Snowmakers ready to work at Steamboat Ski Area |

Snowmakers ready to work at Steamboat Ski Area

Pierce Delhaute oversees snowmaking operations at the Steamboat Ski Area in 2012.
John F. Russell

— As the temperature topped 60 degrees Friday, a team of 36 snowmakers at Steamboat Ski Area were eager to get to work.

“We’re ready to rock,” said Vice President of Mountain Operations Doug Allen. “Bring on the cold weather.”

With less than three weeks until opening day, the slopes of Mount Werner are still bare, but Allen was not panicking yet.

“It can happen very fast,” Allen said.

The last time the ski area postponed opening day was in 2007. Before that, it was 2001.

But Allen said the snowmaking technology and infrastructure at the ski area has improved significantly since then.

The ski area can now shoot 140 snow guns at the same time.

“That really gets her done,” Allen said.

All the ski area needs is some cold weather. Allen said about 36 hours of temperatures around 20 degrees would allow them to open some trails.

“The weather pattern looks like it will start to improve the week of the 14th,” Allen said.

Snowmakers will chase the temperatures. Oftentimes, there is an inversion, which means it is colder at the base of the mountain. That means snowmakers will tackle the Vogue and Stampede trails.

If allowed, they will shoot snow onto Heavenly Daze. Up top, Buddy’s Run will be the focus.

“It’s not always cold everywhere,” Allen said.

The guns are set up, and the pumps at the pump house along the Yampa River were recently replaced.

“We’re ready to blast,” Allen said. “It may be last minute.”

Until then, construction projects at the ski area are wrapping up for the winter.

Allen said most of the major work is done on the miniature golf course. The turf will be laid in the spring, and the area will be landscaped.

Work is also being completed on the mountain coaster bridge abutments.

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

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