Gondola, 4 Points lift to open today | SteamboatToday.com

Gondola, 4 Points lift to open today

Available terrain doubles; Storm Peak hopeful for this weekend

Melinda Dudley

Steamboat Springs — With today's opening of the gondola and 4 Points chairlift, Steamboat Ski Area officials have more than doubled the amount of terrain available to skiers and snowboarders. — With today's opening of the gondola and 4 Points chairlift, Steamboat Ski Area officials have more than doubled the amount of terrain available to skiers and snowboarders.

— With today’s opening of the gondola and 4 Points chairlift, Steamboat Ski Area officials have more than doubled the amount of terrain available to skiers and snowboarders.

Now with six lifts and 32 trails encompassing 365 acres open for use, the ski area hopes to make Storm Peak accessible as early as this weekend, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said Tuesday.

The gondola is ready to take its first passengers of the year to Thunderhead Peak after crews finished installing a new 60-ton, 3.4-mile haul rope Monday. The ski area determined the cable needed to be replaced this fall, due to irregularities in the old haul rope that sometimes interfered with loading.

With the opening of the 4 Points lift, skiers and riders will be able to access trails including Rainbow, Tornado Lane, Hurricane, Typhoon and the upper portions of Tornado, Nelson’s Run and Twister. The 4 Points Hut will also open daily beginning today.

The Burgess Creek lift opened Tuesday, but was shut down for an hour in the afternoon due to an electrical problem, Lane said.

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Burgess Creek is not the first lift to give the ski area problems in this young season. On Saturday, its second day in operation, the new, high-speed Christie Peak Express lift was shut down twice due to ice buildup and mechanical problems stemming from a broken belt.

The ski area has received 32 inches of snow in the past two weeks, and on Tuesday reported a 19-inch base at mid-mountain and a 25-inch base at the summit, varying from packed powder to man-made conditions.

The ski area shouldn’t expect much more natural snow this week. A weak storm is due to come into Steamboat Springs tonight, dropping only about an inch of powder before clearing Thursday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Ludington said.

There are indications that a second, warmer storm will come through the area sometime during the weekend, however it is still unclear whether it will bring rain or snow to Steamboat, Ludington said.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com