Locals enjoy fantastic ski conditions, little traffic
April 18, 2009
Skiers and riders with access to Summit County had extra time to make fresh tracks in some gnarly powder Saturday morning, as closure of Interstate 70 postponed visitors from the Front Range.
A heavy storm system dumped between 16 and 32 inches on local ski resorts over the past few days, creating fantastic conditions on some resorts’ closing weekend.
Steve O’Donnell, who lives in Boulder but has a residence in Leadville, enjoyed eggrolls at Copper Mountain Resort’s base area after skiing powder on Saturday.
“For this time of year, it’s awesome,” he said. “I’m sure there would have been many more people (if the highway hadn’t closed).”
Westbound I-70 re-opened at about 9:40 a.m.
O’Donnell said he suspected many people wouldn’t bother driving up after 10 a.m. By noon, people were filling the shuttle buses from the Alpine parking lots to the Copper Mountain base area, but the lift lines remained relatively short.
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However, by afternoon there were thousands of people at Burning Stone Plaza attending the festivities.
Bear Viek, of Steamboat Springs, said the conditions at Copper Mountain were “probably the best” he’d seen on the mountain all year.
“This is one of the first times it’s easier to get here from Steamboat than from Denver,” he said. “Today’s been good.”
Snowblade Cross events for the ski area’s Red Bull 1976 Games were postponed to allow extra time for highway travelers. A concert in Breckenridge was delayed as well.
At Vail Resort, the World Pond Skimming Championships were rescheduled to Sunday.
The closure of 80-miles of I-70, from Vail to Golden, stranded hundreds of travelers in Vail, where an emergency shelter was opened in town hall.
Although the slopes of Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Vail ski areas will close for the season today, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas remain open.
Robert Allen can be contacted
at (970) 668-4628 or