“You may want to call in sick and ride blue-bird powder for a few days prior to the apocalypse … ” ~Colorado Avalanche Information Center
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Dreams of a white Christmas will come true for residents of the Colorado high country, as a series of winter storms will potentially drop up to several feet of snow across most of the state’s mountains in the days leading up to Santa’s arrival.
Most of the mountain areas are under winter storm warnings, watches and advisories for the early part of the week, as the wintry weather is expected to culminate with a strong system moving through the area Tuesday night that could deliver some “eye-popping” snowfall rates, according to the National Weather Service, which may soon be issuing blizzard warnings in some mountain zones.
Great ski conditions, highway closures and backcountry avalanche warning
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Heavy snow and wind gusts up to 99 mph at Loveland Pass combined to deliver a major winter storm to Colorado’s north-central mountains, with some ski areas reporting up to 2 feet of snow. But those same conditions combined to close roads throughout the region, leaving some people snowed in at resorts while the Colorado Department of transportation does avalanche control work at places like Loveland Pass and around the Eisenhower Tunnel along I-70.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning (Jan. 18). I-70 was closed between Silverthorne and Georgetown, and Loveland and Berthoud passes also remained closed. A backcountry avalanche warning for the mountains extending from Vail through Summit County and the Front Range was extended through Wednesday morning.
Backcountry travel is not recommended in slide-prone terrain, where both natural and triggered slides are likely. The high winds and intense snowfall could result in a natural avalanche cycle, including large and destructive slides in some areas.
Snowfall is expected to ease off Tuesday afternoon, which should give highway crews a chance to catch up, but more snow is in the forecast for the area late Tuesday night through Wednesday. Snow will spread across the area Tuesday night and intensify as a cold front cross the area early Wednesday morning, followed by a trough of low pressure Wednesday afternoon that should keep snowfall going. Altogether, another 6 to 10 inches of snow could fall by Wednesday night.