A full pack of skiers and snowboarders ride the Christie Peak Express chairlift at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday. Holiday crowds flocked to the ski area all weekend. The Pony Express lift opens today as more snow is expected to hit by  Thursday. See the full story on page 5.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

A full pack of skiers and snowboarders ride the Christie Peak Express chairlift at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday. Holiday crowds flocked to the ski area all weekend. The Pony Express lift opens today as more snow is expected to hit by Thursday. See the full story on page 5.

Pony Express opens today at the Steamboat Ski Area

5 to 10 inches of snow expected at ski area by Thursday

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— The Pony Express lift opens today at Steamboat Ski Area, a Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman said Sunday.

As of today, with Sunday’s opening of the Pioneer Ridge trails, which were accessible by foot from the Last Chance run and not groomed, Ski Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said 145 trails and 2,460 acres are open — 82.9 percent of the ski area’s permitted terrain.

And Lane said with today’s opening of the Pony Express lift, 16 of the ski area’s 18 lifts are in operation.

The ski area will continue to operate lifts early through Thursday, Lane said.

Those include the gondola and Christie Peak Express lifts opening at 8:15 a.m., followed by the Four Points lift at 8:30 a.m. and the Storm Peak Express and Elkhead lifts at 8:45 a.m. Each opening is 15 minutes earlier than normal and is intended to help disperse skiers and riders during the early morning rush.

The National Weather Ser­vice’s forecast office in Grand Junction projects 5 to 10 inches of snow falling at the ski area by late Thursday night, forecaster Norv Larson said. He said between 3 and 6 inches inches could fall in the city of Steamboat.

Larson said the snow expected by New Year’s Eve won’t fall in a single storm, but intermittently between Tuesday and Thursday. He said a majority of this week’s snow would fall Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and would continue lightly on and off through Thursday.

“It doesn’t look like there’s any one period that’s particularly heavy,” Larson said.

But he said the chance for snow could increase as the week goes on.

In addition to the snow, he said temperatures should begin to increase slightly overnight and into the afternoon but still would remain below freezing.

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