The Steamboat Ski Area is slated to open right on time.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. expects to run the Christie Peak Express and Preview lifts for Scholarship Day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The first day of skiing and riding for the 2008-09 winter will include the Preview, Stampede, See Ya, Sitz, Jess' Cut-Off and Upper Boulevard trails. Ski Corp. officials plan to make final trail decisions today.
Lift tickets will be available Wednesday for $20 - no season passes will be accepted - and proceeds benefit the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
"I encourage everyone to come out, make a few turns, kick off the season and support a very worthwhile cause," Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond said in a news release Monday.
New snowmaking equipment and cooler nights helped the ski area avoid a late start, Ski Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said. The mountain opened nine days behind schedule last year because of mild weather.
"The improvements that have been put into snowmaking in the past year and past four years have enabled us to make snow even when there were warm temperatures like there were this year," spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said.
Ski Corp. planned to make more snow Monday night and tonight, Kasten said.
"It looked like at mid-mountain there was a 10-inch base" Monday, Lane said.
Scholarship Day will include deals and special events. Bear River Bar & Grill will offer deals on white pizza and beer, and Worried Men will perform there from 1 to 4 p.m. Gondola Joe's will sell $3 white chocolate lattes, and mechanical bull rides will be available in Gondola Square for $5.
The first 500 people on Christie Peak Express will receive free lanyards.
"Even if people aren't going to ski or snowboard, it's a good time to come hang out," Kasten said.
Parking has changed slightly for this year, Lane said. The Meadows lot has been redesigned, and the Knoll parking lot will be open Wednesday. Free parking will be available at both.
Kasten and Lane said they were excited to get Steamboat's ski season going. Kasten said she hoped the skies would help out.
"We're also hoping Mother Nature shows up on opening day," Kasten said. "She's always a welcome guest."