Independence Pass

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition. Wintry weather descends on the Roaring Fork Valley this week closing Independence Pass and prompting locals to break out their cold weather gear. Two Roaring Fork Valley residents are renamed to the U.S. Ski Team. Aspen holds its annual Veterans Day service. The Forest Service highlights crowds over-loving backcountry spots, big employers move forward with a plan to make their workers healthier, and politicians in Denver put their ducks in a row after a surprising election.

Through partnerships between landowners and Aspen Valley Land Trust, almost 40,000 acres of land have been conserved. Martha Cochran, Executive Director of Aspen Valley Land Trust, and Chuck Vidal, former board member and former Executive Director of the land trust, discuss the history of the organization and the need for land conservation in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Mike Johnston

State Representative Millie Hamner carried three times the number of bills this legislative session, than she did in the previous session. The democrat, who represents several Western Slope counties including Pitkin County, chairs the House education committee. She told Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen that she's most proud of two measures that bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Colorado schools.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

A combination of record snow, wind and warming temperatures created a disaster in the backcountry over the weekend. An avalanche on the east-side of Independence Pass Saturday killed two skiers Saturday. And, the state’s avalanche center says it hasn’t seen such large, destructive avalanches in 20 years. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with John Snook, a forecaster at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Garmin International

More commercial truckers are navigating Independence Pass... even though they’re not supposed to. That’s according to the Colorado State Patrol. This summer, officers are doing more to bring those numbers down. And the effort comes as a worldwide GPS company is also trying to get the attention of more drivers.

When traveling east of Aspen on Highway 82, there are several signs warning drivers, saying:

“No trucks over thirty five feet in length can drive up and over Independence Pass.”