It's time for a temperature reading as crews continue to pour on the snow near the Christie Peak Express mid station Monday. The new chairlift underwent a second load test Tuesday.

Larry Pierce/Courtesy

It's time for a temperature reading as crews continue to pour on the snow near the Christie Peak Express mid station Monday. The new chairlift underwent a second load test Tuesday.

Gondola won't run Friday

New Christie Peak Express Chairlift undergoing load tests

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— Crews at the Steamboat Ski Area were simultaneously load testing the new Christie Peak Express Chairlift and working on installation of a new gondola haul rope Tuesday afternoon as they prepared for the belated opening of the ski season Friday.

Steamboat announced Nov. 15 that it would not make its scheduled Nov. 21 opening because of insufficient snowfall and mild temperatures that didn't support snowmaking efforts. Since that time, more than 13 inches of natural snow have fallen at mid-mountain. Overnight temperatures in the valley have dropped into the teens and low single digits.

Ski area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen confirmed Tuesday that the gondola will not be ready to open Friday and stopped short of saying what lifts and trails would be in operation. The ski area expects to announce those details late this afternoon.

"They are doing the second day of load testing on the Christie Peak Express this afternoon," Thomsen said. "It's good to look out the window and see the snow and the chairs installed."

The Steamboat Pilot & Today will post opening day information at www.steamboatpilot.com as soon as it is available.

Overnight temperatures Monday night into Tuesday morning were not as cold (12 degrees) as they had been during the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Steamboat Snowmaking Manager Steve West said the slight moderation in temperatures shifted snowmaking operations toward the bottom of the mountain.

His crews were making snow on the Preview trail Tuesday morning, where the pocket of coldest air had settled, West said.

The forecast for Tuesday night and tonight suggested more of the same. West said his crews would take the opportunity to fill in more of the base area and make more snow on the Vagabond trail, which begins at Thunderhead Peak.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was predicting an 80 percent chance of snow Tuesday night with a low temperature of 11 degrees at 6,700 feet elevation. Today is expected to be cold - daytime highs of 26, with the chance of snow tapering off to 30 percent. It will be cold again tonight with an anticipated low of 10 below. The extended forecast calls for a chance of snow again Thursday and Thursday night, followed by clearing Friday and snow returning Friday night into Saturday.

The ski area was reporting a 9-inch base Tuesday afternoon with a seasonal snowfall total of 32 inches.

Comments

freerider 6 years, 4 months ago

Steamboat always opens if they can...bad press if they don't..so no way the lift had anything to do with anything...they will open early in fact if there's snow////

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another_local 6 years, 4 months ago

pray for... the new Christie lift was never going to be open on opening day, in fact, I think I remember hearing back in the Spring that it was scheduled for the second week of Dec?

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prayforsnow 6 years, 4 months ago

I had heard all of this was supposed to be done before the original opening day. In fact, I think I remember a headline about everything being ready by November 22nd. Could be wrong though. Does anybody feel this played a role in the delay of oepning day?

Also, I am a little confused on this Scholarship day thing I have been reading about. Why would the kids use a voucher to pay the scholarship day price on Saturday so they can still go to school on Friday, when they could just use his/her season pass and go without shelling out the extra cash on Saturday. I guess it will be beneficial to those without passes (not very many I know of), but I still wonder if the numbers will be lower this year for Winter Sports Club.

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prayforsnow 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks another_local. I went back and checked the archives and it did say the middle of December for the new Christie. They did say, however, all the other construction would be done by the 22nd, which I'm not sure that happened...

Freerider... Have they opened earlier than scheduled in previous years?

Also, out of pure curiousty... anybody know why they didn't give us the extra week at the end of the season this year?

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jmemcse 6 years, 4 months ago

Staying open past the end of the season is more involved than you might think. First they need approval from the US Forest Service - they don't automatically give approval, there are many issues they take into consideration. Then they need people to staff the mountain. They have a hard enough time holding employee's through the regular season, let alone the end of the season.

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dontsinktheboat 6 years, 4 months ago

I believe the forest service issue is an urban legend.

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jmemcse 6 years, 4 months ago

Not just a legend dstb. As a former full time year round employee I can tell you that the forest service has more control over what happens at the ski area than you can imagine. Also, my job there gave me access to all record keeping, including finance, and the forest service has a huge finger in the monetary pie as well ($20.00 per skier day). The year I retired SSRC profit per skier day was $6.00.

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momofthree 6 years, 4 months ago

jmemcse, one way to look at that is to say we all profit $20 per skier day, since the forest service is serving all of us in supporting and (theoretically) protecting our public lands. maybe not such a bad thing...

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kusellout 6 years, 4 months ago

What do you expect from a Canadian run company? It's standard operating delay-procedure.

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