Posted inClimate, News, Transportation, Wildfire

U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass shut by mudslides, hazmat vehicles must now go through Eisenhower tunnel

A mudslide late Saturday near Arapahoe Basin ski area shut down traffic on U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass which means traffic on Interstate 70 must occasionally stop to allow trucks carrying hazardous materials to pass through Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels. The Colorado Department of Transportation on Sunday evening said the road had reopened. Heavy rains across […]

Posted inNews, Outdoors

Colorado snowboarders charged in backcountry avalanche settle criminal case, won’t have to pay $168,000 in restitution

Backcountry snowboarders Evan Hannibal and Tyler Dewitt will not have to pay $168,000 for damage that resulted when an avalanche they reported buried a service road above Interstate 70 in March 2020.  The two also were facing misdemeanor charges related to the March 25 slide that damaged avalanche mitigation devices above the west portal of […]

Posted inCrime and Courts, News, Newsletters, Outdoors, Outsider

Lack of jurors prompts mistrial in Colorado case against snowboarders who triggered avalanche above I-70

Summit County Judge Ed Casias sent out 40 summonses to local residents for Thursday’s docket. Only a fraction showed up — not enough to help decide one of the more interesting high-country cases in years.  After dismissing some potential jurors for cause — like a vaccine shot and a big test for a college student […]

Posted inCrime and Courts, News, Outdoors

Avalanche center boss will testify in criminal case against Summit County snowboarders as judge rejects “chilling effect” argument

A Summit County judge has rejected the Colorado Attorney General’s argument that forcing the boss of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to testify in a rare criminal case could have a chilling effect on the way backcountry travelers share avalanche observations with the agency. “I would really hope that the chilling effect that is being […]

Posted inCrime and Courts, News, Newsletters, Outdoors, Outsider

Avalanche investigators testifying in criminal case could have “chilling effect,” warns Colorado AG

Evan Hannibal happily handed over his helmet video of the avalanche that triggered below his snowboard and buried a service road above Interstate 70 last March.  He hoped the Colorado Avalanche Information Center would use the video and his first-person account to help educate other skiers and snowboarders. Maybe the lessons he learned from his […]

Posted inCrime and Courts, News, Outdoors

Snowboarders facing criminal charges for avalanche above I-70 lose a critical battle in court

Two snowboarders have lost a critical legal battle in the criminal charges they face related to an avalanche that buried a service road above Interstate 70 in March.  A Summit County Court judge delivered a setback to their defense on Tuesday when he dismissed a motion to suppress a GoPro video of the avalanche that […]

Posted inBusiness, Crime and Courts, News, Outdoors

Wrongful death lawsuit targets Silverton Avalanche School, backcountry guide and airbag maker

 The family of a Longmont man killed in an avalanche safety class near Silverton is suing the guide, school and local rescue group as well as the maker of an avalanche airbag and its private equity firm owner. The lawsuit marks the second legal action involving avalanches in recent months based on research, interviews and […]

Posted inColoradans, Crime and Courts, News, Outdoors

Colorado’s first-ever criminal charges following an avalanche could be slippery slope for backcountry travelers

The two snowboarders talk about snow conditions and route selection as they drop in, one at a time. Gusting wind is blowing snow across the ridge as they wind between reefy rocks. “Avalanche!” yells Tyler DeWitt as he cranks to a stop below his friend Evan Hannibal.  The two watch the slide — captured on […]

Posted inNews, Politics and Government, Transportation

The fire-suppression system in the I-70 tunnels is a critical Colorado insurance policy. We toured it to find out why.

BENEATH THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE — If the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels are Colorado’s high country artery, think of its $20 million fire suppression system as the health insurance policy that keeps it pumping. At the very least, the system is meant to prevent travelers from experiencing something truly heart-stopping, like the 1982 Caldecott Tunnel fire in […]

Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: Loveland Pass is a much-safer — and only minutes-slower — option than risking a catastrophe in tunnel

In response to:  “Hazmat drivers want off Loveland Pass.” As a 40-year truck driver who retired two years ago, I spent 30 years as a hazmat-tanker driver, hauling cryogenic liquids and chemicals, with 25 of those years hauling gasoline. I ran all Colorado mountain passes in all weather conditions. All of Colorado’s mountain passes are […]