Howelsen Opens - Free Sundays Return
● By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS- North America’s Oldest Operating Ski Area, Howelsen Hill, will greet skiers and riders for the 103rd winter on Saturday, November 24, 2018. The 2018/19 season is scheduled to run through Sunday, March 10, 2019 and again includes the popular Ski Free Sunday program.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Brad Setter, Howelsen Hill Supervisor. “Mother Nature provided the initial layer, and our snowmaking crews, working around the clock, have cranked out a massive amount of snow over the past two weeks, setting the ski area up nicely as we head toward opening day.”
The ski area will begin turning the Schnackenberg Poma at 10am on Saturday. The Poma is scheduled to operate Tuesday-Sunday during normal operating hours (closed on Monday). Alpine terrain will feature the Face, an expert trail, and beginner terrain in Pony Land. The Boardwalk carpet will provide access to Pony Land; however, the small magic carpet will not operate at this time.
With exceptional snowmaking, a short loop behind the rodeo grandstands allows classic and skate skiers to enjoy the Nordic Center on opening day. Currently no fat bike trails are available. A lift ticket or season pass is required to use the Nordic terrain and may be obtained at the Concession Stand in the Lodge.
The highly popular Ski Free Sunday program returns providing free skiing on Sundays throughout the season. With incredible snowmaking efforts, Ski Free Sunday will open two weeks earlier than planned, starting on Sunday, December 2, instead of the scheduled mid-December start. Ski Free Sunday runs every Sunday through Closing Day, March 10. Over the winter, specific Sundays could see limited or closed terrain due to special events or competitions.
“The start of the ski season is always an exciting time, and the hard work by so many at the hill will enable skiers and riders to enjoy their first turns on groomed trails,” continued Setter. “Please help us as we work toward getting additional terrain ready for the season by staying off closed trails and all snowmaking snow piles.”
The city will announce when additional alpine terrain, Nordic trails and the Barrows lift will open based on new snow and additional snowmaking over the coming weeks. It should be noted that Yampa Valley Electric Association’s project to relocate the power lines in the vicinity of Long John trail continues. The project may impact the ski area into December with alpine and Nordic trail closures.
For operating hours, current conditions as well as season pass and ticket rates, visit steamboatsprings.net/skior call 970.879.8499. Open Wednesday and Friday from 3pm-6pm, the Concession Stand will be CLOSEDon Thanksgiving before moving to regular hours starting Saturday. Additionally, the website will have up-to-date Nordic conditions or individuals can call the Nordic Hotline at 970.871.7084.