I-70 Savior – Loveland saves the day 1/18/11

The (patient) powder hounds reap their rewards

Any skier who has spent a  winter in the Denver/Boulder area is almost certain to have has an I-70 horror story. For a front range skier there’s no escaping the terrain trap that is the main thoroughfare through the mountains. When I woke up Tuesday morning to find out that Vail had called 16″ and Breckenridge 26″ (roll eyes here) my first thought as always was “time to get moving”. My second unfortunately was “better check on I-70” and sure enough it was closed. I had planned to go to Vail with everyone’s favorite forecaster Joel Gratz who immediately suggested we leave right away and take 285 to get around the closure but this had the potential of breaking my hard and fast rule that I must spend more time on the hill then in the car on any given ski day.

Does this look familiar - I-70 Georgetown exit

Since only a relatively small portion of the road was closed (Georgetown to Silverthorne) we decided to take a chance and head up hoping the road would open by the time we got there. No such luck however, so we sat in the car for two hours searching the web in a futile attempt to get some info all the while being greatly entertained by the CDOT phone road report which told us that the road was closed so we “should plan accordingly” without giving us any indication of why it was closed or when by chance it might reopen.  Just as we were about to give up and head home the road reopened and now our only option for first tracks was Loveland.

Who needs a queue when there's powder to be had

We certainly weren’t the only ones whose plans had changed to Loveland but news of the road closure had discouraged a lot of folks so while they were quite a few powder hounds out, there was plenty to go around. Loveland had also called 16″ but with the high winds the day before (a 100 mph gust was recorded the previous morning)  I assumed the snow would either be in Kansas or heavily wind packed so was very pleasantly surprised to find a legitimate foot plus of high quality Colorado snow. In the last year, Loveland has opened almost the entire East Wall you see above the tunnel which has steeps, cliffs and lovely glades so we spent most of the day there getting fresh tracks and face shots as evidenced by the video below.

Loveland Powder Day

The Loveland ski patrol did a hell of a job getting things open considering they were also stuck in traffic and opened all of the ridge by mid day. There was quite a crowd hiking up the hill and they were all rewarded for their efforts. They say good things come to those who wait and on this day that was certainly the case…

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