‘Twas fleeting.., part 1

“‘Twas Fleeting” is a look back at December 20th to December 23rd, 2006 in which Denver was hit upside and sideways by one of the worst snow storms in our history here in Colorado. I was stuck in Denver Intl. Airport for the three day event and experienced so many emotions, events and memories that I’ve decided to share them. This is my story. *insert Law and Order Sound Effect Here*

Ladies and gentlemen of the City of Denver and the surrounding Metro Area, may I have your attention. The following matter will be met with chagrin or cheers depending on how long you’ve lived here and how you feel about said subject.

Winter ’tis nearly upon us. The temperature dropped this week and we had our second or third **FROST WARNING** and the Sunday Rockies game (had it gone on) was threatened by a forecast of rain and maybe even snow. Thankfully Rocktober remains in sweep mode and the snow didn’t fall but it bring a chill to me bones as I drove down from Longmont on Sunday to see the clouds and cold rain flying into the city.

I also remember last winter where this city was pounded, plastered and pushed by seven full weeks of snow every weekend and how much fun the experience it was for everyone involved. I was in the Philippines at the time but still managed to catch the Christmas Snow Storm of 2006 when the entire city was shut down in a blaze of white walls and plunging temperatures.

I was to leave Denver on December 20th, 2006 around 6pm for Portland Oregon where I would spend my vacation with my family before heading back to the far east to finish out my contract. The night before there was talk of the storm hitting. There was casual concern that it was going to be an ugly day without question.

That morning I awoke to a world covered in from top to bottom in stark white fluff with more falling from the sky as if to threaten my way out of the city. I rushed at 8am to Denver International Airport in hopes of finding a flight out. The roads were terrifying. My friend drove me and the entire way he kept hands on the wheel and refused to speak to me because his entire focus was on the slick ice rink his Ford Explorer slid around on.

All around us cars were pulled off with hazard lights screaming into the night. The wind picked up. The snow started to fall harder to the ground. You could barely see one car ahead of you if luck was with you. And it usually wasn’t by this point.

A blizzard was underway with us right in the middle. Pena Blvd. (the main road into the airport) was still open and I made it into the airport. I thanked my friend and wished him luck on getting back to Denver. He would later tell me of a white knuckle ride to pick up his kids from school. To this day I’m in his debt for getting me to DIA.

Without waiting I went to my counter for Alaska Airlines and found myself alone looking into the eyes of a sympathetic woman at the desk. She knew a little more than me and it didn’t look good. Thankfully my mother had got me on a smaller airline and as such there was no line. Compared to the others I was incredibly lucky. She whipped her hands across the keyboard and was soon on the phone trying to get me on a plane. Within moments two phones were in use and the keyboard was smoking from the speed of her fingers. My eyes were wide at her ninja like skills. The Force was strong with this one.

She barely manged to book me on a flight for December 23 at 6:00am. Everything else was full. I think she had called in a favor from someone to get me a confirmed ticket and way out of the city. I owe her to this day for her Jackie Chan like moves. I thanked her (although I could have hugged her at this point) and took my blessed ticket as I looked at the lines for Frontier and United. They were wrapped around and around and into the main concourse where they stretched to the other side. We would later learn that 5,000 people would be stranded with the rest of us. The crowding factor was starting to make me nervous. I could do nothing but look at the masses of people around me. I quickly realized the situation was out of control.

A hour or so later it was announced the Airport was closed. Soon after that Pena Blvd closed.

We were trapped inside Denver International Airport as the snow continued to fall outside.

part two can be found here...

3 Comments so far

  1. John (unregistered) on October 9th, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

    First… A basin should be open in just a few…

    Second… We were in Portland after the first storm. DIA was nuts getting out after it. We cut our visit short and landed about 30 minutes ahead of storm two…

    Small wintery world.


  2. Aaron DeLay (unregistered) on October 10th, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

    That’s pretty cool. I ran into an old friend from High School at DIA that first day. It was a loony bin.


  3. Jason Ackerman (unregistered) on October 11th, 2007 @ 8:16 am

    Heck, I was living in Portland watching all this craziness on TV as we were deciding whether or not to move here. I flew in to do some house-hunting mid-January… it was beautiful then, but the remaining snow was piled high.



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