Snowcat makes clearing Corona Pass an easier task
Sky-Hi News Intern
A 16-foot wall of snow was blocking Rollins Pass recently, but due to the skilled efforts of Jeremy Straley and Mountain States Snowcats, the pass, known by many locals as Corona Pass, is now clear, though not open to traffic all the way to the top.
Straley has been familiar with the Corona Pass area for a long time, and his snowcat business handles projects throughout the region.
On Sunday, June 14, Straley’s team finished completely clearing the road using only a single snowcat.
“One machine does it in half the time,” he said. “Normally it would’ve taken several weeks with other equipment.”
The use of a snowcat is far superior to any other bulldozer or similar machine, according to Straley, who added not only is the use of a snowcat more efficient, but it’s much safer as well.
The snow Straley encountered was “considerably deeper” than years past, with snow present from the U.S. Forest Service gate all the way up the pass. Even more remarkable, the snow that was pushed off the road was the wettest snow recorded in May over the past 120 years. Last year Straley’s company plowed Rollins a week later than this year.
With the intent of benefiting tourism and recreational activities in the area, the Forest Service opened the road to the mid-slope gate on June 15. The upper portion of the road won’t be ready for traffic until early July, according to the Forest Service.
The road is old and potholed, but if locals and tourists alike drive carefully, the trip up Rollins Pass is possible in a higher clearance car all the way to the top, though four-wheel drive is recommended.
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