You can’t compete with Mother Nature and CDOT even with a very early start Saturday February 17 with aCopperMountaindestination in mind. Eisenhower tunnel was closed due to avalanche control blasting away with CDOT plowing the subsequent sliding snow. We found ourselves stopped just 7 miles shy of Loveland Ski area waiting for an hour while watching folks walking dogs and guys sprinkling yellow sunshine off the side of the road. With already closedLovelandpass and Berthoud pass closed due to snow the day prior, the I-70 Westbound lanes were being closed back down at Floyd Hill by8:45 AM. It was a mess. To make matters worse, the anxiety of missing upwards a foot and a half of fresh snow over an already growing base from preceding snowstorms had everyone testy.
Finally with traffic making a lunge forward at about9:00 AM, Mrs. Don and I decided to drive intoLovelandrather than make the trip through the tunnel for Copper. Glad we did. Skiing by9:30and finishing at4:00 PMwe enjoyed bright sun all day and dealt with the growing winds over on lifts 4 and 8 by afternoon. Lift 9 and the ridge never opened. High of 24 degrees. Snowfall: 24hrs_14 inches 48hrs_17 inches 72hrs;_21 inches. 68 inch base.
We leftLovelandat 4:PM and made it back to I-70 and C470 interchange in 40 minutes. Of course the slow and jammed East bound 70 folks watched us fly down as they were still heading uphill for the Presidents Day weekend. That had to be painful for them both the congestion and thoughts of missing first powder tracks.
It is hard to pick out with our low res snow camera but if you’ll look closely from left to right near the top of this picture of “tunnel face” you should make out the enormous snow break amongst the pines started by a guy riding out of bounds. We stopped with some others and took this picture minutes after. Unfortunately you can’t see his single point of entry to the long line break but it was amazingly apparent in person. The avalanche brought him down quickly and he was taken by a flight for life heli at about11:45 AMto the hospital. You may also make out the group of patrollers near the corner of the Eisenhower tunnel entrance in the left foreground as they prepared the guy for exit. Our patrolman friend told us over lunch the guy look bad. This incident was reported in the news but with no further comment regarding his condition given.
We need a drooling emoticon for pictures like this --->
Looks like an awesome day! If I had stayed injury-free, this was going to be my last weekend of skiing this season. Glad you got to enjoy it. Sounded like it was big cluster*$#@ this weekend with all the weather, traffic, avalanches, and road closures.
Faisasy, KevinF; here is an example picture of sheer joy on a face skiing atLoveland. Like a kid running down to the Christmas tree and yet Mrs. Don calls to me to stop and pose. In this case, we are heading to the just opened fresh powder serviced by Lift 4 (a little further behind lift 6 in the background). Next shot Mrs. Don is finishing our last run off of Lift 1 service before we head over to 4. This shot defines “skied over” powder by10:45 AM. Glenn; we will be calling you...
Great shots Don. Glad you guys made it up safe and were able to enjoy the day some. Like Faisal said, it sounded like it was truly FUBAR with the fresh snow and all the road closures. You guys sure made the best of it it seems.