Steamboat Ski Area commits to being open until at least Thursday |

Steamboat Ski Area commits to being open until at least Thursday

— Steamboat Ski Area officials say the resort will stay open at least through Thursday despite rapidly deteriorating snow conditions.

"We are cautiously optimistic that we will make it through the weekend thanks to Mother Nature," ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said Tuesday.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is even forecasting a chance of snow Thursday night through Saturday night with overnight lows in the upper 20s in the city of Steamboat Springs. Starting Thursday, high temperatures are expected to be in the 50s. Wednesday's high, by comparison, could reach the upper 70s.

With warm weather and little snow, keeping trails open has been a battle for ski area officials and crews. Only about a third of the trails on Mount Werner have been open since April 2, when the lower-mountain trails were closed along with the Sunshine Bowl and Priest Creek areas.

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the upper portion of Rainbow was closed and skiers were diverted to the Chisholm Trail.

"That might open up again as conditions firm up again," Kasten said.

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Keeping the ski area open comes down to a few crucial areas, officials said. Most important is keeping the "Tower" area skiable, Kasten said, referring to the terrain between the top of the Burgess Creek chairlift and Thunderhead, which allows for egress to the gondola being used to bring all skiers both up and down the mountain.

"The trails are obviously being impacted by the weather conditions," Kasten said. "Be aware that there are 'Caution' signs for a reason on the trails."

Conditions are being evaluated daily, Kasten said, and if the ski area has to close before Sunday, traditional closing weekend events will still go on as planned.

The Cardboard Classic is at 10 a.m. Saturday and the Splashdown Pond Skim is at 1 p.m. Sunday. To meet the demand for snow for the events, 30 dump truck loads equaling 300 cubic yards of snow have been trucked to the base area, where it is being stored under white sheets near the Christie Peak Express lift.

To prepare for Springalicious events, the beginner runs currently at the base area will close Friday.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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