Steamboat Ski Area to open early |

Steamboat Ski Area to open early

Steamboat Ski Area to open early for first time in 13 years

Steamboat Springs skier Gordon Watson couldn't wait for the ski area to open this year, so he hiked up the mountain to make his first runs of the year. But for those who prefer to ride the chairlift, Steamboat Ski Area announced Tuesday that it plans to open for the season early on Saturday and Sunday allowing riders to access 1,100 vertical feet off of the Christie Peak Express chairlift. The ski area will resume daily operations on Nov. 25 with the annual Scholarship Day, which supports the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's scholarship programs. Officials said skiers should expect to ski down from the gondola on that day and possibly access some upper mountain terrain as well.
John F. Russell

— With 41 inches of natural snowfall at mid-mountain, sustained cold temperatures, aggressive snowmaking efforts and additional snow in the forecast, Steamboat Ski Area announced an early opening to the 2015-16 winter season.

For the first time since the winter of 2002-03, Steamboat will kick off the season early with a special advance opening weekend Saturday and Sunday, with skiing and riding on approximately 1,100 vertical feet off the Christie Peak Express chairlift from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

The resort will reopen for daily operation on Scholarship Day Nov. 25, when it expects to provide skiing and riding from the Gondola and possibly the upper mountain.

“The Champagne powder snow has been falling in abundance this month and shows no signs of letting up,” Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Rob Perlman said in a news release. “We’re excited to be opening ahead of schedule and couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the new season for pass holders, guests and locals while celebrating all the early season powder.”

Season passes will be valid this weekend, and lift tickets will run $49 on Saturday and Sunday.

The resort’s annual opening day tradition, Scholarship Day, benefits the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club scholarship programs. Scholarship Day tickets will be priced at $30 with a $20 Christie Peak Express lower mountain option also available. Season passes cannot be used on Scholarship Day.

Snow started falling during the most recent storm Monday morning. In a 24-hour period, the ski area received 10 inches of snow at mid-mountain and five inches at the summit.

“We’re off to what should be a great winter season with the news of an early opening at Steamboat,” Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark said in an email. “This is great news that should spur reservation activity and get visitors excited for a big year.”

Many businesses at the base area are still gearing up for the season.

Ski Corp.’s food and beverage options this weekend will include the Bear River Bar and Grille and the Umbrella Bar.

Free parking will be available at the Meadows and Knoll parking lots.

The ticket office will be open this week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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

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