‘An intense event’: More than a foot of snow expected in Steamboat by Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

‘An intense event’: More than a foot of snow expected in Steamboat by Saturday

Steamboat Resort planning to open new lifts, trails

The Burglard family, visiting from Erie, prepares to cross Lincoln Avenue Friday evening as flurries of snow fell on downtown Steamboat Springs. Meteorologists expect more than a foot of new snow in the surrounding mountains by Saturday.
Derek Maiolo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Meteorologists are calling for as much as a foot of powdery snow to hit Steamboat by Saturday morning, with showers starting Friday afternoon.

“It’s going to be an intense event,” said local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting site snowalarm.com. He calls for an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow to fall by the end of the day Saturday.

That comes as good news to skiers and riders wanting to take advantage of new terrain opening at Steamboat Resort, but the storm is expected to cause travel difficulties. 

Travel warnings

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a travel advisory through 11 p.m. Saturday for the Steamboat Springs area. It urges drivers to slow down and use caution while traveling. Meteorologist Kris Sanders with the Weather Service said gusts of 40-50 mph will blow snow, severely limiting visibility, especially on Rabbit Ears Pass. 

“You’ll also have the potential for the roads to become pretty snow-packed,” Sanders said.

A fluctuation in temperature may cause some roads to flash-freeze, according to Sanders. Friday’s high is 41 degrees, dipping to a low of 14 degrees at night. Temperatures are expected to remain cool over the weekend with a high of 22 degrees on Saturday and a low of 3 degrees at night. 

Those cooler temperatures through Friday night and Saturday should make for some quintessential Champagne Powder at the ski area, according to Weissbluth. Early snowfall on Saturday could bring what he calls “Steamboat magic,” which is when additional snowfall after the resort’s daily dawn snow reports brings a surprise of more accumulation by the time the ski area opens. 

Franciosi cautioned skiers and riders that early season conditions persist at the ski area. As new trails open, snowmaking operations also may create some hazards. 

Weissbluth expects the weather to stay relatively calm after Saturday. Skies should be clear on Sunday, with a high of 34 degrees and a low of 11 degrees. Weissbluth predicts another storm to hit the area on Tuesday, but any snowfall should be light and restricted to the higher elevations. 

New terrain

On Thursday, the resort announced on its Facebook page that it would open two new runs on Friday, Ted’s Ridge and Eagles Nest. On Saturday, the Burgess Creek and Storm Peak lifts will start running, according to Maren Franciosi, digital communications manager for Steamboat Resort.

That will open up an additional 17 trails for the weekend, she said. Those trails include popular terrain like Rudi’s Run, lower Rainbow and the upper portion of runs accessible from Highline at the top of Storm Peak, such as upper High Noon, One O’Clock and Two O’Clock.

While the new gondola is closed following a mechanical failure, guests can access the upper terrain by taking the Christie Peak Express chairlift and taking trails down to Thunderhead Express. 

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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