More snow could be on its way to Steamboat this week |

More snow could be on its way to Steamboat this week

Saturday storm leaves behind 8 inches at ski area, causes several car accidents in town

Scott Franz

Skiers fly down Sitz at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday. The morning's 8 inches of fresh powder drew crowds to the resort's still-limited runs. More runs are planned to be open Monday, and even more later this week.

— Bolstered by the remains of a fast moving snowstorm, Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday hosted its first powder day of the season.

And the recent snow, along with a favorable weather forecast this week, soon will open a slew of new runs on Mount Werner.

According to a news release from the ski area, the Burgess Creek lift, Rudie’s Run, Lightning and Ego will open as soon as Monday.

And offerings for beginners also should expand as green runs including Boulevard, Giggle Gulch and Right-O-Way are expected to open.

"There were lots of smiling faces on the mountain" on Sunday, ski area spokesman Mike Lane said. "We definitely have seen the weather pattern change, which I think is key for us."

A fast moving storm Saturday dropped 5.2 inches of snow in town and 8 inches on Mount Werner, according to the National Weather Service.

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After enduring weeks of sunny skies and warmer daytime temperatures, skiers and snowboarders welcomed the blast of winter as they flocked to Steamboat Ski Area.

Lane said crews are working to open the Storm Peak Express sometime later this week as snowmaking efforts focus on Bashor, 4 Points, Christie Peak and Burgess Creek.

While the change in weather was a welcome to skiers and riders, it kept local law enforcement agencies busy Saturday night as driving conditions deteriorated.

Multiple crashes

Between 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday, police in Steamboat were called to six car crashes in town, including one crash between two vehicles that sent a woman to the hospital.

Officers also responded to three other crashes throughout the day that resulted in the arrest of the drivers.

"Everything just iced up right about that time, and all the accidents we did have were from people driving too fast for the conditions," Police Sgt. John McCartin said Sunday.

He said the crash that resulted in the injury happened at Longview Circle and Hilltop Parkway, and a driver was ticketed for careless driving causing injury.

In another crash at 4 p.m., a 26-year-old woman drove off the road into a ditch near Hilltop Parkway and was subsequently arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Seven minutes later, officers responded to a head-on crash at Cornice Road and Rockies Way.

McCartin said a 26-year-old Steamboat man was driving too fast, slid around a corner and hit another vehicle head on. No one was injured, and the man who caused the crash was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and careless driving.

Just before 7 p.m., police were called again when a pickup rear-ended a car at Walton Creek Road and U.S. Highway 40. McCartin said the driver of the pickup fled the scene of the noninjury crash, but not before he crashed his vehicle into a guardrail on the highway.

After an extensive search, police found the vehicle that matched witness descriptions at 11 p.m. parked in a nearby apartment complex.

Unable to locate the owner, police towed the vehicle as evidence.

McCartin said police were called at about 8 a.m. Sunday by the vehicle’s owner who reported the truck stolen. McCartin said during an interview, the 23-year-old Steamboat man admitted to police that he fled the scene of the accident the day before.

The man was arrested on two separate charges for hit-and-run, careless driving and false reporting to police.

McCartin said no accidents had been reported so far Sunday.

More winter coming

Ellen Heffernan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Saturday’s storm should be a precursor to more winter-like conditions this week.

"It certainly wasn’t a gangbuster, but it’s better than we’ve seen in a while," she said about the recent snowfall.

Still, Steamboat has multiple chances for more snowfall in the forecast this week.

Heffernan said a system forecast to arrive Monday could leave behind another inch of snow in town and 3 to 7 inches at the ski area.

Another storm later in the week could increase the snow totals, but she said that system currently is expected to favor the southern mountains.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email