SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The same storm dumping record-breaking rain on the Denver metro area is also dropping several inches of snow in the high country. 

Summit County, Rocky Mountain National Park, Medicine Bow Range, Mosquito Range and Indian Peaks are under a winter storm warning until 12 p.m. Friday.

“It is not unusual. We get some of our best precipitation and moisture from March to May, and over the years we seem to be morphing to a little bit of those early May storms,” Rocky Mountain National Park public affairs officer Kyle Patterson said. 

However, Patterson said at this time of year, visitors regularly arrive to the park unprepared for winter weather. 

“They’re looking at the date on the calendar and think, it’s spring,” she said. “We see visitors that are not prepared for three feet of snow at Bear Lake, which is what we have right now.”

Areas above 10,000 feet are expected to see the highest snow totals. 

Snowboarders take advantage of late-season snow

“It was whiteout at the top of the mountain but lots of powder,” snowboarder Alessandro Verniani said.

Verniani and his friends made their way up Loveland Pass in search of a spot to get in some late-season turns. Loveland Ski Area has already closed for the season but Arapahoe Basin is still open. 

“It’s pretty common. I think spring becomes quite chaotic. You have weeks of sunshine and warmth followed by showers and storms, and so there’s some oscillatory weather phenomena in May, which makes for great, unpredictable riding,” Verniani said. 

Colorado traction laws still in effect

While the Colorado Department of Transportation said it will have crews out managing the Interstate 70 mountain corridor as it would for any storm, crews will be paying close attention to slopes looking for signs of rock fall. They also spent time before the weather system moved in to clear debris from drains.

Traction laws remain in effect along I-70 from Morrison to Dotsero through May 31. Any vehicle must have one of the following:

  • 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” depth tread
  • Tires with a mud and snow designation and 3/16” tread
  • Winter tires and 3/16” tread
  • Tires with and all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread
  • Chains or an approved traction device