March 27, 2009
Some people saw the blizzard that slammed the Pikes Peak region as a disaster.
Others, freed from work by the weather, saw it as an opportunity.
While businesses and government agencies closed their doors early Thursday in the face of blowing snow and icy roads, movie theaters were packed by noon Friday. Restaurants did a brisk lunch trade despite the slush.
And sledding hills drew adults and kids alike.
"We're going to take advantage of it," said Ryan Kercher as he led his family inside Hollywood Theaters on Interquest Parkway. The snow day happened to be the first day "Monsters vs. Aliens" was on local screens.
Kercher said his clients at his home business were taking the day off, too.
"Nobody wanted to drive to Black Forest, anyway," he said.
On a snowy hill behind Howbert Elementary School near Garden of the Gods, Travis and Tiffany Allen watched their three children sled as they expressed pleasant surprise with the change in the midday weather.
"We thought it would be cold today," Tiffany Allen said. "It turned out to be nice."
At King's Chef Diner on Bijou Street downtown, owner Gary Geiser said the sun made all the difference.
"As soon as the sun came out, it was great," he said.
Couples packed the diner, replacing the business types who normally fill the seats on weekdays.
"It was like a mini-vacation," Geiser said.
On Tejon Street at Poor Richard's, barista Sarah Hetz said her customers were in a holiday mood.
"We did hot chocolate like you wouldn't believe," she said.
The unexpected day off gave Fort Carson GIs time to roam The Citadel mall, said Spc. Paul Zinder.
"We got the call at 4 a.m.," he said. "Snow day. It's fun."
Carlos Martinez, like thousands of Pikes Peak region residents, is struggling to find work during the recession. But the combination of three daughters, a niece, a nephew and a sledding hill off South Circle Drive gave him reason to smile.
"These guys have been having a blast," he said.