Early close not crowd pleaser | SteamboatToday.com

Early close not crowd pleaser

Ski area officials say this season is longer than past ones

The ridiculous outfits and on-mountain celebrations that typically bring an end to the ski season will have to happen on a Saturday this year. For the first time in many years, the Steamboat Ski Area is not closing on a Sunday.
Courtesy Photo

— The Steamboat Ski Area’s last day of the 2006-07 season is a Saturday, leaving some feeling slighted out of a day of skiing.

Historically, Sunday has been the last day of skiing on the mountain.

“It seems ridiculous to be closed on a weekend day,” season pass holder Rob Pecoraro said Thurs-day. “It’s guaranteed that I ski both days on the weekends : and I feel like I’m getting shorted a day.”

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials hope people think of this year’s closing date as an addition to the season rather than a subtraction. The ski area’s last day is April 14. The ski area typically has made the Sunday before April 15 the final day of the season. In past years, that date has been as early as April 9.

“It’s really an extension from last year of six days,” said Heidi Thomsen, a ski area spokeswoman. “If we go back at least five seasons, this is the longest one we’ve had since the 2001-02 season.”

The ski area’s direct flight program also was extended to April 8. These dates were chosen far in advance based on market research, Thomsen said.

“The reason why we picked April 14 is because the model for visitors coming to Steamboat Springs is something we looked at last year and planned for,” Thomsen said. “We looked at school breaks and the demand and customer surveys. We looked at a lot of different things and compiled it together and settled on Saturday because it made the most sense.”

The last time the ski area extended an already-established closing date was in 1993.

“We extended that season for a week because we had over 400 inches of snow,” Thomsen said. “Other than that season, we have stuck to the closing date set in advance.”

Businesses such as Slopeside Grill will close the same day as the ski area.

“The Sunday that the mountain normally closes is not a big day for us. Saturday is usually the bigger day, so I’m not concerned about it,” Slopeside owner Chris Corna said. “The change in daylight savings time affects us more. Now we have an extra hour of aprÃs ski time.”

If the weather permits, locals can go skiing and mountain biking on the last day the mountain is open, Thomsen said. “That’s something you can’t do very often or in very many places.”

As far as Sunday, April 15 is concerned, Pecoraro will be in Craig.

“I’m going to play golf,” he said.

– To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204 or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

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