Combo of fresh powder, temperatures allow Steamboat Ski Area to open more terrain |

Combo of fresh powder, temperatures allow Steamboat Ski Area to open more terrain

Steamboat Springs resident Will Bolt makes a few turns Wednesday morning as Steamboat Ski Area opened for the 2016-17 season under blue skies. Despite some nervous moments this week, snowmaking crews at the ski area were able to make enough snow to open terrain for skiers eager to get back on the slopes. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. donates proceeds from lift tickets on Scholarship Day to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
John F. Russell

— The convergence of a weekend powder storm and temperatures cold enough for productive snowmaking led Steamboat Ski Area to announce Monday morning it had opened the gondola and the Heavenly Daze trail, affording skiers 2,000 vertical feet of terrain.

As of 11 a.m. Nov. 28, the ski area was reporting 4 inches of new snow at mid-mountain overnight, 6 inches in 24 hours and 18 inches in seven days. The temperature at mid-mountain was 17 degrees.

Steamboat President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman said the opening of the gondola provides access to 30 acres of skiing with Sitz, Sitz Back, Jess’ Cut-Off, Vogue and Stampede trails on the lower mountain.

“Now that skiing and riding is available from Thunderhead to the base area, our crews can focus on building a base for the season on more trails, and eventually opening top-to-bottom terrain.” Perlman said.

The National Weather Service was forecasting a 70 percent chance of snow showers through the night into Nov. 29, but accumulations of less than a half-inch.

The forecast continues to show a chance of light snow through Nov. 29 before the storm pattern gives way to partly sunny skies. However, the conditions will remain favorable for snowmaking with overnight lows from 4 to 7 degrees at midweek.

Steamboat Vice President of Mountain Operations Doug Allen expressed optimism about the winter to come based on long-term forecasts.

“The forecast this winter is calling for a weakening La Nina system, which bodes well for northern resorts such as Steamboat,” Allen said. “The winter of 2007-08 was also a La Ninak and Steamboat finished that season with a record amount of snow. Until the big storms come, we’ll continue to take advantage of snowmaking opportunities and open more terrain as possible.”

Uphill (skinning) access on Mount Werner is currently closed until further notice to allow mountain crews to maintain conditions and prepare new trails for opening. Guests who want to access U.S. Forest Service land on foot can do so via Burgess Creek Road.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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