Steamboat Resort opens Saturday with a tiny fraction of skiable terrain, Beaver Creek to open Monday

Steamboat resort will open for skiing and riding on Saturday and Beaver Creek is expected to open on Monday, bringing the number of Colorado ski areas in operation to 15.

Both Steamboat and Beaver Creek had to postpone their previously scheduled openings due to mild weather. Steamboat was scheduled to open last Saturday and Beaver Creek was scheduled to open this past Wednesday.

Steamboat will open five trails on 20 acres. That’s less than 1% of the resort’s total skiable acres of 2,965.

“This has been a particularly dry and warm pre-season,” Dave Hunter, Steamboat’s vice president of resort operations, said in a news release. “Snowmaking depends on wet-bulb temperatures, which is a combination of temperatures and low humidity to create the ideal temperature for mimicking Mother Nature. Our five-year average wet bulb temperature is 15 degrees, and this season our average wet bulb temperature has been 20 degrees. Those extra five degrees make a huge difference. Ideal snowmaking conditions range between 12-18 degrees. We’ve asked a lot of our snowmakers, and they have stepped up to the challenge.”

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Crested Butte, which opened Wednesday, has nine of 150 trails in operation. Aspen opened Friday with 10 of its 87 trails, and nearby Snowmass opened a small learner area.

Beaver Creek spokeswoman Rachel Levitsky said Beaver Creek is now “targeting” Monday for opening day.

Prospects for cold temperatures and natural snowfall the next few days are not good, according to OpenSnow, an independent reporting service that tracks mountain snowfall and forecasts.

“We’ll see dry weather, a lot of sunshine and comfortable-to-warm temperatures through about Friday, Dec. 3,” OpenSnow founding meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote in his Friday summary. “The main storm track will be to our north, and our only chance for light precipitation will be around Dec. 3 in the northeastern mountains.”

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