Storm hammers Western Slope |

Storm hammers Western Slope

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Sam Mills shovels snow in front of his residence on Main Street in New Castle after a storm dumped nearly a foot of powder Sunday morning.

Despite the bad roads, folks were happy to see the snow Sunday. For Sunlight Mountain Resort, which got about two feet, the storm meant a frenzy of work to ready the mountain for skiers. Opening day is still set for Friday, unless workers can ready the mountain for skiers before then.”After it dumps like this it takes about two days to make it ready with the snowcats and for safe conditions,” Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop retail sales clerk Melanie Langley said Sunday. “They’re working their butts off to get it open.” Langley said she’d received about 40 calls by Sunday afternoon from people asking if the ski area was open.

“The guys up there (at the ski area) said there was over two feet of snow” at the ski area that fell overnight, Langley said.A winter storm that began Saturday afternoon and tapered off Sunday blanketed western Colorado and eastern Utah. It dumped a foot and a half of snow in Glenwood Springs, weather observer Oscar McCollum said.McCollum is the Garfield County coordinator for the Community Collaborative Rain and Hail Study, a network of 900 volunteer weather observers across Colorado who measure rain, hail and snow and post their results every day to CSU’s Climate Center.He measured 12.5 inches Sunday.”It was a wet snow. I measured .82 inches of water in it. That’s pretty heavy snow,” he said.Glenwood Springs hasn’t seen that kind of accumulation in at least a year. “We got close to it last winter,” he said, but did not recall the exact amount.

McCollum for one was happy to see the white stuff.”I like the snow and I like to shovel.” He estimated he shoveled snow from about 100 feet of sidewalk in front of his house on the 2100 block of Blake Avenue Sunday.The storm caused some minor accidents on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. The canyon received between 12 and 14 inches, said maintenance technician Kevin Reynolds, who is stationed at the Hanging Lake Tunnels where a massive rockfall sent van-sized rocks through the highway decking and into the Colorado River. Two lanes, one eastbound and one westbound, were cleared and opened to traffic Friday afternoon. “This morning it was nasty. Traffic got kind of slow. There were accidents everywhere but no injuries,” Reynolds said Sunday afternoon. “Right now things are moving pretty well.”While the snow tapered off by mid-afternoon in Glenwood Springs, the National Weather Service which maintains an office at Walker Field in Grand Junction, predicted another two to three inches was overnight. A winter storm warning was in effect until 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time Sunday.

The Colorado Avalanche Center posted a high avalanche danger warning for all Colorado mountains on its Web site Sunday.Meanwhile, folks in Glenwood Springs thanked the snow gods for their bounty and looked forward to good skiing conditions for opening day at Sunlight.”We’re excited,” Langley said. “It’s going to be perfect. We needed this.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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