Storm pleases skiers; avalanche closes I-70 |

Storm pleases skiers; avalanche closes I-70

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Locals woke up to a winter wonderland Saturday morning as a major storm dumped up to two feet of snow regionally, sending powder hounds into euphoria and triggering an avalanche onto Interstate 70 on Vail Pass.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for most of Colorado, including the Post Independent reading area of Rifle, New Castle, Silt, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.

Cold weather, high winds and occasional snow showers are expected to continue through the coming week.

At about 11:30 a.m., an avalanche on Vail Pass covered I-70 with about six feet of snow, shutting down the westbound lanes of the highway. No one was believed to be caught in the slide, which occurred about four miles from the top of the 10,600-foot pass, the state transportation department said.

Workers were plowing the road and were planning to trigger more slides before reopening westbound I-70. Traffic was rerouted over Fremont Pass until the highway was reopened slightly before 3:30 p.m.

In Glenwood Springs, the winter storm warning was expected to continue through 11 p.m. Saturday night.

At the Amtrak train station in Glenwood Springs, Saturday’s eastbound train, due at 12:52 p.m., was eight hours late because of heavy snows on Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe in California.

Because a severe weather alert delayed flights at Pitkin County airport, Colorado Mountain Express van shuttles were booked to capacity on Saturday with travelers trying to make connections at Denver International Airport.

It was an epic day at Sunlight, with skiers and riders reporting thigh-high snow ” and up to 24 inches of fresh powder.

In Glenwood Canyon, Frank Breece of the Colorado Department of Transportation said no accidents occurred Saturday through the worst of the storm, though there were a few “bumps and spin-outs. But once we got to the accident site, we didn’t find anything,” he said, explaining that drivers were able to dig out and continue on.

“People are driving pretty slowly through the canyon today,” he said. “Finally.”

” The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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