With the world opening up again and received some sense of normality over a long year, ski hills are started to boom again. Parks and Recreation staff are proposing a new ski run on Howelsen Hill, Steamboat’s “other” ski area. Parks and Recreation want to improve Howelsen Hill, as Steamboat brings in more tourists because of restrictions lifting.
According to Steamboat Pilot & Today, ski and rodeo supervisor Robbie Shine claims that the run will most likely be blue or green. The run would be a convenient accessibility point for beginner and intermediate racers. Shine states, “People, who might get down to The Face accidentally, usually end up hiking back up to the green runs. We’d like to be able to get them down via this new road.”
Not only is Howelsen Hill upgrading its runs, but also its chairlifts. A new three-person chairlift was built to replace the old Barrows Chairlift that only ran on weekends. The new lift is expecting to run daily, which Ski and Rodeo Manager Brad Setter hope will bring in more tourists and people that will ride it within the week. Additionally, Howelsen Hill is hoping to extend its season to the end of March. Setter hopes this will persuade more people to invest in a season pass. As of now, lift tickets are being sold alongside food and beverages, although Setter exclaims that there are plans to renovate an old lift shack to sell tickets out of instead.
“We’re hoping to improve customer service so that we won’t be mixing people who are looking to buy a day ticket with those who are looking to buy food,” Setter exclaimed.
The cost is a concern for Howelsen hill, though. If tourism predictions perform as expected, the hill may become financially independent. As of now, the city spends more to fund the area than it makes. Parks and recreation are prepared to discuss the budget with City Council in October. Shine exclaimed that he did not yet have a cost estimate, but the excess tourism would pay for whatever budget they may have. The investments the hill is putting forth will hopefully be worth it in the longer run.
The refurbishment will also hopefully present Howelsen Hill as a serious option amongst other hills. “We’re just trying to broaden our reach to the Front Range and throughout Colorado. It’s just to kind of get us on the map and make people understand that we’re here, and we’re a viable option for them.” Setter claims. According to Colorado Demographics, Steamboat is the 53rd most populated Colorado town out of 421 towns, so Howelsen Hill has the potential to gain popularity and tourism with its new features.
“We want to improve the skier experience. It will be a big win for the ski area and the community if we can utilize this gift we’ve been given,” states Shine.