Steamboat to start spinning Morningside lift Thursday with 80 percent of terrain open |

Steamboat to start spinning Morningside lift Thursday with 80 percent of terrain open

Steamboat Resort will open the Morningside area Thursday. (Photo by Matt Stensland)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort will start spinning Morningside chairlift Thursday, when a total of 143 trails, 2,364 acres and 80 percent of the resort’s terrain will be open.

“We are taking advantage of the continued cold temperatures and the natural snow to create a great product for skiers and snowboarders,” resort spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said. “Personally, I’ve heard from a few people that the past few days have been some of their best top 10 days ever.”

Prior to Thursday, skiers had been able to hike to expert terrain, including the Chutes, Christmas Tree Bowl and some trails off the Pony Express lift, which has yet to open.

By the numbers

Open terrain in early December:
2018: 143 trails, 2,364 acres
2017: 7 trails, 46 acres
2016: 35 trails, 241 acres

“This is certainly incredible early season conditions for Steamboat,” Kasten said. “Mother Nature is helping pile up snow for our guests.”

With the opening of Morningside, the ski area will unveil several previously unnamed trails — including Biscuits, Gravy and Cheesy Grits — that will help ski patrollers locate guests who need help.

“And of course Biscuits and Gravy is in line with the Morningside theme,” Kasten said.

The runs were named by ski patrol supervisor Duncan Draper, who is the owner of the ski area’s ambassador Saint Bernard named Powder.

Plenty of fresh snow in the Morningside area should keep skiers happy Thursday.

In November, the ski area received 59 inches of snow at midmountain. As of Wednesday, the ski area had received 15 inches of snow in December and has a 35-inch base at midmountain with at 47-inch base at the summit.

By comparison, on Dec. 8, 2017, the ski area only had seven trails and 46 acres acres of terrain open due to low amounts of natural snowfall and snowmaking conditions that were not ideal.

During a better year in 2016, the ski area had 35 trails and 241 acres open by Dec. 6.

“When you combine the efforts of our snowmaking crews in November and the natural snow that fell in November and so far in December, you can’t beat the skiing and riding conditions right now,” Kasten said.

According to Kris Sanders, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, the storm pattern is expected to calm a bit.

“Maybe some light snow showers on Friday morning,” Sanders said. “That would be about it.”

Quiet weather is expected for the weekend.

“Steamboat might not be looking at any precipitation until next Tuesday,” Sanders said.

He said the current El Niño storm cycle is pushing storms further south of northern Colorado.

“There could be some changes and some of these systems could track further north,” he said.

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

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