Celebrating the start of a different looking season at Steamboat Resort
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — COVID-19 has changed the way Steamboat Resort will operate this winter, but Opening Day proved it is going to take more than a protective mask to hide the excitement of the start of a new season.
“If there is any place that you can feel safe, it’s outside skiing,” said Chris Lovas, who came from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to ski with his 5-year-old son Rhett. “I was nervous about the season to tell the truth. We are excited that it opened up, and we are going to try to get lots of days in.”
Lovas said after Steamboat’s Opening Day was pushed back from Nov. 21 to Dec. 1 a few weeks ago, he feared more delays would follow. So when Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., counted down the start of the 2020-21 season Tuesday, Lovas and others celebrated the chance to get back on snow. Perlman shared that same excitement as he stood near Christie Peak Express as skiers and riders boarded the chairlifts.
“I need to give deep appreciation and tremendous gratitude to the Steamboat team for carrying us to this point and putting us in a position to open the resort for skiing and snowboarding after a long eight months,” Perlman said.
This year’s opening looked different than in year’s past with socially distanced lines, skiers and riders wearing masks and seemingly smaller crowds waiting in line. The resort stopped selling single and multi-day lift tickets for the Dec. 1 through Dec. 6 time period, which may have reduced the crowds on Opening Day.
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Some people arrived before 5 a.m. to wait for their chance to ride up the mountain.
“Yeah, I’ve been waiting for it. We have been really excited the past few weeks,” said Nathan Renner, who showed up at the ski area at 4:50 a.m. “It was dumping earlier, and it’s still snowing. There is going to be a fresh layer on the top, which is pretty sick.”
Renner and his friends had no problem with the socially distanced line spacing or the use of masks to keep everyone safe. They said they planned to go with the flow this season and make the best of whatever comes. It was a feeling shared by many of the skiers and riders who came out for the opening.
“It is what it is, so I guess you just have to work around it,” said snowboarder Josh Sentell.
This was his first day in Steamboat, but he had already been on snow earlier this season at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.
“The biggest difference has been the longer lines,” Sentell said of snowboarding during the pandemic. “It was more noticeable at A-Basin, but today (at Steamboat), the lines were really good.”
Perlman said he was happy with how things rolled out.
“Things went very smooth. Our guests and staff were compliant, wearing face coverings and practicing the five commitments to containment,” Perlman said. “Everyone has been extremely supportive and appreciative of the tremendous work that went into opening the resort.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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Routt County’s COVID-19 incidence rate is increasing exponentially and is now among the top three in Colorado behind only Moffat and Kit Carson counties.