Snow snafu stymies mountain travel on I-70

By Troy Hooper
Real VailNovember 16, 2010
SILVERTHORNE – Like a lot of motorists tonight, a Vail resident slogged his way through the snow drifts obstructing the parking lot at the Luxury Inn & Suites. He walked into the lobby and plopped down his credit card.

“There's no way I'm getting home tonight,” he said.

The front desk clerk informed him rooms were selling fast and only a handful were left. A few minutes later, a "No Vacancy" sign was posted on the Luxury Inn & Suites front window.

No vacancy signs are all the rage here this evening as motorists seek shelter from a brutal blizzard that paralyzed Interstate 70 in both directions between Vail and Idaho Springs.

Swirling snow, sketchy roads and limited visibility added up to dreadful driving conditions for throngs of travelers who were forced to pull over and recalculate their plans when the interstate shut down.

Authorities are asking residents to refrain from driving unless absolutely necessary due to the poor visibility and heavy snow raining down throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Basalt resident Kale LaCroux planned to wheel down to the Front Range tonight so he could catch a flight tomorrow from Denver to Clearwater, Fla., where he is getting married this weekend. But he's stuck in his Willits home.

“Even the best laid plans can't compete with the force of Mother Nature and the unpredictability of Colorado's mountain weather,” said LaCroux. “As if I didn't have enough to worry about this week of my wedding, now I have to wait out the winter storm and CDOT's ability to make I-70 passable yet again, so I can (hopefully) get to the airport on time. And to think that I woke up today with thoughts that revolved around making sure everything is in place for our perfect wedding, then making sure everything else in my life and at work was appropriately sorted so that I could leave town with a clear conscience and focus to enjoy our perfect wedding and honeymoon. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, she struck again, once again leaving me stranded here waiting, worrying, wondering, and feeling like Florida is even that much farther away from me and my beautiful bride to be. But in the words of a wise man, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and if it doesn't, then hopefully you learn next time not to count on travel plans in snowy Colorado! Your groom might be delayed, but come hell or blowing snow I'm on my way honey!"

He'll have to wake up early but there's a chance LaCroux might make his scheduled 12:50 p.m. flight on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in the area until 6 a.m. tomorrow.

In addition to the Interstate 70 closure from Vail to Idaho Springs that has stopped commuters from passing through the heavily traveled Eisenhower and Johnson memorial tunnels, U.S. 40 at Berthoud Pass, U.S. 6 at Loveland Pass, U.S. 40 east between Kremling and Steamboat Springs, southbound Highway 91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain and a section of U.S. 297 that links Colorado and Wyoming are also off limits.


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