saturday, Dec. 10. Fortunately the extended forecast calls for a series of storms to move through the high elevations over the next week, leading up to Thanksgiving. As Cooper posted, “Hopefully they all deliver!”