Loveland open in spite of power problems
LOVELAND SKI AREA – Record snowfall caused several problems for Loveland Ski Area, but officials said Tuesday the axiom about “too much of a good thing” just doesn’t apply.
The ski area shut down Sunday after an avalanche near Silver Plume took out a power line and a cellular phone tower. Marketing manager Ainsley Kasten said the outages presented safety issues that forced Loveland to close for the day.
Skiers and boarders weren’t able to reach Loveland on Wednesday or Thursday last week when the snowstorm shut down Interstate 70. About 13 employees were marooned at the ski area, sleeping in sick bay cots and fixing their meals in the cafeteria kitchen.
Loveland accumulated 82 inches of snow during the midweek storm. Friday morning saw another 9 inches of fresh, and the ski area reported five more inches Tuesday morning.
Kasten said ski area staff members have been working with cel Energy crews to restore power. The Ridge, the area above the Eisenhower Tunnel on the Continental Divide, remains closed as ski patrollers continue avalanche assessment and blasting. Kasten said she wasn’t sure when the terrain would open.
On Tuesday, generators provided power for the five of 11 lifts that were open at Loveland. Cellular service was still out, Kasten said, and the cafeteria was open but serving limited food options.
“Was this too much of a good thing? No way,” Kasten said. “We’ll take a bump in the road.”
Loveland missed out on a large number of spring break visitors, but skier numbers were above-average when the ski area opened on Friday and Saturday, Kasten said.
Breckenridge Ski Resort – and the town – also lost power for about an hour Saturday. cel Energy spokesman Mark Stutz said the outage was the result of equipment failure that could have been related to snowfall.
Stutz said the heavy snowfall has cel crews in a wait-and-see mode. The company hired a helicopter to fly above power lines and check for avalanches, but there’s not much that can be done for transmission centers in danger.
“Until the time comes that you have one or it melts, there’s not much we can do,” Stutz said. “We can’t move it or blast it. We can only monitor it and plan ways to reroute the power.”
Stutz compared the situation to last summer’s wildfires, which caused outages in several areas around the state. He said remote areas are the most difficult to handle because there are fewer options for rerouting power.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or email@example.com.
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