“A great shout out to the Colorado Department of Transportation because they’ve got it dialed in. They know how to move things through. And it was really kind of interesting to watch that part, especially as an out-of-stater looking at how the Department of Transportation actually operates.” –Sam Staley
A pair of ski buddies on their way to Winter Park got a bit delayed from their day on the slopes yesterday as an avalanche swept down Berthoud Pass covering both lanes of US 40.
Denver 7 reports Sam Staley and Don Gallo were cruising down the highway when the spotted a “puff of white” near the trees on the slope. As the avalanche came tumbling down the slope they slowed the car and threw on the hazard lights before coming to a stop about 100 feet away from the slide path.
“If we had been closer to the avalanche, if we’d actually been in its path, we would have been submerged. Probably not taken over the road itself, but certainly moved from the right lane, moved into the left lane… I think we were really, really lucky. Because this could have been a lot worse, very easily.”
One car traveling in the opposite direction had passed that exact spot just moments before the avalanche hit.
“I don’t even know if they realized what they avoided.” –Don Gallo
The snow piled up about 8-10 feet tall at its deepest and they think if it had been stand still traffic, the avalanche would have caught at least eight cars. A CDOT plow was on scene about five minutes. The resulting closure lasted around 2 hours and US 40 was back open just after 9:30 a.m.