Snow-making efforts under way

— Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp crews made snow on Mount Werner Wednesday night and Thursday morning for the first time this fall.

"We typically start in the middle of October, so we might be a day or two early," ski area spokesman Mike Lane said.

Temperatures must drop to about 22 degrees to start making snow. To continue the work, it can't get any warmer than 28 degrees, said Doug Allen, director of mountain operations for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

"Last night (Wednesday) was the first night that we could sustain the temperatures," Allen said.

The work started at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday and continued until about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. Allen said this first night of snowmaking was a "shake down" run to make sure everything worked OK.

"We were able to make some good quality snow," Allen said.

Five inches of snow fell on top of the mountain earlier this week and five more are in the forecast for today, Allen said, which will help with the snow making effort.

Allen and his crew are preparing to make a substantial amount of snow from the top to the bottom of the mountain this weekend, when the first of two cold fronts are forecasted to hit Steamboat Springs.

From then on, crews will monitor temperatures at different elevations and make snow accordingly.

Typically in Steamboat Springs, Allen said, the bottom of the mountain is colder than the top during the night. In the daytime, the top is colder. Ideally, the best conditions to make snow are clear, cold days and nights.

When all of Ski Corps' 60 snowmaking guns are firing, 3,300 gallons of water every minute can be pumped onto the mountain.

"It's great to be going," Allen said. "It's always a good sign of the winter to come."

The Steamboat Ski Resort is projected to open Nov. 21.

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