‘It’s snow baby’: Steamboat Resort celebrates Opening Day 2021 (with video, photo gallery)

With five trails, 20 acres and hundreds of eager smiles, Steamboat Resort opened Saturday after postponing its Opening Day by a week.

Despite the lack of natural snow, there was a sense of normalcy at the base Saturday morning, as pump-up jams played, ambassadors handed out donuts and employees poured mimosas.

The donuts were the only breakfast Sal Malone, 16, and Charlie Karleen, 14, had before hitting the slopes. They got to the Christie Peak Express line at 7 p.m. Friday and earned first chair for their efforts.

Malone brought a sleeping bag and a camp chair, but they didn’t have other food or supplies. Malone’s father, Mike, joined the boys late Friday evening.

“I had a blanket and a lot of hand warmers and toe warmers,” Mike said.

They slept no more than a couple hours but were energetic and positive in the morning. The trio said minimal rest and cold fingers were worth the sacrifice to say they got first chair and one of the first runs down the corduroy.

“We’re able to look back at everybody behind us,” Mike said. “Instead of looking forward at the first chair.”

The Malones were also the first to ride the new Steamboat gondola Nov. 23, 2019, waiting since 7:30 p.m. Mike said it’s mostly about bragging rights, and it’s exciting and fulfilling in the same way that any first ascent or a bagged peak is.

“It’s just fun, really,” Sal said. “Even though it’s miserable, it’s still fun.”

Heidi Brown celebrated her first Opening Day as a Steamboat Springs resident. She was joined by Sarah Brown, visiting from Oregon, and Bob Millard. They showed up after the festivities wound down and the lines at the lift were shorter. None had ever experienced a season opener, Sarah said, so they figured why not get in a few runs.

“The vibe and festivities of Opening Day is why we’re here,” Heidi said.

The three planned to make some turns then hang out at the base and take in the free Tyler Grant & Friends concert in Steamboat Square.

“It’s snow baby,” yelled Millard as they neared the chairlift. “You got to get that snow. We’ve been waiting all season.”

All skiers and boarders went up Christie Peak, then took Sitz or Sitz Back to Jess’ Cutoff to Vogue then down Stampede. The snow was somewhat solid and a little sugary. The resort was snowmaking on adjacent trails and snowcats were working at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex, building a massive jump for the VISA Big Air Olympic qualifying event coming next week.

Caleb Cowan snowboarded down Stampede with a huge smile on his face. Saturday was his second Opening Day at Steamboat Resort.

“It’s just the best feeling ever,” he said. “I’m a snowmaker at Howelsen, so I make the product, so you got to come and enjoy it.”

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