Steamboat Ski Area surpasses 160-inch mark as resort ramps up for holiday rush |

Steamboat Ski Area surpasses 160-inch mark as resort ramps up for holiday rush

A skier comes down North St. Pat’s on Tuesday at Steamboat Ski Area. The ski area has received 160 inches of snow for the 2010-11 season.
Matt Stensland

— Powder fever was more contagious than the common cold Tuesday morning as 20-year-old Mariah Starkey rode the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area.

“I’ve only missed one day since the mountain has been open, and I think today is going to be the best day of the season,” the Steamboat Springs resident said to six others sharing the gondola car with her. “I had about a foot of snow on my car from (Monday). It’s gonna be great.”

Starkey was hopeful Tuesday’s powder conditions would surpass those of Scholarship Day, which she considered the best day of the season. On the Nov. 24 opening day, skiers and riders were treated to deep untouched powder on more than 1,000 acres of terrain. According to Tuesday morning’s report, there have been 160 inches of snow recorded at mid-mountain since Oct. 23. During the 2009-10 season, the ski area didn’t surpass the 100-inch milestone until Jan. 2.

“I’m kind of losing track of good powder,” Starkey said. “We’ve been lucky this season so far.”

Tuesday morning may not have been the epic powder day many had anticipated, but it was an official one with 11 new inches of snow measured at the summit in the previous 24 hours. A few of those inches had fallen since the ski area closed Monday.

Temperatures were around 30 degrees Tuesday. The Pacific weather pattern dubbed Pineapple Express continued to drop snow on Mount Werner throughout the day, though many said the snow was not the light powdery stuff for which Steamboat is known.

“I came up bright and early to hit some pow,” Steamboat snowboarder Scott Johnston said. “A little wet, but still some nice stuff.”

As predicted, the storm favored ski resorts south of Steamboat. Aspen Highlands reported 13 inches of snow in 24 hours, and Crested Butte reported 16 inches.

The skier crowds were noticeably larger Tuesday compared to late last week as Steamboat ramps up its busy holiday tourism season.

Christmas is attracting vacationers such as the DuCharme family from Houston, who have been to Steamboat twice before and arrived Monday on the Continental Airlines flight that was able to navigate the storm to Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

“The mountain is great, and it’s convenient because it’s a direct flight from Houston,” Rich DuCharme said.

He said he has been following the Steamboat snow report from Houston and celebrating it given last season’s “rough year.”

“We were coming regardless, but it’s a huge bonus,” DuCharme said about the plentiful snow.

Snow and rain are in the forecast through Thursday.

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