The Maverick halfpipe in Steamboat is getting some extra attention this year and may have the earliest opening ever. Two low-energy, high-efficiency snowmaking guns are tower mounted at the top of the Maverick pipe, in an effort to get it open earlier in the season.

Loryn Kasten with the mountain said it isn’t a guarantee. “We know that our halfpipe is a popular location for our guests, especially those visiting during the Christmas holiday. We are always evaluating new ways to make the vacation experience better for everyone and adding tower guns to our Bashor Bowl is one way we saw this possible.”

Yes, the tourists will be happy, but so will the local halfpipe competitors. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) has top halfpipe riders and skiers who have competed on the World Cup circuit, anxious to get in some training, especially considering the Sprint Grand Prix for pipe is at Copper Mountain in mid-December.

SSWSC Freeride Coach Jonah Drescher added, "It is great that Steamboat has decided to get going early with their terrain park. I think this will be a great boost for not only the SSWSC athletes getting ready for early season events, but the added options for our visiting families will help keep Steamboat on the vacation map for out-of-town and  out-of-state visitors. This is great."

SSWSC Snowboard Director Jon Casson added, “The earlier halfipe opening will give our team more time to prepare for regional halfpipe competitions.”

The progressive terrain park system in Steamboat is good for all levels of skiers and riders. Kasten says the resort is very proud and it provides a place for guests to play. “Having progressive parks means that skiers and riders of all levels can learn, play and grow in our four terrain parks without having the intimidation that sometimes comes with big parks and big tricks. First timers can ease themselves into the park experience in Lil' Toots and start to feel comfortable in a halfpipe with Mini Mavs. Once they are ready they can move on to Rabbit Ears and then ultimately when they are really good they can go to Mavericks.” 

SSWSC Freestyle Ski Program Director Erik Skinner said, “I think it is great and wonderful and should get people psyched. The mountain obtaining new ’fire power’ at the top of the pipe is huge!  They should only need four days to blow it with temps and then building days. We have a halfpipe event on Jan. 6, so having some training days on it before the event will be great for our hometown kids.”

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