An unidentified skier makes the first turns down the newly re-graded Headwall ski trail at the Steamboat Ski Area on Wednesday. The resort reported 10 fresh inches of snow at mid-mountain, but won't open until Nov. 30.

Larry Pierce/Courtesy

An unidentified skier makes the first turns down the newly re-graded Headwall ski trail at the Steamboat Ski Area on Wednesday. The resort reported 10 fresh inches of snow at mid-mountain, but won't open until Nov. 30.

Snow, frigid weather a welcome arrival

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Bruce's Trail groomed for Nordic skiing

Nordic skiers can get back in action today after Dave Miller of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council groomed 10 inches of compactable snow on Bruce's Trail on Rabbit Ears Pass on Wednesday afternoon.

Bruce's Trail was built 15 years ago specifically to provide groomed cross-country skiing in late autumn, when there isn't sufficient snow in the valley. Bruce's Trail is in the Routt National Forest and is accessed via a parking lot on the north side of U.S. Highway 40 about 14 miles from Steamboat Springs.

New this year, skiers will find a more substantial bridge over the creek that flows between the parking lot and the ski trails.

The Nordic Council anticipates heavy usage of Bruce's Trail this holiday weekend and urges skiers to leave their dogs at home.

The Steamboat Ski Touring Center confirmed Wednesday it was not yet ready to open.

— There is more to be thankful for at Mount Werner this morning after 10 inches of snow fell Tuesday night and Wednesday at the Steamboat Ski Area.

Resort officials say the forecast for continuing cold weather has buoyed snowmaking operations as Steamboat looks ahead to its rescheduled Nov. 30 opening day.

"With last night's temperatures dipping sharply and more snow forecasted later this week, snowmaking crews are in full swing. I'm optimistic that we will be able to keep it up for the next several days," said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations for the ski area.

Steamboat Ski Area officials announced Nov. 15 that insufficient natural snow and mild temperatures would force it to pass on its traditional day-before-Thanksgiving opening.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction forecasts overnight lows tonight into Friday to range from zero degrees to 10 degrees below zero. Those temperatures could give the ski area what it needs to get the mountain open.

There's more frigid weather on tap Friday, and overnight lows are expected to continue to hover in the single digits and teens well into next week.

Steamboat Ski Area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said Steamboat's snowmaking crews made snow on the upper Vagabond trail at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night. They also made a little snow on Eagles Nest and Giggle Gulch. Officials similarly are paying close attention to the upper mountain, where the temperature at the top of Buddy's Run reached 6 degrees Tuesday night. That raises the possibility of making snow near the top of Storm Peak, she said.

"They are looking at other opportunities for making snow in the next few days," she said. "The temperatures are so crucial now, and it really helps to have this consistently cold weather."

Steamboat was one of a number of Colorado resorts that postponed the start to the ski season last week. Vail announced it would delay for five days, and it opened Wednesday with skiing on one run off the Born Free Express chair lift.

The 10 inches of natural snow that fell at mid-mountain Wednesday put Steamboat in good stead, at least in that category. Its companion resorts, Copper Mountain and Winter Park (at higher elevation) are already open.

They received 4 and 6 inches of snow, respectively, from the recent storm.

When Steamboat opens Nov. 30, it will be for Scholarship Day, which benefits the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

With Friday's opening being a school day, the resort will offer local students, teachers and administrators the incentive to stay in class and still enjoy the benefits of Scholarship Day.

The resort will provide a special voucher to students, which allows skiing and riding on Dec. 1 at Scholarship Day prices, which are yet to be announced.

Beginning Dec. 1, all season and value passes will become valid for the season. That's also the day Steamboat plans to dedicate the new Christie Peak Express, a six-passenger high-speed chairlift.

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