Opening Day gets rave reviews at Steamboat Resort
November 21, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mimosas, Champagne Power donuts, good snow conditions, plenty of sunshine and a little encouragement from an Olympian going into his 49th season at Steamboat Resort helped usher in the 2018-19 ski season Wednesday.
"It's a really special day," said Steamboat Resort Director of Skiing Billy Kidd, who won a silver medal in slalom at the 1964 Olympics. "You anticipate it. You think about it all summer. We want to be in a full sprint to the top of the mountain."
Steamboat Resort did not offer top-to-bottom skiing for Opening Day, but it did have good snow conditions with access to 11 trails served by the gondola and Christie Peak Express.
Members of the North Ute Indian Tribe did a prayer and traditional dance on the Gondola Square stage while skiers and snowboarders anxiously waited for the doors to open.
"This is our old homeland, so it's always good to come back home," said tribe member Brian Cervantes, who lives in Vernal, Utah.
He was joined by his children Wilber Cervantes and Lamona Blackhorse.
"We want to all say ‘thank you’ to Steamboat for showing you our dance," Lamona said.
Opening Day was attended by many Steamboat newcomers, including, Gib Mitchell, who moved here in June after graduating from college in New York.
"The energy is stoke for me,” Mitchell said. “I think people are really excited. People are rushing out the gondola to get trail."
Rick Poole and his wife, Beth, have been visiting Steamboat since 1989. They are from the East Coast and were excited to be here for Opening Day.
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"It's a little bit like Memorial Day at the seashore," Rick Poole said. "It's the start of the season. It's fun being here."
Steamboat resident Craig Kennedy was going into his 25th season of skiing in Steamboat.
"It was awesome," said Kennedy, who will volunteer coach for the Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports program this winter. "That's the best Opening Day we've had in probably five years, I feel like. The whole Heavenly Daze was open. Usually, we get a little ribbon."
Heavenly Daze was in such good condition that Kidd guided skiers during his regular 1 p.m. tour.
"I know we have a lot of future Olympians that are going to be skiing with me," he said.
Steamboat Ski Patrol Director John Kohnke is going into his 44th season at Steamboat.
"Sun's out, and we're happy" Kohnke said. "We have a whole winter ahead of us, and snow is coming in this weekend."
He praised the work of snowmakers, who have made a record amount of preseason snow.
"It's really carvable," Kohnke said. "It's really good skiing right now."