Steamboat Resort gets one of earliest starts to snowmaking in the ski area’s history
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Thursday night marked the official start of snowmaking operations for the 2019-20 winter season at Steamboat Resort.
David Hunter, vice president of mountain operations for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., said in a news release this marks one of the earliest starts for such operations in the resort’s history.
“Our crews are eager to begin building a base for the season,” he said in the release.
Natural snowfall and cooler temperatures have bode well for the ski area as it plans to open four days earlier this year on Nov. 23. Storms have dumped 44 inches of snow at midmountain over the previous week, according to the resort’s measurement stakes.
On Oct. 10, the first snow storms of the month and a drop in temperatures allowed crews to make some snow in the early morning. Loryn Duke, director of communications at Ski Corp., called it a preparatory project and not the official beginning of snowmaking. Crews piled manmade snow into wave-like “whales,” which they will later spread over trails.
Starting Thursday night, the ski area plans to use about 100 snowmaking guns on the mountain. Crews will focus their efforts on trails around the top of Christie Peak Express, according to the news release. Those include Sitz, Jess’ Cut Off, Vogue, Short Cut, Stampede and All Out.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is calling for a cold front for this weekend, which should help snowmaking efforts. Meteorologists predict a low of 21 degrees Friday, dipping to a low of 8 degrees by Sunday night.
After several clear, sunny days, another snow storm should hit Steamboat on Sunday, according to local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com.
He expects 3 to 6 inches of snow accumulation in Steamboat, with 6 to 12 inches of snowfall on the ski area. Starting next week, he expects cooler temperatures to be the norm as a cold front brings “bitterly cold air” from the North Pole.
That means wintery landscapes of frost-tipped trees and white-blanketed mountains likely are here to stay.
“I don’t think this snow is going away, certainly on the north side,” Weissbluth said. “We may have our snowpack on the valley floor started for the season.”
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