The load testing for the new Burgess Creek Chairlift is scheduled for Saturday, and the ski lift is scheduled to open a week earlier than originally planned.
Steamboat Ski Area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said the opening of the $1.3 million lift is planned for Wednesday.
The new triple chairlift replaces an old double chairlift and cuts the trip by 30 seconds to 7 minutes. The ski area purchased sufficient wind power to meet the needs of the new lift.
The ski area will open the lower Vagabond Trail today and lower Three O'Clock, lower Two O'Clock, lower One O'Clock, lower High Noon, Rolex, Westside and Broadway on Saturday. Those runs will be served by the Elkhead Chairlift.
Lower Shadows, Sundown Express liftline and Priest Creek liftline remain closed, but officials said they hope to open the Sunshine area Dec. 11.
Riders and free skiers who are dreaming of dropping into the Mavericks Super Pipe at the Steamboat Ski Area will have to wait until after Dec. 17, when the Ultimate Bumps and Jumps and the first SoBe Jib Jam in Gondola Square are scheduled to take place.
As the ski season shifts into its second full week of operation next week, officials will be looking ahead to the arrival of several college ski groups, some of whom should be able to catch Ultimate Bumps and Jumps toward the end of their stay.
Students from Georgia Tech, the University of Southern Alabama, Auburn and Georgia Southern will be here from Dec. 13 to 18.
The Crescent Ski Council is returning this year for race camps scheduled for next week. Employees of American Airlines will be in town during the same period, also for race camps.
The Crescent Ski Council is observing its 21st visit to Steamboat. It represents 23 individual ski clubs in the southeastern United States.
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