Steamboat Ski Area opens Pioneer Ridge for first time this season

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— Four days of steady snow have done wonders for the Steamboat Ski Area. Pioneer Ridge, the last significant area of terrain on Mount Werner yet to open for the season, is now available to skiers and riders.

The Pony Express chairlift is operating for the first time of the 2011-12 season this morning, and all trails in the Pioneer Ridge area are open. The area includes tree-skiing favorite Fetcher Glade and other expert terrain. Virtually all the named trails on Pioneer Ridge are expert. The backcountry gates accessed from the top of Pony Express also are open.

The ski area considers Pioneer Ridge one of its all-natural areas where snowmaking operations don’t supplement natural snowfall.

Ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten warned skiers and riders this morning that avalanche danger is “considerable” and that proper precautions should be taken.

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