Denver Blizzard Snows In West Slope Economy

Potatoes. Gone. Onions. Non-existent. No lettuce. No eggs. Supermarkets in some places on the Western Slope are lacking fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy products just as holiday cooking is revving up. The problem is Denver’s snow storm delayed most I-70 westbound truck shipping last week and with the holiday weekend and Christmas on Monday, most supermarkets won’t get restocked until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The supply problem doesn’t end there. “On Saturday, we stopped by Chili’s in Glenwood Springs on our way home from skiing and we could only order hamburgers or steak,” said Scott Roberts, a valley resident. His waitress explained the restaurant ran out of most of their menu because they hadn’t gotten a food shipment out of Denver since the snow storm.

On Friday a Glenwood Springs Target stockroom employee had expected a huge shipment from UPS to re-stock gift items for the last shopping days before Christmas. The UPS driver had five small boxes instead.

Mail delivery has been curtailed in many areas West of the Divide, too. One or two letters filled the local mail boxes normally stuffed with cards and packages. In the holiday spirit, some postal service workers have decided to stay on the job through the weekend to process delayed mail from Denver so that Roaring Fork residents can receive their mail as soon as possible.

With the closing of DIA for several days, many Colorado-bound skiers across the country were stuck either at their departing airport or at Denver. Up to 1,000 visitors were unable to arrive in Aspen in just the first day of the Denver blizzard, Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle estimated.

Luckily, most would-be visitors have been able to re-book their reservations for a later date. On the good side, Denver’s snow storm has made national news and that may help publicize the good skiing conditions in the mountains. Reservations in Colorado’s Ski Country are expected to climb through March.

The snow storm itself that paralyzed the Front Range, barely affected areas west of Vail Pass on I-70, but it did eventually have a statewide impact and it proved how fragile commercial trucking lanes are from Denver.

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Leslie Robinson

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