Steamboat Springs The sounds of "yoo hoo," "c'mon" and "sweet," echoed throughout Steamboat Ski Area as people from near and far took advantage of the 20 or so runs opened Friday.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. public relations director Mike Lane said Friday's crowd was about as steady as it was for Wednesday's opening day.
"For the start of this Thanksgiving weekend, we're right on target," he said. "Opening from top-to-bottom tends to draw a lot more people out."
The ski area boasts 45 open trails, which cover about 500 acres. "At this point, we've got about 18 percent of the mountain open. This is really good for an early season," he said.
The busy hum of the snowmaking machines kept skiers and riders company at the base of the mountain and on some trails in preparation for opening more runs. During the next few weeks, groomers will be working diligently to get the other 2,465 acres of the mountain up and running.
Lane said Wednesday's Scholarship Day, a fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, was a huge success and should turn out to be among the top five since the program began in 1991.
"Everything went really well (Wednesday). We are very pleased with it," he said. He expected to have final results of opening day on Monday.
He was glad people were able to find it in themselves to hit the slopes the day after Thanksgiving.
"There are definitely people trying to get that turkey out of their systems," he said.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club members Hanna Berglund, 14, and Carolyn Chotvacs, 15, had skied earlier in the week and were glad to continue Friday.
"I've been traveling to Copper to ski, so it's really nice to finally get to ski here," Berglund said.
Berglund said she has skied at every resort in Colorado and that the terrain in Steamboat is among her favorites. She said skiing this week reminded her of spring because of the warm weather and lack of fresh powder.
"There were definitely some grassy areas and rocks that we ran into coming down," she said. "Trying to hop over them doesn't really work, either."
Chotvacs said the only thing she wishes she could change was the amount of snow on the mountain. "Opening day was fun, although there usually has been better snow and more of it," she said.
Snowboarders Dustin Ford, 20, and Jake Maestas, 20, of Steamboat Springs christened the mountain with their first runs Friday, because neither had snowboarded in Steamboat before.
"It was fantastic," Ford said. "These slopes are steep and fun and a little wild."
The men said they had skied at Keystone for about eight years, so it was difficult to be unfamiliar with the terrain. "There wasn't really enough space for me to do what I wanted in the park, but there were a lot of jibs to mess around on," Ford said.
Brittany Peterson, 20, of Steamboat Springs, who works at RideSports in Gondola Square, said she was working a split shift Friday so she could try to get in as many runs as possible. "The first time is always kind of hard because you're getting back into it, but I'm still here representing," she said.
Mike Gatrell, 19, of Steamboat Springs said that despite some icy spots and the cold, the riding was still what he expected. "It's been all thumbs up," he said. "I love Steamboat."
Ford shared Gatrell's sentiment and couldn't wait to get off the bench he was taking a breather on to get back on his board.
"Steamboat rocks our world, and with that, I think we have to get back on the hill," he said.