OURAY COUNTY – The high country is officially open for business. Last week, Ouray County plow operators cleared the Camp Bird Road all the way up to iconic Yankee Boy Basin, and this week they finished opening up County Road 31 (the Red Mountain Town loop near the Yankee Girl head frame).
“There is more snow up there than we thought there was going to be, which is a good sign,” said Dave Leonardi, a county plow operator who for many years has been tasked with clearing 4WD roads in preparation for the summer season. “We are not going to complain about having more snow.”
Much of the route into Red Mountain Town was buried in up to eight feet of the white stuff, Leonardi reported.
While his partner Trent Rhoades gets to work on the lower reaches of Engineer Pass, Leonardi is currently plowing out Corkscrew Pass. “I started last Thursday and I’m about two miles up there now,” he said earlier this week. “There is a pretty big slide in the switchbacks. It will probably be next week before that one will be open. It’s really soft and muddy right now. We need some dry weather.”
Plow drivers in San Juan County, meanwhile, are working to open up the passes on their side of the mountains. “We go ‘til we meet them,” said Ouray County Road and Bridge boss Chris Miller.
Imogene Pass is typically the last major pass in Ouray County to be cleared of snow. Leonardi anticipates getting to work there later this month.
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