Heavy snow forecast | SteamboatToday.com

Heavy snow forecast

Daily dumps could coincide with ski area's holiday hours

Mike McCollum

Steamboat Springs — Keep the shovels and snowblowers handy. — Keep the shovels and snowblowers handy.

— Keep the shovels and snowblowers handy.

“Steamboat has a very good set-up, with mostly westerly winds coming though with enough moisture with those winds for good, terrain-enhanced snow,” Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Tuesday. “Steamboat will have several inches of snow each day, starting Thursday night through Sunday.”

Sunny skies and mild temperatures today likely will be replaced by heavy snowstorms and low temperatures for the next week, Cuoco said.

“It will be very cold with a lot of new snow on the ground,” he said. “It’s going to be below zero at night and warming up to, luckily, 20 degrees during the day.”

Cuoco predicted that up to a foot of snow could fall from Thursday through Sunday on Mount Werner, while downtown Steamboat Springs could receive up to 6 inches of snow each day.

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Skiers and snowboarders looking to take advantage of new powder and get fresh tracks at Steamboat Ski Area might want to set their alarm clocks back 15 minutes, starting today through Jan. 3.

Ski area officials announced Monday that for the next week, lifts will begin operating 15 minutes earlier than usual to accommodate an anticipated high volume of holiday guests.

“We want to take extra steps now to ensure that the holiday experience in Ski Town USA meets or exceeds guests’ expectations,” said Chris Diamond, president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. “Over the past four years, we’ve seen the dramatic difference an early opening can make on starting the holiday experience right.”

The gondola, Christie Peak Express, Thunderhead Express and Preview lifts will begin operating at 8:15 a.m., while Burgess Creek, Four Points, Elkhead, Storm Peak Express and Sundown Express lifts will open at 8:30. The Sunshine Express and South Peak lifts will open at 8:45.

Ski area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said the post-Christmas week is typically one of the ski season’s busiest periods. Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations, suggested a strategy for handling the holiday crowds.

“I would strongly encourage skiers and riders to take advantage of the accelerated opening and get up the gondola early, then use the upper mountain lifts until the high demand for base area lifts in the morning subsides,” Allen said.