Avalanche closes I-70 between Copper Mountain and Vail; driver OK after being caught in slide

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- An avalanche came down along Interstate 70 early Thursday morning, trapping a tow truck driver and closing the interstate in both directions between Frisco and Vail.

The Colorado State Patrol first tweeted about the avalanche shortly after 1 a.m. Authorities expect the highway to remain closed until mid-morning. Crews will be on scene to mitigate the hazards.

The tow truck driver that was caught in the avalanche is okay, according to CSP.

The alternative route, Highway 91, has also had issues and seen multiple spin-outs throughout the morning, according to CSP.

The state patrol said that "travel is not recommended through the I-70 mountain corridor."

The slide comes just days after an avalanche covered the highway between Frisco and Copper Mountain. On Tuesday, CDOT shut down I-70 for hours for planned avalanche mitigation work.

It has also caused the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue an extreme warning for multiple backcountry zones in the mountains. They're asking people to avoid the backcountry altogether because of the historic danger.

Avalanche danger level (Screenshot from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Fire & Ice Podcast

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While avalanches are a part of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, the winter of early 2019 has seen some high-profile examples.

Avalanches, including those triggered as part of planned mitigation, have unexpected shut down highways for hours, and others have been caught on camera and gone viral across the country.

In this episode of Fire & Ice, we answer the question: what does this all mean for people living around the snow and spending their free time on the slopes?

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