Steamboat, Telluride announce delayed openings as Colorado ski resorts struggle to make snow

Unseasonably warm temperatures that are hampering snowmaking operations at Colorado ski resorts have forced Steamboat to postpone its opening one week from this Saturday to Nov. 27.

Winter Park will open as scheduled on Wednesday, officials there confirmed. Copper Mountain is scheduled to open on Monday and there has been no announcement to the contrary. Telluride tweeted Tuesday morning that its opening, previously scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, is now “targeted” for Dec. 3.

“Anyone who has been in Steamboat, or has been anxiously watching our mountain cameras, knows that Mother Nature hasn’t been cooperating this pre-season,” Steamboat vice president of resort operations Dave Hunter said in a news release. “Normally this time of year we have more than 20 inches of snowfall that has remained (not melted), a 10- to 20-inch mid-mountain base, and 200 hours of snowmaking under our belt. This year we haven’t been able to capitalize on extended snowmaking temperatures and windows with only eight hours of total snowmaking.”

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Steamboat snowmakers are expecting more favorable conditions later this week and next week, according to the release, “making Nov. 27 a realistic opening day.”

Winter Park spokeswoman Jen Miller confirmed that Winter Park will open Wednesday but couldn’t yet say how much terrain will be available to skiers and riders.

“We’re still evaluating what we can open,” Miller said Tuesday morning.

At Purgatory Resort in southwest Colorado, officials are expected to make a decision on Wednesday regarding whether they can open on Saturday as scheduled.

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