Expanded openings on tap for today | SteamboatToday.com

Expanded openings on tap for today

New terrain, deep snow greet skiers and riders Friday

Pilot & Today staff
Steamboat Olympian Nelson Carmichael enjoys nearly a foot of fresh Champagne Powder snow at the Steamboat Ski Area on Friday. The resort will open top-to-bottom terrain today, catapulting to nearly 800 acres, 55 trails and five lifts.
Courtesy Photo

— Almost one-third of the Steamboat Ski Area will be open to skiers and riders by the time the gondola begins ferrying passengers to Thunderhead this morning.

Ski area officials announced Friday additional terrain openings that will bring the skiable acreage to 972. Storm Peak Express will be among the five chairlifts servicing 67 trails, including many of the runs off Sunshine Peak.

The list of trails:

– Green: Arc, Big Foot, Boulevard, Duster, Feather, Flat Out, Giggle Gulch, Main Drag, Park Lane, Preview, Short Cut, So What, Stampede, Right-O-Way, Yoo Hoo and Why Not

– Blue: Blizzard, Buddy’s Run, Calf Roper, Chisolm Trail, Dusk, Eagles Nest, Ego, Heavenly Daze, High Noon, Highline, Jess’ Cut Off, Lightning, Meadow Lane, One O’Clock, Rainbow, Rudi’s Run, Sitz, Skyline, Tower, Tornado Lane, Traverse, Vagabond and Vogue

– Blue/Black: Norther, Sunset, Surprise, Two O’Clock

– Black: Burgess Creek Lift Line, Closet, Cyclone, Dawn, Hurricane, Kuus’ Cruise, Nelson’s Run, Oops, See Ya, Shadows, Storm Peak Catwalk, Storm Peak North, Storm Peak South, Sundown Lift Line, Three O’Clock, Tornado, Triangle 3, Twilight, Twister, Typhoon, Vertigo and White Out

– Terrain Parks: Lil’ Rodeo

– Chairlifts: Burgess Creek, Christie Express, gondola, Preview, Storm Peak Express

The ski area opened last week, but there was no doubt Friday represented the first real day of the 2008-09 season for many local skiers and riders.

The ski area opened the gondola, as well as 27 additional trails Friday. The resort reported 11 inches of new snow Friday morning, but on some of the previously unopened terrain, the powder was significantly deeper.

“It was great. We had a blast up there today. I actually got stuck up there a couple of times,” said Toscha Velasquez, who joined coworkers on the slopes before heading into work at about 11 a.m. “I didn’t expect it to be that good. I think everybody’s pretty thrilled that it’s better than they expected.”

Long lines greeted skiers and snowboarders at the Burgess Creek chairlift, which also opened for the first time Friday and was the only lift open outside the base area. Between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., the wait at the three-pack lift was about 20 minutes.

Shortly after 10 a.m., the top of Heavenly Daze looked like the starting line at the annual Cowboy Downhill, as anxious skiers and riders lined up for a mass stampede as resort employees dropped the ropes on the popular trail. Snowmaking and grooming requirements delayed the trail’s opening until later in the morning.

Skiers and riders may want to wake up early this morning to take advantage of the conditions. The National Weather Service forecasts partly sunny skies through the weekend, with a chance of snow returning to the area Monday. High temperatures during the weekend will be in the mid-30s.

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