Nature’s Christmas present: Heavy snow expected in Steamboat, 94% of ski area to open |

Nature’s Christmas present: Heavy snow expected in Steamboat, 94% of ski area to open

Santa takes a few turns at Steamboat Resort before heading off for a busy night of delivering presents on Christmas Eve.
Larry Pierce/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Santa is bringing more than his bag of presents to Steamboat this year, with forecasts showing a heavy round of snow storms to make for a very white Christmas. 

The storm should begin around midnight, making for 1 to 4 inches of snow by the Christmas morning accumulation report at Steamboat Resort, according to local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website More intense showers are expected throughout the day. 

That should make for good conditions in the mountains around Steamboat, offering some fresh powder for skiers, riders, snowmobilers and other recreationists. 

More than 94% of the trails at Steamboat Resort will be open, along with 13 chairlifts, according to the resort’s digital communications manager, Maren Franciosi. Since the weekend, the ski area has opened four new runs, including Moonlight, Sunnyside, Last Chance and East Face, as well as the rest of Closets and Shadows. For Christmas, the resort is unveiling runs around Storm Peak Express, including Drop Out, Vortex, WJW and Chuckwagon. Additional terrain in Morningside Park also is expected to open, according to Franciosi, including Christmas Tree Bowl, The Gulley, Chute 2 and Chute 3.

While Weissbluth, an avid skier, plans to make some turns on Christmas, he voiced concerns about the quality and amount of the snow in Morningside Park.

“I may wait to see what comes out of this storm before I go up there,” he said. 

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction predicts warmer temperatures during Christmas Day, with a high of 33 degrees dipping to a low of 11 degrees in the evening. Snow showers are expected throughout the day, getting more intense in and through the evening, according to Weissbluth. An additional 2 to 5 inches of snow should hit Steamboat, he said, making for total accumulations ranging from 3 to 9 inches by Thursday morning. 

“Hopefully we get the higher end of that, and it puts some soft snow on the hill,” Weissbluth added. 

Don’t forget to keep track of Santa’s journey as he delivers presents to children across the world. NORAD, the U.S. military command that ensures Santa has a safe journey through North American airspace, tracks his magical sleigh’s location using high-tech radars. As of Tuesday evening, he was last seen in Southern Europe, near the coast of Spain. For the most recent updates, visit

Post-Christmas weather looks mild, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast. Thursday should receive some scattered snow showers, according to Weissbluth. Friday should see partly cloudy skies, with mostly sunny days expected for the weekend. 

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

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