Steamboat, Winter Sports Club make final push for Howelsen funds | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat, Winter Sports Club make final push for Howelsen funds

Widespread support sought to boost grant applications for Howelsen

KC Lynch leads the way as Jonathan Schmauder helps Angelina up to the lift at Howelsen Hill on Sunday in Steamboat Springs. Sunday was the last day for skiing at the downtown ski area.

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The Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign is seeking community donations for improvement projects that include new lighting, snowmaking equipment, a mini magic carpet and a new summer ski jump. Donors can specify which project they want their money to go to.

Donations can be made in the following ways:

■ Send checks made out to the city of Steamboat Springs, or to YVCF — Howelsen Ski Hill at Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign, P.O. Box 775088, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.

■ Donate by credit card at http://www.yvcf.org/donate. Select “Howelsen Capital Improvements — Ski Area.”

For more information, contact Winnie DelliQuadri, the city’s government programs manager, at 970-879-2060 or wdelliquadri@steamboat

springs.net.

— Local Nordic combined athletes already have bragging rights for recent Olympic medals won in their winter sport.

They now might have bragging rights around the halls of Howelsen Lodge for fundraising, too.

The city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club are making a final push for public contributions to the Howelsen Hill Centennial Campaign, which since July has raised more than $268,000 in donations and pledges and more than $937,000 in grants. Funds raised will go toward new lighting, snowmaking equipment, a mini magic carpet and a new summer ski jump at Howelsen Hill, which ended its winter ski season Sunday.

Winter Sports Club Executive Director Rick DeVos said more than 1,000 young athletes, or about 775 local families, are involved in club activities. He's hoping to get all those families involved in fundraising for the community ski hill during the next two months.

The effort that has led to posters around Howelsen Lodge that chart fundraising by various Winter Sports Club disciplines.

DeVos acknowledged that the friendly competition is somewhat skewed because Alpine skiing, for example, has hundreds of members compared to 60 or so for Telemark skiing.

But he said Sunday that one discipline, in particular, appears to be going strong so far.

"I know the Nordic combined group looks high right now in this process," DeVos said about the fundraising efforts. "They've really made a strong push to get that group motivated."

The success of Nordic combined athletes in the 2010 Winter Olympics intensified the city's focus on fundraising for Howelsen Hill improvements. Efforts during the past year have included a $900,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant awarded in December.

Significant costs remain, tho­­ugh. The new plastic-covered K38 jump, for example, has a total cost of $1.5 million. The new jump would be open year-round and allow younger athletes to continue ski jumping in the summer. Lighting improvements to expand Howelsen's night-skiing access cost $350,000. DeVos said snowmaking improvements can help keep families in Steamboat early in winter season, rather than traveling to Summit County for training.

City contributions to the Centennial Campaign have included $250,000 allocated through surplus 2009 funds and $80,000 from the city's Howelsen Hill capital improvement fund.

Winnie DelliQuadri, Steamboat's government programs manager, said the city will submit grant applications in the coming weeks to several private foundations. Applications will include a $170,000 request to the Gates Family Foundation, which helped fund ski jump and snowmaking improvements at Howelsen Hill in 2003.

DelliQuadri said private foundations look for widespread public support.

"One of the things they really want to see is that the community is really invested in the facility," DelliQuadri said. "We want to show, through the number of people who have given, and the number of people with the Winter Sports Club who have given, that the community is definitely behind Howelsen Hill."

DeVos acknowledged that asking for money is difficult anytime, but especially when impacts of the national economic recession still are felt in Routt County.

"We certainly recognize that it is tough economic times, and we're certainly happy with any donation from anybody," DeVos said. "Our goal is to really get 100 percent club participation on this thing, and for some people, that might mean $5."

DelliQuadri said she's hoping the next two months will be the campaign's final effort.

"We hope that everything will come together brilliantly … and we'll have a massive groundbreaking ceremony in July," DelliQuadri said. "Which would be great, because that would mean it's a one-year capital campaign.

"For that to happen, we need participation."