New lights at Steamboat Ski Area would offer night skiing on 5 trails
July 26, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Ski Area is shedding some more light on its plan to offer night skiing this winter.
To extend the ski day at the resort to 9:30 p.m., the ski area is moving ahead with its plan to light about 1,000 vertical feet of lower terrain from the top of Christie Peak to the base area.
The lights would illuminate trails Sitz, See Me, See Ya, Vogue and Stampede as well as the Lil’ Rodeo Terrain Park.
Officials at the ski area will host an open house Wednesday at the Bear River Bar & Grill to discuss the proposal in more detail.
"I expect this meeting will surprise some people when they see how sophisticated night skiing lighting has become," Doug Allen, the resort’s vice president of mountain operations, said in a news release. "It’s important to us that folks have all the information on this activity as we see night skiing being a key component to enhanced vitality of the mountain village community."
The resort had to send out about 2,500 mailers to nearby condo and property owners to inform them about the project.
Ski area officials see night skiing as a way to carry on momentum that started with the completion of the promenade and continued this summer with the construction of a new Four Points Lodge.
The addition of lights on the slopes would place the ski area on a small list of resorts in Colorado that offer night skiing.
Keystone Resorts spokeswoman Laura Parquette told the Steamboat Today in April that night skiing has been a popular amenity on 243 acres of Dercum Mountain.
"When you arrive here late in the afternoon from Texas and you’re instantly able to get on snow, it’s added excitement," she said.
The meeting at Steamboat Ski Area about night skiing will come a week before the proposal is heard by the city’s planning commission.
The ski area is planning to use a newer system of lighting developed by Ultra-Tech that uses a magnetic induction system designed to minimize glare and light pollution.
City officials attended a demonstration of the lights at the ski area in April and were impressed.
City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the lights are much lower to the ground than the ones that light Howelsen Hill and better define ski slopes.
Still, the proposal has been met with concern by at least one Steamboat Springs City Council member.
Sonja Macys said last week that she has heard from constituents who live near the base of the ski area who are concerned by the impact the lights might have.
She also worried what impact the new amenity at the ski area would have on Howelsen Hill, which already offers night skiing.
When asked in April about that impact, city officials including Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Director Chris Wilson said the city viewed night skiing at the resort as a complementary use, not a competitive one.
Howelsen historically has not attracted large crowds to ski at night.
Ski area spokesman Mike Lane said the resort isn’t expecting an influx of night skiers in the short term.
The pricing of the new amenity hasn’t been finalized.
"In the first couple of years, it will probably be more of an attraction," he said. "I think it helps round out and keeps the vitality of the base area going."
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com