What’s open and closed: Extreme avalanche danger forces road closures

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 06:22:16-05

SUMMIT COUNTY – Following more than a foot of fresh snow overnight Wednesday into Thursday, numerous mountain passes are closed or will be closed to perform avalanche mitigation.

The following list of mountain passes and roads are closed due to avalanche mitigation or snow-related issues:

UPDATED at 4:22 a.m. on Friday.

I-70: I-70 is back OPEN in both directions between Denver and Utah. The chain law is in effect for commercial vehicles and the passenger traction law is in place for everyone else on Vail Pass.

Vail Pass was closed Thursday morning after a slide covered the road about 9 miles west of Copper Mountain.

U.S. 91 – OPEN: As of 8:15 p.m., Fremont Pass is once again open between Copper Mountain and Leadville. There are Chain restrictions in place for commercial vehicles and the passenger traction law is in effect for passenger vehicles.

US 24 from Leadville to Minturn – OPEN: Highway 24 was closed between Leadville to I-70 and the Eagle/Vail area due to avalanche dangers Thursday morning. The Leadville area received upwards of 19 inches of snow.

U.S. 50 Monarch Pass – OPEN: CDOT has reopened Highway 50 following avalanche mitigation efforts Thursday night. Passenger vehicle traction laws are in effect for the highway, but it is open as of 4:17 a.m. Thursday.

U.S. 6 Loveland Pass – CLOSED: CDOT has closed Loveland Pass Thursday due to avalanche danger. The closure extends from Loveland Ski Area past Arapahoe Basin. It’s not clear yet whether A-Basin will reopen Friday.

U.S. 550 Red Mountain Pass – CLOSED: Red Mountain Pass has been closed for days due to multiple snow slides as deep as 40-feet covering the road. Colorado State Patrol in Durango tweeted that the closure will likely last through the weekend.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) – Since February 27th, there have been 302 documented avalanches throughout Colorado. Of those avalanches, 209 were large enough to bury, injure, or kill a person. March 7th, is the first time that four backcountry zones have gone to EXTREME (5 of 5) Avalanche Danger since the ten-zone forecast format began. Backcountry avalanche conditions are extremely dangerous and we have seen historic avalanches run in many different zones.