Higher temperatures in Steamboat forecast after weekend storms clear

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Steamboat Ski Area spring hours

Lifts will begin operating on a spring schedule Feb. 23 because of extended daylight hours. New lift closing times are as follows:

3:30 p.m. Morningside and Pony Express

3:45 p.m. Storm Peak Express, Sundown Express and Sunshine Express

4 p.m. Burgess Creek, South Peak, Preview, Gondola and Thunderhead Express

4:15 p.m. Elkhead

4:30 p.m. Christie Peak Express

— Steamboat will feast on powder this weekend before March comes in like a lamb.

Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth predicted Thursday that Steamboat skiers would enjoy 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow Friday morning followed by 3 to 6 inches Saturday morning before Sunday delivers the main course: perhaps 6 to 12 inches by Sunday and the possibility of second helpings with another 6 to 12 inches Monday.

“The showers taper off during the day Monday, and periods of sun appear,” Weissbluth wrote in an email Thursday morning. “The last storm in this series moves over the area late Monday night into Tuesday, though model trends are weakening this system as a ridge builds over the West Coast bringing warmer and drier weather through the following weekend.”

Weissbluth maintains the snow forecasting website www.snowalarm.com.

Weather Underground was confirming Weissbluth’s early forecast of a mild March 1, calling for sunny skies and a high of 34 degrees with a moderate warming trend continuing through the weekend of March 2 and 3, when highs could reach 37 degrees.

If that early forecast pans out, it could mean the beginning of spring skiing as daylight saving time begins March 10. The hours of daylight are lengthening by more than two minutes each day, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. By March 10, Steamboat will see 11 hours and 43 minutes of daylight compared with the 11 hours of daylight Steamboat will enjoy Friday. Because of the added sunlight, Steamboat Ski Area will extend the hours of operation of some of its lifts beginning Saturday.

As the snowy pattern persists throughout the weekend, the mountains around Steamboat are making modest gains on typical snowpack for the date. Lynx Pass in South Routt stands at 92 percent of average, Rabbit Ears Pass is at 72 percent, Dry Lake above Strawberry Park is at 82 percent, and the Tower measuring site near the summit of Buffalo Pass is lagging at 65 percent, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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