Chaos erupted during a recent weekend snowstorm in Colorado resulting in hundreds of mountain travelers getting stranded. One instance involved a 16-hour rescue mission that saved 22 people on U.S. 285 between Kenosha Pass and Fairplay on Saturday.
During the 16-hour mission, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene along with its snowcat and the Park County Sheriff’s Office. Twenty-two travelers and three dogs were rescued after being stranded for several hours on U.S. 285 in the wake of the powerful snowstorm that left many of Colorado’s roadways and mountain passes covered in ice and several inches of snow. The youngest of the stranded passengers was reportedly 6 years old.
The video shared below by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office shows a number of vehicles abandoned alongside the messy roadway with near whiteout conditions present. The stranded travelers were transported to the Fairplay Fire Department located near Red Hill Pass, roughly a two-hour round trip for each group rescued by the snowcat.
Teamwork. The JCSO assisted Park County on Saturday night when several motorists got stranded on US 285 between Kenosha Pass & Fairplay. JCSO deputies responded in our Snowcat & rescued 22 people & 3 dogs during this 16-hour mission. See some of the conditions in this video pic.twitter.com/EWT1DrK9Sd— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) December 2, 2019
According to a report from the Denver Post, more than 700 people were stranded in the tiny mountain town of Fairplay over the weekend after gusty winds producing areas of blowing snow and low visibility created nearly impossible travel conditions along U.S. 285 at Kenosha Pass. As a result of the severe wintry weather, CDOT shut down several major roadways across the state including U.S. 285 at Kenosha Pass, U.S. 40 at Rabbit Ears Pass, I-70 along Vail Pass, Loveland Pass, and Highway 40 from mile marker 214 to 226.