Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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WEATHER:

Winter storm entices residents to Mount Charleston

Kyle Canyon roads getting treacherous, authorities say

Image

Cydney Cappello

Motorist make their way back down Mount Charleston slowly as slick roads and minimal visibility make it difficult to drive safely. At about 5,000 feet, the snow got heavier and made driving difficult for non-SUVs.

Snow Day

Heavy snow came to the Spring Mountains and the Red Rock Canyon area of the Las Vegas Valley.

Snow in Las Vegas

Alexis Winston, 5, and Ryan Cuevas build a snowman on the side of the road near Red Rock Canyon on Monday. Launch slideshow »

Neither cold weather nor slick roads could keep Las Vegas residents from playing in the white stuff during today’s rare winter snow storm.

Just off northbound U.S. 95, near the base of Mount Charleston, about six or seven cars had pulled off Kyle Canyon Road to take in the serene blanket of white that now covered the desert.

Las Vegas resident Martin Cerda, who had a day off from work, brought his 6-year-old son David out to play in the snow for the first time.

“We’re gonna play snowball fight!” David said, nearly jumping out of his carseat. The Cerdas made this special trip just for the snow, even though it was not Dad’s first time.

“We have been here in Vegas for a couple of years, so we have enjoyed the snow before,” Martin said.

Parked nearby was a group of teenagers also enjoying the freshly fallen snow.

“We had nothing to do and my friends called and said ‘let’s go to the mountains’ so we came up to check it out,” Ailza Bujamba said. “We knew it was going to be snowing, but we didn’t know it was going to be this wonderful.”

But the snow was just as dangerous as it was beautiful. Mike Huff of Indian Springs Towing, was heading back down the mountain when he stopped at the turn off where everyone was playing. He said that the roads were getting more dangerous as motorists climbed the mountain.

“They’re plowing the roads right now, but it's not staying plowed long enough,” Huff said. “People are going up there at 10 miles per hour right now.”

He said at the base of Mount Charleston, where the horseback riding trails begin, the weather had turned for the worse. And although he didn’t know what the exact inch accumulation was, he said earlier it had reached up to his shins. Huff also said that Las Vegas Metro Police were already up on the mountain, helping cars that had pulled off to the side of the road.

One state highway trooper said that the 5,000-foot elevation point was where most cars realized they needed to turn around — which is a dangerous feat on a narrow, slick roadway. He said attempting to turn around could leave a driver stuck in a ravine and, in such snowy conditions, it could be days before they are found.

Huff’s advice for drivers attempting the climb: Put chains on tires and pack a shovel in case the car gets stuck.

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