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Steamboat Springs resident Ryan Overstake rides up the first chair Saturday morning at Howelsen Hill.

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Hundreds turn out for free skiing at Howelsen in Steamboat

On a crisp Saturday morning, Gary Smalley was heading up for his sixth lap on Howelsen Hill’s Face, the steep, rolling ski trail that seemingly cascades right into downtown Steamboat Springs. Smalley doesn’t have a season pass to Howelsen, nor does he have a pass to Steamboat Ski Area, but the avid backcountry skier heard that Howelsen was offering free lift tickets Saturday for its public opening day and couldn’t help himself.

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