Winter weather in forecast |

Winter weather in forecast

Howelsen Hill to start snowmaking, begin season pass sales

Mike Lawrence

— Two winter storms expected to roll through Steamboat Springs this weekend will arrive just in time to coincide with snowmaking efforts on Alpine trails — and season pass sales — at Howelsen Hill Ski Area.

The Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory — and a winter storm warning for higher elevations — throughout Northwest Colorado. The advisory went into effect Thursday night and continues through 6 a.m. Saturday. Meteorologist Megan Schwitzer said the first storm system could bring 4 to 8 inches of snow to Steamboat by Saturday morning and "up to a foot or more" at higher elevations by that time. The winter weather could continue after that initial storm moves through the area, Schwitzer said.

"We've got a stronger and colder storm moving in behind it," she said.

That second dose could last into Sunday, she added.

Today's high is forecast for 38 degrees with an overnight low of 18 degrees. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent today and tonight with a 60 percent chance of snow Saturday and Saturday night. The Steamboat Springs High School football team kicks off its first playoff game at 7 p.m. today at Gardner Field. For a game preview story, see page 31.

The natural snow could supplement man-made snow on Howelsen Hill. Craig Robinson, the city's ski, rodeo, open space and trails supervisor, said snowmaking has been under way since Nov. 1 at Howelsen's base area and ski jump outruns. Snowmaking is slated to begin today or Saturday on the ski area's Alpine trails.

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Howelsen Hill Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 5, conditions permitting. Robinson said Alpine, Nordic and terrain park season pass sales will begin Tuesday and continue from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays through Dec. 4. The passes will be sold at the concession stand in Howelsen Hill Lodge, 845 Howelsen Parkway.

Season pass sales will continue during normal business hours at the concession stand starting Dec. 5. The price of some season passes increases after Dec. 31.

Howelsen Hill's chairlift will operate Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 12 through March 21, conditions permitting.

Robinson reminded skiers and snowshoers that a Nordic pass or daily ticket is needed for use of all Nordic trails on Howelsen Hill. Dogs are not allowed on Howelsen's Nordic trails. Trails accessed via Black­mere Drive are open to all non-motorized uses and do not require a ticket, Robinson said. A 6-foot hand leash is required for all dogs.

Steamboat Ski Area is scheduled to open Nov. 25 with Scholarship Day; proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund.

Schwitzer, the National Weather Service meteorologist, said her office only forecasts about seven days out.

She said cooler temperatures will prevail into next week, perhaps indicating the area's recent balmy weather may not return.

A National Weather Service news release warned travelers of hazardous road conditions today through Sunday, especially at higher elevations.

Howelsen Hill Ski Area rates and hours for 2009-10

Senior (60+), Adult (19-59), Youth (7-18), Child (6 and younger), Family, Full-time college student

All access price through Dec. 31: $35, $160, $65, $25, $350, $75

Price after Dec. 31: $50, $75, $80, $30, $400, $100

Terrain park pass: N/A, $65, $65, N/A, $100, $50

Nordic trail pass: N/A, $80, $65, N/A, $160, $50

Daily lift tickets: $12, $17, $12, $6, N/A, N/A

Howelsen Hill Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 5. Hours of operation are 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and closed Monday.

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