Photo by Matt Stensland
Leitner Poma of America employee Richard Dalrymple works in the snow Tuesday on the new Wildhorse gondola that will shuttle passengers from Trailhead Lodge to One Steamboat Place at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
Updated December 9, 2009 at 9:25 a.m.
Steamboat Ski Area will offer top-to-bottom skiing today for the first time this season with the opening of the Storm Peak Express lift and Buddy’s Run and Tornado Lane ski trails.
The expanded terrain openings come on the heels of two days of fresh snow and a forecast that indicates more snow is on the way.
Also opening today, according to a release from Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., is Lower Rainbow, White Out, Blizzard, Norther, BC Liftline and Surprise trails. Later today, Thunderhead Express lift and the Upper Vagabond trail are expected to open, bringing the ski area’s total to 35 trails and six lifts.
Ski Corp. reported 4 inches of snow at mid-mountain in the past 24 hours as of 8:30 a.m. today, and meteorologists say a few more inches of snow may land on the mountain before Thursday.
Jim Pringle, of the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office, said that 2 to 4 inches could fall in the mountains by this evening.
Pringle said the storm that produced much of the snow already has moved out of the region, and the winter weather advisory for the region was lifted but that additional snow could still make for slick roads.
The Weather Service’s forecast shows snow for most of the rest of the week, with a small respite possible Thursday night and Friday.
Temperatures will remain frigid, with a possible wind chill factor of minus 20 degrees today and minus 15 tonight.
With today’s opening of new terrain at the ski area, Ski Corp. will focus its snowmaking efforts on Storm Peak Face, Upper Rainbow, Eagle’s Nest, Betwixt, the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex and Mavericks Terrain Park.
Ski Corp. also reminded skiers and riders that backcountry skiing or hiking up the mountain outside of open areas is not allowed and that crossing a boundary rope carries a possible fine of $1,000.
One major crash in Routt County on Tuesday was attributed to snowy conditions. Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said a car carrying three workers headed toward Twentymile Mine crashed into an irrigation ditch near mile marker 6 on Routt County Road 33.
The driver, whose name was not available Tuesday, suffered serious injuries, and the two passengers had minor injuries. Medical crews took all three to Yampa Valley Medical Center. Elliott said the car was going too fast for the snowy conditions.
Troopers were called to one other crash, a truck stuck in the snow, but there were no injuries.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue spokeswoman Deb Funston said emergency responders were not called to any other major accidents Tuesday, and the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff’s Office reported only minor crashes.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued the first avalanche warnings of the season Tuesday. The high-elevation regions around Steamboat Springs are under a warning until 10 a.m. today, with “considerable” risk of avalanche above treeline and moderate risk below treeline.
The warning includes Mount Zirkel and Hahn’s Peak to the north, and Rabbit Ears Pass and the Flat Tops region to the south.
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