Closing time

Today is the final day of the ski area's 41st season

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Today is the last day to ride the slopes of Mount Werner, and the forecast Saturday predicted there should be a few new inches of snow to enjoy.

Lift tickets are free today, as is a sunrise Easter service on the third floor of Thunderhead and a 3 p.m. concert with the Marshall Tucker Band at the base.

Wind gusts of more than 50 mph Saturday forced the Steamboat Ski Area to close for the second consecutive weekend, leaving the base area looking like a ghost town. Six inches of snow had fallen on the summit, and two inches had fallen at mid-mountain between Friday night and Saturday morning, but skiers and snowboarders had to wait until 1:40 p.m. for the gondola to open because of the stiff winds from the northeast.

The Southface lift opened at 8:30 a.m., and a few skiers used it to take laps around the base of the mountain. At 1:40 p.m., Storm Peak Express, Elkhead and Burgess Creek lifts also opened.

"The skiing here is decent," said Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Public Relations Director Mike Lane. "The new snow helped. The groomers will be running tonight, and with the colder weather tonight, it should be nice tomorrow."

There was an 80 percent chance of snow Saturday evening, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, and a high of 48 degrees and partly cloudy skies were predicted for today. The wind also was expected to die down to gusts as fast as 20 mph.

The slower winds should mean the opening of Sundown Express, Sunshine, Bashor, Morningside and South Peak lifts in addition to the others that were open Saturday, Lane said.

The Mavericks Superpipe and SoBe Terrain Park also should be open.

Trails on the upper portion of the mountain are in good shape, Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond stated in a prepared statement. However, recent unseasonably high temperatures may mean that skiers and snowboarders will have to ride the gondola down.

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