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High Country Finally Gets Some Much-Needed Snow

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It was good news for ski resorts and snowplow businesses as Colorado’s high country finally got some much-needed snow Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Interstate 70 was a mess on Saturday night, but the Colorado Department of Transportation did a good job keeping at least one lane open. Outside of the clear lane there was about three to five inches of snow, which made for some treacherous traveling.

There were a lot of reports of accidents and vehicles sliding off the road, which was good news for tow truck drivers. But the snow was even better news for the ski resorts.

“We need the snow for the ski season, we need the snow for the tourism economy, and we need it for the water,” a skier said. “Denver needs the water and we need it over on the Western Slope, too.”

Officials at Loveland Ski Area said they were excited to see all the snow, especially since the season had started out so dismally.

“The quality of the skiing is much better. It’s like you’re skiing on natural instead of man-made,” a skier said. “It’s not nearly as icy, or should I say scratchy. It’s much better conditions.”

With just shy of a foot of new snow blanketing trees and mountains, many resorts proclaimed Sunday the first powder day of the season.

“This day is truly transformational for us. We had 11 new inches of snow overnight and it’s an instant powder day,” Jen Brown with Beaver Creek Resort said.

Beaver Creek opened eight more runs on Sunday, now with over 350 skiable acres. They also continue to make snow.

“Conditions are perfect for snow, so make fake snow if there’s no real snow,” snowboarder Todd MacInnis said.

It’s all about that foundation and base with the storm. Beaver Creek added more than half a mile of new piping that allowed them to not only open on time but host three World Cup races last weekend before the storm pattern shifted. Now they’re just looking to open more of the mountain terrain, and it looks like there’s still some snow in the forecast.

“Really, snowmaking connects the dots on our mountain and it provides a solid foundation to get us all the way to April,” Brown said.

Two accidents on Sunday forced the closure of I-70 on Vail Pass. An accident in the eastbound lanes closed the highway for about four hours around 11 a.m. Another accident happened in the westbound lanes around 11:30 a.m. near the west portal.

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