Summer begins at Steamboat Ski Area |

Summer begins at Steamboat Ski Area

Gondola opens Wednesday; trails closed until June 24

It could be a while before the view looks like this from the top of Steamboat Ski Area. Resort officials expect some trails to open June 24. This shot was taken late last July.

— Ignore the deep snowpack clinging to the upper reaches of Mount Werner. The Steamboat Ski Area kicks off its daily summer operations Wednesday, although hiking and biking trails on the mountain won't open for at least another week.

Wednesday's opening includes the gondola, a couple of dining options and three retail stores. The gondola will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are valid all day, weather permitting.

The Oasis Sundeck, at the top of Thunderhead, also opens Wednesday, offering food and beverages. The other ski-area-operated dining option opening Wednesday is Gondola Joe's in Gondola Square.

Also in Gondola Square, the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone opens for the summer Saturday during the fifth annual Free Family Fun Festival. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Record snowpack has delayed the start of the hiking and biking season at Steamboat Ski Area until June 24. All trails are closed until then, according to Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials.

To get the trails ready for users, crews have been plowing, snowblowing and shoveling snow from some trails to help the drying process, according to a Ski Corp. news release. The Zig Zag and Valley View mountain bike trails are likely to be the first to open.

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"Another week of good weather will allow the mountain to continue to dry out as well as protect the integrity of the trails," said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations for the ski area.

A landslide on the Vertigo ski trail is delaying the opening of the Thunderhead hiking trail, according to the ski area.

As a temporary alternative for hikers, the Why Not trail will open June 24. It will close once the Thunderhead trail is ready for foot traffic.

Sweet Mountain Tees, RideSports in One Steamboat Place and Steamboat Ski & Sport in downtown Steamboat also open Wednesday.

Summer 2011 gondola ticket prices

Adults 18 to 24 $20

Teens 13 to 17 $15

Children 6 to 12 $10

Children 5 and younger Free

Seniors 65 and older $17

Parent/grandparent and child 6 to 12 $25

Parent/Grandparent and teen $30

*Gondola rides are free for 2010-11 and 2011-12 unrestricted season pass holders

*Gondola summer passes can be bought for $95 for children, teens and adults, or $45 for seniors 65 and older

*A one-day mountain bike lift ticket is $10

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