Storm over Storm Peak: 18 inches of snow leads Steamboat Resort to open two lifts late

Snow continued to fall on a mailbox off Routt County Road 36 in Strawberry Park on Thursday, Jan. 6, as a winter storm moved through the area.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Eighteen inches of snow dropped overnight and delayed the opening of several Steamboat Resort lifts on Thursday morning.

Loryn Duke, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. director of communications, said the resort delayed the opening of Sundown and Storm Peak lifts, as well as the Mountain Coaster, on Thursday, Jan. 6.

Because Steamboat is used to dry powder, the resort’s lifts are not built for ice and wet snow, Duke said. As crews scraped off ice before opening the lifts Thursday, more ice fell, making it nearly impossible to open the lifts on time.

“We’re so used to the Champagne Powder that when we get these heavy storms, it’s a derailment for us,” Duke said. “It’s a miracle that we were able to open the gondola up only two minutes late.”

Duke said Storm Peak lift earned its name because of the heavy snow the area receives, but the wet snow still made it difficult for crews to safely run the lift.

“It was a perfect storm over Storm Peak,” Duke said.

Fonzie leads the way as Kellen Kurtz pulls her daughter, Autumn, through the streets of Steamboat Springs on a sled Thursday morning.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Dan Cuevas, meteoroligist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Steamboat’s 18 inches of snow were a result of a storm coming northwest from Idaho and Wyoming, originating off of the Pacific Ocean.

“It was just a very moist and strong northwesterly blow that kind of swept up over the region,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas added that he expects Steamboat to dry up on Friday with a few lingering showers near the Continental Divide.

Mike Weissblith, meteorologist and author of, said Friday will likely bring bluebird skies, followed by a modest storm on Saturday, before the skies clear and the sun returns for the end of the weekend.

Sunday morning should see colder temperatures than Friday and Saturday with lows around 10 degrees in the city and mid-single digits at the top of Mt. Werner.

However, temperatures will warm as the sun returns by Sunday afternoon, Weissbluth said.

A plow works to clear roads in downtown Steamboat Springs Thursday morning after an overnight storm brought 18 inches of new snow to the area.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today


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