Weather prevents Steamboat Resort from opening operations

Because of high winds and dangerous windchill conditions, officials at Steamboat Resort decided not to open on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

“We are trying to figure out how to deal with Mother Nature right now,” said Loryn Duke, director of communications at Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., shortly after the the decision was made at noon on Wednesday.

“We’ve had reports of 80-plus mph winds sustained up top, and we are still clocking sustained winds around 70 mph at top and the top of the gondola,” she continued. “Even down low, we are talking about really high winds in the range of 50 mph.”

In addition to the high winds, Duke said there was a concern about windchill temperatures that dipped as low as minus 40 degrees.

“That just doesn’t create a safe environment for our staff and guests,” Duke said. “It’s also not a pleasurable environment, so we are not going to open operations today.”

Duke said most guests have been understanding.

“You can literally see the wind right now it’s so strong,” Duke said. “I think people understand what’s going on, and we are working with our guests. Any guest who has questions can go to the Steamboat Resort ticket office or they can call Steamboat Central Reservations with any questions they might have about their skiing and riding.”

Duke said the resort has weather stations around the mountain, including an internal tracking system that measures lift speeds and the wind. She said the numbers were still coming in at noon, but that the strong wind gusts were dangerous.

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“We’ve heard rumors of over 100 mph gusts, but we can’t confirm that,” Duke said. “This is a safety issue for our guests and our staff equally.”

Duke said resort officials met throughout the morning Wednesday while trying to figure out what the opportunities were. They were hopeful that the winds would subside throughout the day, but the conditions were not improving when the decision was made not to open operations.

Weather-related closures are not unheard of at ski resorts. In December, there were windchill temperatures measured at minus 50 that resulted in a delayed opening, and there was another delayed opening in January as crews worked to mitigate dangerous avalanche conditions.

“I don’t know that we can recall the last time we had a full closure,” Duke said Wednesday. “The assumption is that there has been a full closure at some point in the past. I don’t think this is the very first time.”

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