Wintry weather worrying businesses ahead of Memorial Day weekend

GRAND LAKE, Colo. – Memorial Day is less than one week away, but in some parts of Colorado, it hardly feels like the unofficial beginning of summer.

Grand Lake, which sits on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is typically thought of as a warm-weather destination in Colorado. The town is centered around a lake popular with boaters. Grand Lake celebrates its kickoff to the summer season Memorial Day weekend.

“It can be absolutely insane up here because it’s usually kickoff season,” Kevin Cox, who runs Grand Lake Marina, told FOX31.

He says because of the unusually high amount of snow the region has had over the winter and the unusually late season snowfall this spring, he believes the holiday weekend will be quite different.

“I fear less people up here just because of trying to come over Estes Park side to Grand Lake,” Cox said.

Trail Ridge Road connects Grand Lake to Estes Park through Rocky Mountain National Park. It is the highest-elevation continuously paved road in country.

Due to an abundance of snow this year, park officials can’t say for sure yet if the road will be open by Memorial Day.

“If it’s not open by this weekend, there are going to be a lot of people who are here expecting it to be open,” Grand Lake resident Brian Blumenfeld said.

When Trail Ridge Road is closed, the only way to access Grand Lake is from Interstate 70 to U.S. 40 through Granby. There is no other way to get between Grand Lake and Estes Park.

“This year, you’re going to cut that off, that access, so a lot of people will be coming up here and looking at Grand Lake and going, 'Do we want to fight the traffic?'” Cox said.

According to Cox, several customers have already canceled their boat rental reservations for Memorial Day weekend due to concerns about the weather.

“People from out of state, they’re not making the reservations because they’re not sure if they want to go out on the lake or not,” he said.

On the flip side, the canceled reservations could mean that boats may still be available for those looking for last-minute reservations during one of the busiest weekends on the lake.

“All I can say is that it’s worth it,” Cox said. “Grand Lake is a gem.”

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