Skids deter skiers | PostIndependent.com
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Skids deter skiers

A brief but ill-timed snowstorm Thursday morning made for an icy road that turned away a couple hundred people from Sunlight Mountain Resort.The incident occurred during what traditionally is Sunlight’s busiest week of the year.It took others two hours to get up Four-Mile Road to the ski resort during the traffic tie-up, said Sunlight general manager Tom Jankovsky.About 10 vehicles spun out on Four-Mile during the morning, and a few ended up on the side of the road, said Bobby Branham, a foreman for the Garfield County Road and Bridge Department. Fortunately, no accidents occurred, he said.The road was cleared of ice and snow down to pavement by afternoon, Jankovsky said.The morning’s problems began in the dip in the road by the Bershenyi Ranch and later occurred farther up the road by the Four Mile Creek Bed & Breakfast, he said.Jankovsky said the fast-moving storm apparently resulted in more snow toward Glenwood Springs than at the resort, which got about three inches from the storm.Said Branham, “It started out as a freezing rain and then it changed to snow. It just turned the whole road into a sheet of ice.”The county already had a snowplow working Four-Mile Road before conditions turned bad. A second plow and a grader then were dispatched to the road, but they were blocked temporarily by the traffic snarl.Jankovsky said some cars had to go into ditches to get past the tie-ups.He said some people gave up on going to the resort and returned to Sunlight’s store in town to turn in their rental equipment.Sunlight generally gets about 1,500 skiers and snowboarders per day during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, as both tourists and locals take advantage of time off from work and school. That’s about five times as many people as on a normal weekday, Jankovsky said.He said the resort probably ended up with about 1,100 or 1,200 skiers and snowboarders Thursday.”It really slowed down our business today. … It was just one of those days,” he said.He said Sunlight tends to get a late-morning snowstorm once or twice a year that hinders access to the resort during one of its busy periods.But he’s careful not to complain.”I never want to curse the snow,” he said.In fact, Sunlight has had a strong start to its season weatherwise, with decent snow conditions since its opening day.”The mountain is fabulous for this time of year,” Jankovsky said.Also Friday morning, a woman rear-ended a city snowplow and took out its sanding unit on Seventh Street near the municipal parking lot, Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said.He didn’t have information on her name or the charges against her immediately available, but said she had no proof of insurance. She also did significant damage to her car, Wilson said.Glenwood police also dealt with a duo of Grand Avenue accidents that slowed traffic during rush hour on Wednesday night.Wilson said one occurred when Shaun Lester, 19, of New Castle made an unsafe lane change while heading north on the Grand Avenue Bridge.”He just tried to wedge himself in where there wasn’t room,” Wilson said.Lester also allegedly was driving under the influence. He was cited for DUI, DUI per se and possession of alcohol by a minor.Shortly after that accident, a RFTA bus and another vehicle were involved in a collision at 10th and Grand. Wilson said that wreck apparently was minor, and police asked the parties involved to make reports later because they were too busy dealing with the first accident.”It was just like mayhem trying to get things out of the road and trying to get traffic moving,” Wilson said.Contact Dennis Webb: 9450-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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