CSP: ‘Plenty of skiers’ still out as it patrols parts of Colorado’s high country

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DENVER (KDVR) — Skiers and snowboarders are out in the backcountry on Colorado’s first weekend of a statewide stay-at-home order.

Colorado State Patrol posted a Tweet Saturday morning that said, “Believe it or not, still have plenty of skiers and boarders on Loveland and Berthoud Passes. (They’re cramming into cars to shuttle up to the top). No tickets or tows yet.”

The parking lot at Berthoud Pass was seen full of vehicles, with people seen skiing, throughout the day Saturday on a Colorado Department of Transportation camera.

In a news conference Friday, Gov. Jared Polis said, “This pandemic is not a vacation.”

Exercise outdoors with social distancing is allowed under the state order. However, Polis said Friday that if people do need to recreate, they should do it in places close to their homes.

CSP began patrolling the Loveland ski area, including the US 6 area around it, at 6 a.m. Saturday and will do so every 30-minutes to enforce no parking in avalanche zones.

It will be ticketing and towing those who do not comply. Not only is it illegal, but CSP says it is dangerous if hazmat trucks cannot get through to handle avalanche emergencies.

CSP is responding to the parking traffic that stacked up last weekend.

Loveland Ski area also sent tweets to remind everyone they are closed and to stay home.

Local agencies are dealing with a similar problem. The Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday several roads would close to non-resident traffic, citing a recent increase in visitors trying to access U.S. Forest Service lands.

“We’re asking that people don’t congregate in these trailheads, don’t congregate in parking lots. I think it’s just natural human behavior and you kind of forget. But right now that’s not an appropriate thing because it’s just increasing the spread of this virus,” said Sgt. Blake White with the Colorado State Patrol.

White says in situations where people are violating the state-wide order by congregating in large groups, they must consider trooper safety.

“We’re trying to keep that social distancing as well. If we have to engage we absolutely will, this isn’t to say we’re not going to contact anybody because of potential risk,” said Sgt. White.

White says as of Saturday they have not issued citations for this kind of behavior, but says “there may be citations coming down the road” if people continue to ignore the order.

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