Skiers' rush to reach new snow at Colorado ski resorts is slow going along Interstate 70

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DENVER — A Pacific storm system brought heavy snow to Colorado ski resorts, but so many people tried to take advantage of the fresh powder Monday that they had a hard time getting to the slopes via Interstate 70.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said it was taking some drivers about 90 minutes to go about 15 miles from Empire to the Eisenhower Tunnel because of the volume of traffic on I-70 and the closure of U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass due to avalanche danger.

At one point, CDOT video showed a person cross-country skiing past stopped cars near the Loveland Ski Area.

To the west, avalanche control work at Vail Pass also delayed traffic temporarily.

The storm, fueled by moisture from the Pacific Northwest, moved in Sunday morning, and by mid-Monday the Arapahoe Basin ski resort reported 22 inches of new snow while Copper Mountain said it had received 21 inches in time for the busy Christmas weekend.

The snow was accompanied by wind gusts of more than 75 mph at some higher elevations, which has raised the danger of avalanches in the northern and central mountains.

There was a blizzard warning in southwestern Colorado, where strong winds downed trees and knocked out power lines on Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton, temporarily closing the road.

Snowfall was expected to be lighter along the Front Range and on the Eastern Plains, but the eastern half of the state could get wind gusts up to around 60 mph into Tuesday.

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