Most of ski area opened

96 percent of terrain available

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— Skiers and riders can bask in the sunshine or attack the chutes on Mount Werner today as Steamboat Ski Area opens almost the entire mountain.

It's easier to list the terrain that isn't open than to list the new trails available to snow riders.

Ski area spokesman Mike Lane said the only trails and parks not open are still off limits because of snowmaking operations. They include See Ya, Between, Upper and Lower Concentration, Mother Nature, Voo Doo, SoBe, Terrain Park and Mavericks Superpipe.

Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations, said the

4 1/4 feet of snow that fell during the first nine days of December has the mountain ready for a busy holiday season.

"This was one of Steamboat's legendary snowstorms when we measure accumulation in feet over days," Allen said. "As a result, the mountain is in incredible shape."

Lane said work at Mavericks is ahead of schedule, and it could open late next week, ahead of the typical Dec. 20 opening.

Steamboat will offer 156 trails encompassing 2,845 acres today, or 96 percent of the mountain's terrain. There was a 47-inch base at mid-mountain Friday with 59 inches at the summit.

The Sundown Express and South Peak chairlifts provide access to the long intermediate trails on Sunshine Peak, including Tomahawk, Ramrod, Buckshot, Quickdraw, Flintlock and Sunshine Lift Line. The Sunshine lift will not run, but many skiers and riders prefer to make a lap on South Peak to Sundown Express anyway.

Also opening today is the Morningside lift, giving access to some secret powder stashes in the neighborhood of Alarm Clock and Frying Pan. Many skiers and riders will use Morningside to access Steamboat's double black diamond terrain; the three Chutes, Christmas Tree Bowl and East Face are open.

Thunderhead Express also will be running this weekend to give skiers and riders an alternative to the gondola while skiing mid-mountain.

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