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Friday’s strong winds interrupt normal routine on Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak officials reported wind gusts of up to 75 mph on the summit Wednesday and Thursday but apparently got a break Friday -- the day that similar gusts were expected.

"The summit has been open only an hour or two in the past three days because it's too windy," said Jack Glavan, manager of the Pikes Peak Highway.

Glavan said gusts below the summit were between 50 and 60 mph, which caused some blowing and drifting of existing snow.

On Friday, the highway was closed at Glen Cove, six miles from the summit. For a brief period, the closure was moved seven miles farther downhill to Crystal Reservoir.

The mountain's quick-changing winter weather makes reaching the summit an uncertainty for tourists like Gregg Langston, from Arkansas, who was visiting the attraction with his family for the first time.

"Yeah, it's kind of a bummer that I couldn't get there," he said. "Driving up there and seeing the summit house and the views from there have been a lifelong dream. But I'll try again later this year."

Other tourists -- like married couple Gisela and Berned Bravo, from Costa Rica -- took the disappointment in stride.

"At least we can go sort of in the middle of the mountain, so that we can have a good view and also see the snow -- because for her, it's the first time that she's seen it," Berned said.

Pikes Peak Highway staff kept busy monitoring the weather and updating road conditions, also asking drivers to open their windows slightly to equalize air pressure and prevent glass from shattering.

The Peak received some unexpected weather Friday; about an inch of snow.

Three years ago this month, 100 mph winds caused extensive damage in Colorado Springs and elsewhere in the Pikes Peak region.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.