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2 Dead in Colorado Pileup

November 23, 1999

DENVER (AP) _ Ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies have finally received a pile of new snow, just in time for Thanksgiving.

The snow snarled traffic in many areas and two people were killed Monday afternoon in a massive pileup on fog-shrouded Interstate 70 near Genesee, marring what was for many a welcome snowstorm.

More than a foot of snow fell in the foothills and mountains west of Denver. United Airlines canceled 190 of its 600 flights from Denver International Airport during the storm and the snow was thick elsewhere.

``Our ski patrol couldn’t even get up to the summit on a snowmobile,″ said Olivia Pennock of Steamboat Springs in northern Colorado.

Colorado had been basking in record or near-record temperatures during most of November, an ominous sign for resorts after a poor season last year. Vail Golf Course even reopened last week and tourists wondered if they should bring golf clubs instead of skis.

``We were all nervous,″ said Ken Friedman, owner of Kenny’s Double Diamond ski shop in Vail. ``Last season was tough. Now we’re looking pretty good. The customers are here.″

The region’s first major snowstorm of the season wasn’t the only reason blamed for the I-70 crash, which also injured 29 people and involved as many as 83 vehicles.

The Colorado State Patrol said people driving too fast for the wintry conditions were unable to stop in time as cars and trucks slammed into each other about 10 miles west of Golden.

``Every time you get a snowstorm you get the same type of accidents,″ patrol spokesman Gary Eyer said. ``A lot of it would be avoided if people would allow extra time and not follow so close and pay attention.″

The pileup was triggered when one car spun out of control in the westbound lanes, Eyer said.

``The visibility was so bad you couldn’t see the person in front of you,″ said Shannon Rogers, who escaped injury. ``We tried to stop and went sliding off the road and we thought that was the worst of it, but then we kept hearing bangs, squeaking tires and people just kept banging into each other.

``We just kept hearing people screaming and it just never seemed to stop,″ she said.

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