The Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign is in its final stages of fundraising with plans to move forward on projects totaling $2.3 million in needed improvements. Increased snowmaking capabilities, additional lighting, a new magic-carpet surface lift, and a K38 summer jump round out the work tentatively breaking ground in early summer.
"If all works out as planned, we'll wrap up our fundraising efforts in June," says Winnie DelliQuadri, Government Programs Manager for the City of Steamboat Springs. "We're finalizing our design work and planning in hopes that as soon as we get the money together, we can submit for permits and begin the ground work."
Improvements to begin this summer will include piping for increased-capacity snowmaking, light pole installation, and first-phase preparation for plastic covering of the K38 Nordic jump. Snowmaking improvements will add six super-pole guns, and increase water capacity from 800 to 1,600 gallons per minute. The 14 new lighting poles will be distributed around the Terrain Park area, Ski and Snowboard Cross start track, and the top of the smaller Nordic jumps. The summer jump will take two years of work for final completion.
"We want to open as much (of the hill) as we can as early as we can," explains Rick DeVos, Director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Club. "Even if tracks have to be narrower, there will be more of them," says DeVos. "We hope to have snowmaking completed by Dec. 10 rather than Jan. 10."
Baring weather cooperation, the ideal is to start blowing snow by Oct. 15 rather than Nov. 1. Then Howelsen Hill can be up and running by early November, rather than Thanksgiving time. A sooner opening would cut early-season travel costs considerably. Teams would not be forced to train in Summit County in the fall due to the lack of Howelsen's ability to get the hill running sooner.
"These improvements are so important for Howelsen and all our athletes," DeVos concludes.
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