COLORADO – If you’re headed out to get some weekend skiing in, the weather is not going to make that an easy trip up or back in the high country.
The National Weather Service has a Winter Storm Warning in effect for the I-70 Mountain Corridor until 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Wind gusts of 60 mph and wind chills as low as 20 below zero are forecast for the corridor. Heavy snow is expected with accumulations of 10 to 18 inches.
Be prepared for chain and traction laws along I-70 and many of the mountain roads. Safety closures by CDOT are also possible. As of Saturday morning, you’ll find dry conditions between Golden and Idaho Springs, but the wind is howling. High profile vehicles need to show a lot of caution because of the winds.
You’ll find I-70 to be icy and snowpacked in some areas and slushy in others between Georgetown and Glenwood Springs. Commercial vehicles are required to chain up between the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels and Vail. The Passenger Vehicle Traction law is in effect between Bakerville and Vail. Passenger vehicles are required to have adequate snow tires, chains or an alternate traction device. If you have inadequate tires on your vehicle and you are involved in some type of incident, you can be fined anywhere from $150.00 to $650.00 dollars, depending on the severity of the incident.
U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass is completely closed both eastbound and westbound due to adverse weather conditions. Because of that closure, officials at the tunnels will close down access to the lanes for regular vehicles near the top of every hour in order to escort trucks that carry hazardous loads through the tunnels. You can expect delays for the process.
A popular route to bypass the I-70 mountain corridor traffic is to use Highway 285. The highway is very icy in spots, especially over Kenosha Pass and in the Fairplay area. Once you reach Fairplay and get onto Highway 9 to head into Breckenridge, it will become icy and snowpacked. Commercial vehicles are required to chain up over Hoosier Pass. Keep in mind that while this route is a good way to escape using I-70, Hoosier Pass can be downright rough in bad weather because of its hairpin curves. It is not the perfect drive for inexperienced winter drivers.
If you plan on working your way to or from Winter Park Resort off of U.S. 40, the highway is icy and snowpacked with high winds. The winds may be the worst if you’re traveling over Rabbit Ears Pass.
Make sure to have your vehicle ready for an emergency and make sure you have a winter emergency kit on the trip with you.
For statewide road conditions from CDOT: CLICK HERE