Running in white

Ski area opens more of mountain

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— Skiers and riders at the Steamboat Ski Area will get their first crack this weekend at terrain in the Priest Creek Area that previously had not opened for the 2000/2001 ski season.

Public Relations Coordinator Kent Kirkpatrick said Friday that a steady string of modest snowfall amounts since Nov. 25 has helped the ski area plan to open the Sundown Express and Elkhead chairlifts Saturday. That allowed skiers access to the full lengths of trails such as Closets, Shadows and Three O'Clock. In addition, skiers can carve up Rolex and Westside for the first time this winter.

Steamboat's recent spate of little snowstorms began on Nov. 25 and didn't stop until the ski area had tallied 23 inches.

"It was a nice pop," Kirkpatrick said. "It was similar to what we saw just before we opened (four days early on Nov. 18)."

Skiers and riders will want to make the most of the weekend Sundown Express and Elkhead will close again on Monday after visiting weekend skiers depart.

The new terrain at Steamboat brings the total number of trails open to 85 and total acreage of ski terrain to 1,842. That represents 63 percent of Steamboat's total terrain.

The last two expansion areas built by Steamboat, Morningside Park and Pioneer Ridge, have not yet opened for the season, and Kirkpatrick said he could not predict an opening date.

Terrain available this weekend represents 61 percent of Steamboat's beginner and intermediate terrain. Intermediate skiers looking for fresh snow might check out Moonlight, Big Meadow or skiing down High Noon the entire length of the trail.

Confident beginning skiers should be able to traverse down upper High Noon to Rendezvous saddle, then take a scenic cruise down Broadway to the Elkhead lift.

Among the newly opened trails expert skiers will want to check out this weekend are Flying Z Gulch, upper Concentration, Typhoon, Arrowhead Glade and, of course, Rolex.

The complete list of lifts open this weekend includes: Preview, Southface, Christie III, Thunderhead Express, Four Points, Sundown Express, Silver Bullet Gondola, Burgess Creek, Storm Peak Express, Elkhead and Bashor.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210

or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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