A snowy start to December provided perfect conditions for Steamboat Ski Resort to open a large portion of skiing and riding terrain in the Sunshine Peak area on Wednesday, Dec. 14, bringing the resort to more than 100 trails. Continued snowfall forecast for the week will allow crews to open more terrain and trails as conditions allow.

“It’s been a great December for snow and snowmaking,” said Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. “The 43 inches we received this month so far have been a big boost toward opening more terrain. We’re especially excited for our guests to experience the faster ride on Elkhead Express.”

On Wednesday, Sundown, Sunshine, South Peak and the new high-speed quad Elkhead Express  lifts will carry skiers and riders to 27 new trails including Broadway, Spur Run, Sundial, Buckshot, Baby Powder, Cub, Day Break, Fawn, Flintlock, Huffman’s, Sunshine Lift Line, Tomahawk, Sunnyside, Rolex, Westside and more.  First Tracks and night skiing and riding will begin for the season on Thursday, Dec. 15. The new trails and lifts bring the resort to more than 50 percent open with 11 lifts providing access to more than 1,500 acres on top-to-bottom skiing and riding. Lil’ Rodeo terrain park, including Mini Mavs quarter-pipe, are open, and crews will look to progress to Rabbit Ears terrain park in the coming weeks with Mavericks to follow.

The highlight of opening the Sunshine Peak area is bringing online the high-speed quad Elkhead Express chairlift. Steamboat’s newest Doppelmayr detachable quad replaces the old Elkhead fixed-grip chairlift in the Priest Creek area and will reduce the ride time of Elkhead by more than half — now expected to be less than three minutes, running 1,000 feet per minute. The resort will celebrate the opening of Elkhead on Wednesday morning with a special first chair at 9 am featuring Billy Kidd, resort employees instrumental in getting Elkhead Express online and Korbel California Champagne.

The resort has received snow all but one day in December and 14 out of the past 15 days of the season, with 43 inches (more than 3.5 feet) in December and 39 inches piling up in November at mid-mountain. Since the resort began reporting summit snow accumulation on Friday, Dec. 9, the top of the mountain has received 30 inches of snow. Forecasts are calling for additional storms throughout the week, with snow accumulation likely daily through Friday.

“Like clockwork, Mother Nature has set her sights on Steamboat and is bringing an abundance of snow,” said John Kohnke, ski patrol director for Steamboat Ski Resort. “While it may be tempting to go out of bounds and push your limits, the CAIC backcountry avalanche rating is considerable, and closed trails remain that way for a reason. Please respect closures, be safe and smart about mountain conditions, and remember there is always plenty of room for friends on a powder day.”

Uphill access (skinning) is available on all open terrain on the mountain. Please do not access closed trails to allow crews to continue working on opening more terrain. Guests are reminded All Out trail is always closed to the public, including uphill access at all times.

As conditions permit, the resort will continue to open new lifts and trails, including terrain park features. Find updates on new openings, current terrain, trail conditions and more on the resort’s mobile app; social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and online at www.steamboat.com.