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It’s dumping big time at Vail on MLK Day: 24 inches in the last two days, 3 feet in the last week.
But that’s literally wreaking havoc on local roads. As I write this at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Vail Pass is closed indefinitely for avalanche mitigation. Highway 6 and 24 through Minturn was shut down by a slide. And Berthoud Pass between Denver and Winter Park was closed overnight due to slide danger. All of this is subject to ongoing change, so check out the Colorado Department of Transportation website.
And if the slide danger is this high on the roads, the backcountry is going to be beyond sketchy, which translates to deadly. Go to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website for the latest.
Skiing Vail on Sunday was interesting to say the least (and amazing in terms of deep, untrammeled powder turns on runs like Wow, Head Wall and Genghis Khan). Blue Sky Basin was closed all day (I guess for avy mitigation), Chair 21 in China Bowl shut down due to a mechanical, and therefore Tea Cup lift was the only way out of the far back side.
The powers that be at Vail, allegedly to avoid another snow-pocalypse social media bomb of photos showing massive holiday lift lines, briefly shut down Sun Up and Sun Down bowls. It just took us one lap on Chair 7 in Game Creek before they reopened, but still, closing down the Legendary Back Bowls during an epic snow cycle … for reasons other than snow safety? That has to be a first.
I have to admit, though, it worked. Like the Eisenhower Tunnel, I guess, when they do safety delays to avoid people idling in the tunnel, the back side then was basically lift-line free until that Chair 21 mechanical. I haven’t hit the hill yet on Monday, but I hear even lower lifts like Centennial at Beaver Creek are shuttered due to high winds.
Crazy to go from below average snow of around 100 inches on the season to more than 150 inches for the season in just a little over a week.
And forecasters are calling for more snow later this week.
“We have measured 1-3 FEET of snow from Saturday night to Monday morning,” Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote Monday morning. “Sunday was a deep powder day, and there will be more snow on Monday before this storm moves away from Colorado. Tuesday will be dry and partly sunny, then the next storm should bring 2-12 inches to the northern mountains from Wednesday to Thursday. After that, our next chance for snow will be around January 21-24.”