Yampa Valley Regional Airport readies for ski season | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Regional Airport readies for ski season

Crews work on Phase 3 of plan to modernize Hayden terminal

A Native Excavating backhoe drives helical piers for the foundation of an addition to the passenger terminal at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden on Monday.

— While Routt County hikers and bikers wait for the snow to melt and trails to dry up in the high country, officials at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden are preparing for the winter ahead.

Crews working for general contractor Holmquist-Lorenz Construction Co. were sanding drywall in the new security screening area of the airport terminal Monday while others working for Native Excavating were driving helical piers into the ground on the runway side of the terminal where one of the oldest structures at YVRA recently was demolished.

The old steel building makes way for a new two-story building that will create offices and conference rooms for airport administration, which currently are housed in a building about 150 yards west of the terminal.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said this year's $9 million project — all but about 5 percent of it funded by the federal government — completes a nearly decade-long, three-phase plan to modernize the terminal.

If work continues at its current pace, the terminal should be ready in mid- to late November in advance of the beginning of the ski season's direct flights from cities such as Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis.

The Yampa Valley Airport Commission is expected to learn more about the airline program during the coming season at 2:10 p.m. Thursday, when Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond and Airline Program Director Janet Fischer are scheduled to speak during the annual summit of the Yampa Valley Airport Commission at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Also on the afternoon's agenda is keynote speaker Edwin Garcia, the concourse director for Denver International Airport. State Director of Aviation Dave Gordon and Chris Shaffer, of the Denver office of the Federal Aviation Administration, also will address the group.

Baggage and baguettes

The completion of the latest phase of the terminal project will offer new facilities that will improve the ease with which passengers reclaim their baggage upon arrival in Steamboat. And for the first time, it will bring a full service restaurant onto the main level of the terminal.

The new baggage carousel will ease congestion at the current facility, where often a couple hundred travelers from different cities of origin crowd together to spy their luggage.

Ruppel is confident the new restaurant adjoining a pedestrian ramp close to the large windows on the north side of the terminal building will enjoy much-improved exposure.

It features a modern bar and a fully equipped kitchen that will be provided to the concessionaire that operates the restaurant.

Ruppel said that the invitation to submit proposals was extended to about 50 restaurant operators and that he expects to meet with many of them Friday to go over the dining room and food preparation areas.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com