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Heavy snow closes Mesa Verde National Park

Dolores saw 5 inches of fresh snow overnight. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Winter blast gives ski areas a boost; creates challenges for drivers on slushy roads

Southwest Colorado saw heavy snow overnight and caused the closure of Mesa Verde National Park.

The park closed for the day because of impassable roads, said the park’s deputy superintendent, Bill Nelligan. The Visitor and Research Center, lodges and restaurants are closed for the day.

Morefield Campground got 10 inches of snow overnight, Nelligan said.

One of the park’s two heavy-duty snowplows is broken down, making it more challenging to get ahead of the snow as it piles up, Nelligan said.

CDOT plows were out in force to clear roads from wet heavy snow that fell overnight. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Businesses in Dolores shoveled out from a winter storm that hit Tuesday and Wednesday. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

The park is also utilizing a fleet of pickup trucks with plows to clear parking lots and a road grader if needed.

“We are closed for the day, but should be back open tomorrow,” Nelligan said.

For residents living in the park, access will be available in and out of the park. If it stays cold enough, the new snow could open up ski and snowshoe routes in the park, Nelligan said.

CDOT has dozens of plows working the roads throughout the region, said spokesperson Lisa Schwantes.

The mountain passes were open as of Wednesday morning and snowpacked and icy, she said.

Chain and traction laws are in effect for the mountain passes. Check CDOT CO-Trip for the road conditions.

Vehicles have been sliding off the road in Montezuma County on snowpacked and slushy road conditions. There was a reported crash on U.S. Highway 160 west of Mancos.

Wednesday morning, Dolores has 6 inches, Mancos had 8 inches, and Cortez had 3 inches. Snow is expected to fall through the day.

The Purgatory ski area got a foot of new snow, and Telluride got 5 inches overnight.

Southwest Colorado is under a winter storm warning. The San Juan Mountains are under an avalanche warning, and backcountry travel is not recommended.