Steamboat Ski Area kicks off 50th anniversary season |

Steamboat Ski Area kicks off 50th anniversary season

Michael Schrantz

Beginner skiers ride a magic carpet at Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday, the first day season passes were accepted. With as much mud around as snow, it definitely was a "make the most of it" kind of day and plenty did.

— As Rich Rucker was wrapping up skiing on the official Opening Day at Steamboat Ski Area, he paraphrased Warren Miller: There's never been a bad day of skiing.

After seven years working for the ski area, Rucker said, he's focusing on being a "true, aging ski bum." On Thursday, that entailed getting out on the slopes and enjoying some of the first turns of the ski area's 50th anniversary season.

The terrain might have been a bit limited — only Christie Peak Express chairlift was running — but that didn’t bother Rucker.

"It's great," he said about being on the mountain. "They've done a great job of getting this place ready."

And if being on the slopes wasn't enough, adding Thanksgiving with family surely would top it off.

All six members of the York family from Kingfisher, Okla., were skiing Thursday. Jacob York said Opening Day conditions were a little better than Scholarship Day on Wednesday.

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Jacob and his father, Trent, his mother, Terri, and his sister, Madison, were taking a break out in front of the umbrella bar at the base area while siblings Mason and Colton continued to ski.

By 11 a.m., the warm weather was helping to fill seats on the terrace in front of Bear River Bar & Grill. Bloody marys and morning beers dotted the tables as skiers and pedestrians soaked in the Opening Day vibes.

More than a few trailing hems collected a little mud, but the gondola and part of Heavenly Daze are scheduled to open Friday, when single-day lift ticket prices increase to $59, and a slight chance of snow is in the forecast for Steamboat on Sunday night.

To quote Warren Miller, "The best place in the world to ski is where you're skiing that day."

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email