Steamboat group’s efforts jump to new phase | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat group’s efforts jump to new phase

Howelsen Hill plans include new plastic-covered jump

Steamboat Springs’ Bryan Fletcher races down the in-run of Steamboat’s K68 hill during training earlier this summer in Steamboat Springs. Among the improvements proposed by the Howelsen Hill Centennial Committee is adding a new, smaller plastic-covered jump.

How to donate

Donations and pledges can be sent to Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign, P.O. Box 775088, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.

There are two options for donations with different tax benefits.

■ Option 1 is for Colorado Residents only and takes advantage of the fact that Howelsen Hill is a Qualified Enterprise Zone, which means the contribution qualifies the donor for a 25 percent State of Colorado Income Tax Credit. The donation is also a charitable contribution, which may be eligible as a charitable deduction in the year the gift is received. To take advantage of the Enterprise Zone deduction checks must be made out to the City of Steamboat Springs. The donations can be dropped off at the city offices or mailed to the Centennial Campaign. Make sure it is clear that the donations are for improvements at Howelsen Hill.

■ The second option donors can make a charitable contribution to the Howelsen Ski Hill Fund at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. The donation may be eligible as a charitable deduction in the year the gift is received. The donation is not eligible for the Qualified Enterprise Zone Contributions, however. Checks should be made payable to YVCF-Howelsen Ski Hill. The YVCF is also able to take credit card payments and donations online. For this option visit http://www.yvcf.org, click on DONATE NOW and select Howelsen Capital Improvements-Ski Area.

Possible improvements

Lighting ($350,000)

■ A total of 14 new light arrays to be placed at the bottom of Howelsen Hill

■ One electric transformer, which is needed to expand lighting at Howelsen. Current setup does not allow for new lights.

■ Nine new light poles and conduit

(five of the light arrays will be placed on existing buildings)

Snowmaking ($400,000)

■ An additional water pump that could double snowmaking at Howelsen

■ Additional snowmaking guns

Ski Jump ($1.5 million)

■ A new plastic-covered K38 ski jump that could be used during summer and winter months. Would allow younger jumpers to continue to jump through the summer

How to donate

Donations and pledges can be sent to Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign, P.O. Box 775088, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.

There are two options for donations with different tax benefits.

■ Option 1 is for Colorado Residents only and takes advantage of the fact that Howelsen Hill is a Qualified Enterprise Zone, which means the contribution qualifies the donor for a 25 percent State of Colorado Income Tax Credit. The donation is also a charitable contribution, which may be eligible as a charitable deduction in the year the gift is received. To take advantage of the Enterprise Zone deduction checks must be made out to the City of Steamboat Springs. The donations can be dropped off at the city offices or mailed to the Centennial Campaign. Make sure it is clear that the donations are for improvements at Howelsen Hill.

■ The second option donors can make a charitable contribution to the Howelsen Ski Hill Fund at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. The donation may be eligible as a charitable deduction in the year the gift is received. The donation is not eligible for the Qualified Enterprise Zone Contributions, however. Checks should be made payable to YVCF-Howelsen Ski Hill. The YVCF is also able to take credit card payments and donations online. For this option visit http://www.yvcf.org, click on DONATE NOW and select Howelsen Capital Improvements-Ski Area.

Possible improvements

Lighting ($350,000)

■ A total of 14 new light arrays to be placed at the bottom of Howelsen Hill

■ One electric transformer, which is needed to expand lighting at Howelsen. Current setup does not allow for new lights.

■ Nine new light poles and conduit

(five of the light arrays will be placed on existing buildings)

Snowmaking ($400,000)

■ An additional water pump that could double snowmaking at Howelsen

■ Additional snowmaking guns

Ski Jump ($1.5 million)

■ A new plastic-covered K38 ski jump that could be used during summer and winter months. Would allow younger jumpers to continue to jump through the summer

Linda Laughlin was surprised by what she heard Tuesday night from the members of the Howelsen Hill Centennial Committee when they updated the Steamboat Springs City Council on the group's efforts to fund improvements at Howelsen Hill.

As a parent of a 14-year-old Alpine ski racer, she was thrilled.

"I didn't really know what they were going to say when I showed up for the meeting, but I fully support their efforts after hearing what they want to do," Laughlin said.

She is backing the Centennial Committee's drive to raise $2.3 million for improvements at the downtown ski area.

The money would be used to fund four major projects — projects Laughlin said she thinks are necessary to keep Howelsen Hill relevant.

She stood up and spoke at the meeting on behalf of her son, who has been a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club since 2003.

"We have a gem here (in Howelsen Hill) that other towns would die to have," Laughlin said. "It takes a tremendous amount of effort to produce an Olympian. To have a group of people who are working to maintain that tradition of excellence at Howelsen is terrific."

Winnie DelliQuadri, government programs manager for the city, said the improvement projects have not been prioritized at this point and include improvements to lighting, improvements to snowmaking and the addition of a plastic-covered K38 jump. The group also will raise money to replace an aging magic carpet with a new one donated by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Efforts by the Centennial Committee to raise money began in July, and the group already has secured about $100,000 in donations, pledges and in-kind services in what co-chairman Jim Spillane calls the quiet phase of the fundraising process.

That includes $60,000 in cash, $30,000 in pledges and another $10,000 in in-kind promises, DelliQuadri said.

Rick DeVos, executive director of the Winter Sports Club, also has been active in the early efforts to raise the money and said Thursday that the group is moving into a new, more public phase of the fundraising campaign.

"There are many steps in a fundraising process," DeVos said. "We are in a pretty good place right now, and hopefully, we will be able to move forward."

The group hopes to use the money it has raised and another $250,000 set aside by the city last spring to leverage as much as $917,000 in grants from Great Outdoors Colorado and other private foundations. The money was part of $750,000 in unallocated general fund revenues from 2009, when the city saw slightly less of a sales tax shortfall than projected.

The highest-ticket item would be a new plastic-covered K38 jump. The jump would complement the K68, which was completed in July 2006 after a similar fundraising effort. DeVos said the new jump would allow younger jumpers to train in Steamboat Springs year-round and fill a hole in the training programs at the Winter Sports Club. Many younger jumpers currently travel to places such as Park City, Utah, to train during summer.

The older jump was built with about $1.8 million in grants, including $100,000 from GOCo. Supporters also collected $470,000 in private donations. The new jump is expected to cost $1.5 million.

But this capital project will leap beyond the jump hills at Howelsen Hill.

Some of the money would be used to install a new magic carpet to serve the beginners' hill at the base of Howelsen. The infrastructure and cost to install the carpet is $50,000.

The group also hopes to fund $350,000 in upgrades to the lighting.

The improvements would including a new transformer, which is needed to add more lighting on the ski jumps, and expand lighting to the terrain park and the bottom part of Mile Run.

Snowmaking also would get a boost from a second $250,000 pump that would provide nearly twice as much snowmaking capacity and as much as $150,000 in new guns. Many of the water lines for that increased snowmaking were added as part of the 2006 jump improvement.

DeVos said the improvements are needed for Howelsen Hill to maintain its place in producing top athletes and to continue to serve the community.

He said added lights would make the ski area more accessible in the evening and that snowmaking would allow the area to open earlier in winter and eliminate the costly and dangerous early season commutes many skiers make to places such as the Loveland, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin ski areas for training.

"One or two weeks will make a huge difference," Laughlin said. "We can't go anywhere in November because we will be traveling for ski training."