The Bar-UE chairlift boasts a heaping of powder Tuesday at the Steamboat Ski Area. The resort received 21 inches of snow since midday Monday.

Larry Pierce/courtesy

The Bar-UE chairlift boasts a heaping of powder Tuesday at the Steamboat Ski Area. The resort received 21 inches of snow since midday Monday.

More snow in forecast

Expect a white Christmas with 2 feet of accumulation predicted

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Keep up with the conditions

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Larry Pierce/Courtesy

Australian skier Karinya Turnbull was all smiles Tuesday in Steamboat Springs.

— Yampa Valley residents dreaming of a white Christmas might have their wish answered this year. Mother Nature is expected to bring Mount Werner as much as 2 feet of snow through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm watch will be in effect beginning at 6 a.m. Christmas Day through the end of the day Friday, meteorologist Paul Frisbie said Tuesday. The storm system will begin moving into the area from the southwest tonight, but the Flat Tops probably will protect Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas from anything but flurries until Christmas night, Frisbie said.

Once the snow picks up, the slopes at the Steamboat Ski Area and higher elevations can expect 1 to 2 feet of snow; 6 to 12 inches are expected in town, Frisbie said.

Christmas Day skiers should be greeted with seasonably warm temperatures, with a daytime high of 30 degrees. But they also will be greeted with wind gusts up to 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Overnight lows tonight and Thursday are forecast in the low teens.

Lift hours extended through holidays

In anticipation of holiday crowds, the Steamboat Ski Area will extend its hours of operation Friday through New Year's Eve.

The gondola, Christie Peak Express and Preview chairlifts will open at 8:15 a.m.; Burgess Creek, Elkhead, Four Points and Storm Peak Express will begin operating at 8:30 a.m.; and Sundown Express, Sunshine Express and South Peak will follow suit at 8:45 a.m., according to a news release.

All lifts will cease daily operations at their usual times throughout the holiday period, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said Tuesday.

Conditions permitting, the ski area plans to open the Pony Express lift Saturday, Kasten said, as well as the Maverick's Superpipe and Terrain Park, and the Bashor lift.

Thanks to 20 inches of new snow Monday and Tuesday, the Steamboat Ski Area is reporting a 54-inch base at mid-mountain and season-to-date snowfall of 117 inches.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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