Kent Nanke, left, takes a pair of skis from Brandon Nanke on Tuesday as the Iowa family loaded its van with rental equipment in preparation for today’s Scholarship Day at Steamboat Ski Area. All proceeds from today go toward Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club scholarships.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Kent Nanke, left, takes a pair of skis from Brandon Nanke on Tuesday as the Iowa family loaded its van with rental equipment in preparation for today’s Scholarship Day at Steamboat Ski Area. All proceeds from today go toward Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club scholarships.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club aims for strong Scholarship Day attendance

Preview lift, five new trails boost terrain availability

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Past Event

Scholarship Day at Steamboat Ski Area

  • Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Steamboat Ski Area, Mount Werner Road, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $20 - $30

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See Steamboat TV18’s live morning show, “Steamboat Today,” which starts at 7 a.m. today for frequent weather reports and snow conditions. The show airs on Comcast channel 18.

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Open lifts

Gondola and Christie Peak Express: 8:30 a.m.

Burgess Creek and Four Points: 8:45 a.m.

Storm Peak Express and Preview: 9 a.m.

Open terrain

■ Green

Arc, BC Ski Way, Big Foot, Boulevard, Duster, Feather, Flat Out, Main Drag, Park Lane, Right-O-Way, So What, Southface Park, Stampede, Why Not, Yoo Hoo

■ Blue

Big Meadow, Blizzard, Buddy’s Run, Calf Roper, Chisolm Trail, Dusk, Ego, Heavenly Daze, High Noon, Highline, Jess’ Cut Off, Lightning, Meadow Lane, One O’Clock, Rainbow, Rudi’s Run, Sitz, Skyline, Tornado Lane, Tower, Traverse, Vagabond, Vogue

■ Blue/black

Flying Z Gulch, Norther, Sunset, Surprise, Two O’Clock

■ Black

Burgess Creek Lift Line, Closet, Crowtrack, Cyclone, Drop Out, Flying Z, Four Points Lift Line, Hurricane, Kuus’ Cruise, Nelson’s Run, Oops, Shadows, Storm Peak Catwalk, Storm Peak North, Storm Peak South, Sundown Lift Line, The Ridge, Three O’Clock, Tornado, Triangle 3, Twilight, Twister, Typhoon, Valley View, Vertigo, Vortex, White Out

— The amount of financial assistance provided by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is greater than ever.

Executive Director Rick De­­Vos said the Winter Sports Club provided twice as many scholarships before the 2009-10 season as it did the previous year. He said that number doubled again this year.

That’s why DeVos said it’s so important for the Winter Sports Club that Steamboat Ski Area has a good turnout today for the 20th annual Scholarship Day. All proceeds are given to the Winter Sports Club, which has more than 1,000 participants.

Scholarship Day lift tickets are $30. Lower mountain tickets with access to only the Christie Peak Express and Preview lifts will be $20.

Season passes won’t be accepted until Thursday.

“We’re hoping a year like this that the snow will bring out a lot of folks,” DeVos said.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. announced last week that it would offer top-to-bottom skiing for its opening for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Ski Corp. officials announced Tuesday that an additional lift and five more trails would be available for Scholarship Day, bringing the number of lifts open to six and trails to 71.

Fierce weather expected

As of Monday evening, the ski area was reporting 82 inches of snow for the season, 1 inch shy of the November record set in 2005.

More snow is on the way. A blizzard warning is in effect until noon today for Steamboat and the ski area.

Bill Daniels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Ser­vice office in Grand Junction, said a “very strong cold front” Tuesday night could result in as much as a foot of snow at the ski area with 4 to 8 inches expected in town. But he said snowfall may not be evident everywhere because of high winds.

Daniels said winds at the ski area Tuesday night into this morning could be 40 to 50 miles per hour with gusts in exposed areas of 70 to 75 mph. He said the wind would die down to gusts of 50 mph near the time the gondola and Christie Peak Express lifts open at 8:30 a.m. Daniels said it likely will remain windy this afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to be in the single digits this morning, Daniels said. He said similar conditions could be expected tonight into Thursday morning for Thanksgiving and the official Opening Day at the ski area.

“This is a significant artic outbreak for us,” Daniels said. “For this time of year, for the strength and intensity of this, it probably is unusual.”

Ski Corp. spokeswoman Lor­yn Kasten said the ski area is ready for the beginning of the 2010 season and Scholarship Day.

“Mother nature is expected to pack a huge punch, but we are ready for it,” she said. “The only thing that would potentially prevent us from opening is high winds.”

Kasten said if high winds prevented the opening or forced closure of lifts, they would be up and running as soon as possible.

DeVos said because the need for Winter Sports Club scholarships is increasing during the economic recession, he hopes Scholarship Day is a success. Winter Sports Club annual dues range from $75 for young children to as much as $4,000 for upper-level competitive athletes.

He said the Winter Sports Club raised about $75,000 on Scholarship Day in 2005, a record for snow and Scholarship Day proceeds. DeVos said the total has been as low as $10,000 when there’s little snow.

Scholarship Day raised $32,500 last year when only 12 trails were available.

DeVos said he hopes Wed­­nesday’s forecast doesn’t scare any skiers and riders away.

“We live here for winter,” he said. “A storm like this, I used to get out of bed at 6 a.m. for snow like this. I’d hate to think we don’t like the winter anymore. We’re excited for tomorrow’s weather and hope everyone will get into the swing of things during this early winter, which is what we all hope for.”

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