Steamboat Springs Buoyed by more than 5 feet of snow at the Steamboat Ski Area in the past three weeks, ski area officials announced Wednesday a new slate of trail openings for this weekend. By Saturday, about 96 percent of the ski mountain will be open to skiers and riders.
Morningside Park, Rough Rider Basin, the gladed terrain of Pioneer Ridge and the Rabbit Ears Terrain Park are among the openings scheduled for Saturday morning. The Morningside chairlift also will begin operating for the season.
Ski area officials expect to open the Pony Express chairlift Dec. 27. Maverick's Superpipe and Terrain Park also could open by Dec. 27, weather permitting.
"December has come in like a lion, and Steamboat continues to enjoy the bounty of being in a very snowy weather pattern, which shows no signs of stopping anytime soon," Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond said in a news release.
The ski area reported a 36-inch mid-mountain base and a 40-inch base at the summit as of Wednesday. Snow has fallen on the slopes of Mount Werner for 12 of the 17 days of December. Eight of those days recorded 4 inches or more of new snow.
More snow is on the way. A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. today for Mount Werner and other higher-elevation areas of the Gore, Park and Elk mountain ranges. According to the National Weather Service, heavy snow could fall today, with 8 to 16 inches falling at higher elevations by this evening.
A second storm system is expected to move into the region Friday night and Saturday.
The snow and expanded terrain openings coincide with the beginning of the ski season flight program at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden. Wednesday marked the first arrival of the Northwest Airlines route from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Frontier Airlines begins its daily service from Denver this morning, and flights from Dallas, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and other cities begin Saturday.
The new terrain openings mean the Steamboat Ski Area will offer 2,863 acres of terrain can be accessed by 12 lifts and 154 trails. The Lower Vagabond and Moonlight trails are expected to open before Saturday.
Pow Pow Platter offered
Intrawest's three Colorado resorts rolled out their latest special earlier this week.
Called the Pow Pow Platter, the promotion offers skiers and riders a $99 package that includes a day each in Steamboat Springs, Copper Mountain and Winter Park. The deal is available "while supplies last" or until Jan. 31. The platter - a photo ID pass - is unrestricted, and days do not have to be used consecutively. One ticket is valid for one day at each resort. The platter is available at www.powpowplatter.com or by calling 866-763-5958. The pass must be purchased at least 48 hours in advance and can be redeemed at any of the three resorts.