Steamboat Springs skier Grant McNamara slides down a rail placed at the top of the Vogue ski run Wednesday morning at Steamboat Ski Area. Skiers and snowboarders got their first taste of the 2012-13 season during Scholarship Day, which benefits the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's scholarship fund.
Skiers excited by Scholarship Day, Steamboat Ski Area opening
Steamboat Springs The sound of snowmaking guns was in the air Wednesday morning as the faithful gathered in front of Christie Peak Express chairlift and waited for the rope to drop on the first turns of the season.
The atmosphere at the base of Steamboat Ski Area was primed and excited for Scholarship Day, which benefits the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's scholarship fund with the sales of $20 lift tickets.
Charlie Spare moved to Steamboat Springs from Michigan only a month ago, but he was among the first 100 waiting in line at Christie Peak well before the 8:30 a.m. first chair. Looking up at Mount Werner, Spare said this — the ski area — was why he came here.
Also among the first 100 — those in it for the free T-shirt and bragging rights as much as the turns — was the Pasquella family from Lake Forest, Ill. This was their fourth consecutive time being part of the T-shirt club (there’s evidence of last year’s wait) and their sixth Scholarship Day.
Scholarship Day has become part of the annual tradition that brings the Pasquella family and the Durburg family — Jake Durburg, 14, also was in line Wednesday — to Steamboat for Thanksgiving week.
Mark Pasquella, the patriarch, brought the coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts to the front of the line but left the skis and boots to the kids.
Not deterred by the brown patches under the lift, Jack Pasquella, 13, shrugged and said, “It’s snow.” Jack and siblings Michael, 12, and Catherine, 10, were committed to getting their turns in.
One line over, Ted Carleton, of Kansas City, said he took a gamble by coming to Steamboat earlier than he typically has in the previous 39 seasons he has been visiting. Carleton was taking in his first Scholarship Day and got out early to be among the first on the hill Wednesday.
Trails open Wednesday included Sitz, Vogue, Stampede and Jess’ Cut-Off. The Desperado learning area also is open, and a few terrain features are open at the top of Vogue.
The regular season officially opens Thanksgiving Day with $49 lift tickets. Season passes and multiday lift tickets also will be honored starting Thanksgiving Day. Single-day lift ticket prices will increase to $59 when the gondola opens at 8:30 a.m. Friday, adding Heavenly Daze to the available terrain.
Little natural snow is in the immediate forecast for Steamboat, but snowmaking should continue if overnight temperatures stay low enough. Lows are forecast in the 20s at about 9,000 feet through the weekend. Ski area spokesman Mike Lane previously said snowmaking typically is possible once the temperature hits 24 degrees (humidity also is a factor).
This is the 50th anniversary season for the ski area, and even if there isn’t more snow this weekend, the base area will be alive with the sounds of the Bud Light Rocks the Boat concert series’ first act at 2 p.m. Saturday: New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band.