Homepage > News


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Meet Westminster's Snow Command

Meet Westminster's Snow Command

When the snow starts to fall in Westminster, in addition to the City’s Public Works and Utilities department, many other city employees put their usual work on hold to jump behind the wheel of a snow plow.  

In addition to city streets, there are also trails, sidewalks and city facilities that require special attention to ensure residents can safely access services and amenities. To get the job done, more than 60 people from the City’s parks and open space teams, including staff from Standley Lake, and even golf course personnel are called in to help during snow events. 

They focus on clearing parking lots and sidewalks at all recreation centers, Irving Street Library, fire stations, and City Hall. Once those areas are cleared, the focus shifts to removing snow from City-maintained sidewalks and dozens of miles of trails. 

That’s where machines like this come in handy. This is called a Ventrac 4500 or more affectionately called “Vennie” by staff. During summer, Vennie is used as a lawn mower, but during the winter months, Vennie is converted into a snow plow and snow blower that can navigate narrow sidewalks and trails. For our upcoming storm, there could be 4-8 inches of powder to plow through in high traffic areas like the Big Dry Creek Trail — something Vennie can make light work of. 

At the center of it all, the City’s Snow Commander coordinates the crews (epic title, we know). The Snow Commander is tasked with monitoring conditions and making the decision on when to bring in the on-call staff to begin snow removal operations. The title Snow Commander paints a picture of a high-ranking military official in a parka who rides through Westminster on a snowmobile during storms. In reality, that person is just a rotating on-call staff member tasked with leading operations. For our last storm, the Snow Commander was City Forester Bryan McCoy. “It’s a funny title with important job duties,” said McCoy. He isn’t outfitted with a parka or snowmobile, but instead McCoy holds a very important cell phone. The Snow Commander carries the cell phone at all times to manage the on-call groups during each storm and respond to questions or concerns from residents.  

“My favorite thing about snow commanding is seeing how quickly conditions change from chaotic to orderly within as small amount of time as possible,” remarked McCoy. “Staff work really hard to clear snow as quickly as possible and have a huge amount of ground to cover.  Public patience during snow events is greatly appreciated.” 

Now you know a little bit more about how the City comes together during snow events to keep you safe and our facilities running. Next time you’re able to access city sidewalks, trails, or a recreation facility after a storm, please remember the City’s Snow Command was working around the clock to make it happen. 

If you ever have a question or concern about snow removal, you can call the City’s main phone number, (303) 658-2400, and the message will be passed on to the appropriate team.

For information on snow removal operations including an interactive map of routes, click here

Number of views (16949)/Comments ()