Snowmakers bring record number of guns online |

Snowmakers bring record number of guns online

Snowmakers blow snow Tuesday at Steamboat Ski Area.
Courtesy Photo

— Colder weather Monday night allowed snowmakers at Steamboat Ski Area to set a new record for the number of guns simultaneously online.

Doug Allen, the ski area’s vice president of mountain operations, said 116 guns were firing, 10 more than the same date last year.

“The guys are really proud about that,” Allen said.

Later this week, Steamboat Springs might be able to begin advertising a natural snow message in a big way with storms expected Thursday, Saturday and into next week.

Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said that by Friday morning, between 4 and 8 inches of snow could fall at the ski area. The second storm could produce between 6 and 12 inches of snow by Sunday morning.

“There may be a brief break sometime on Sunday before snow is forecast to begin again by later in the day and continue overnight as waves in moist northwest flow pass over the area,” Weissbluth said in an email. “Another brief break on Monday before a much stronger Pacific wave is forecast to cross the West Coast and travel over our area around Tuesday. Again, the models are forecasting moderate to heavy snowfall with this wave that looks to last through at least Wednesday.”

The ski area opens in just two weeks with Scholarship Day on Nov. 26.

“I’m optimistic that we will see a good opening,” Weissbluth said.

Snow amounts from Monday’s storm were estimated to be about 5 inches at the top of the ski area. The Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin ski areas were reporting their mid-mountain snow depths were now 18 inches.

On Tuesday, Allen said snowmakers were chasing temperatures and heading to higher elevations during the day to make snow on Buddy’s Run.

Allen said the weather has been typical for the fall, and it is not unusual for Steamboat to see one warm week in November.

“Hopefully, we’re past that and can stay online,” Allen said.

According to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, temperatures Wednesday night are expected to dip to 13 degrees.

Pumps on the Yampa River on Monday night were sending 4,200 gallons of water per minute up to the ski area for snowmaking. That is enough to fill up the 240,000 gallon lap pool at the Old Town Hot Springs in 57 minutes. Allen said that before upgrades were made a couple years ago, they were able to pump 3,300 gallons of water per minute.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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