CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) – While many lower elevations in southern Colorado have received little to no snow this season, mountainous areas are receiving enough to produce dozens of avalanches.
Early on Christmas Eve morning, an avalanche on the east side of Monarch Pass near Monarch Mountain Ski Resort forced US 50 to close for two hours as crews scrambled to clear snow Highway.
The incident led the Colorado Department of Transportation, on the recommendation of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, to carry out avalanche prevention work in the pass early Tuesday morning.
Mitigation work closed the pass for about three hours, as CDOT used equipment to knock down snow accumulations and remove them from the highway.
Both snow events occurred early in the morning to avoid impacts on traffic, and there were no injuries or damage to the vehicles.
The CDOT often uses explosives to prevent avalanches along highways, but is in its second year of using new technology that allows the agency to cut down snow accumulations in remote locations.
Authorities expect more snow and avalanche warnings in the pass for the New Years weekend, so it is important for travelers to stay on top of the weather forecast and be alert to changing conditions.