Construction crews dismantling the old Barrows chairlift at Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, CO, caused a small wildfire yesterday when sparks ignited the grass.
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The 33-year-old double chairlift is being replaced this summer by a new $3 million Skytrac triple chairlift. The 49 chairs were auctioned off earlier this season.
Steamboat Springs Police Department was first on scene and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Steamboat Fire Rescue then turned up and turned on the resort’s snowmaking equipment to dampen the whole area and prevent the wildfire spreading.
Howelsen Hill Ski Area is a small ski area located on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It began operating in 1915 and is North America’s oldest continuously operated ski area. It is not a typical alpine ski area, as it includes a series of ski jumps, the largest with hill size at 127 metres.
The ski area has produced 89 Olympians in both alpine and Nordic events. With a vertical drop of 134 metres (440 ft), it has one chairlift, two carpets, and one Poma lift. The local youth ski team, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, practices at the area, along with various ski jumpers in training, including U.S. Ski Team Jumpers.
Howelsen Hill Ski Area has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America. It has the largest and most complete natural ski jumping complex in North America. Howelsen has been the training ground for 89 Olympians making over 130 Winter Olympic appearances, fifteen members of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame, and six members of the National Ski Hall of fame. Howelsen Hill is open to the public and is owned and operated by the City of Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreation Department.