Wednesday, January 24, 2001
Steamboat Springs Who could blame Lucky, the long-haired cat that lives in the Poma shack at Howelsen Hill, for hiding under the stairs outside the building Wednesday afternoon.
In a rash of bad luck, the cat took the blame for the shortened second day of jump training at the Ski Town Classic Nordic Combined World Cup.
The smoky gray barn cat's problems began shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday near the end of the second round of official jump training. That's when the power to the Poma lift and the judges tower was abruptly cut off.
The power outage was apparently the work of a band of renegade mice hell bent on making Lucky look bad, who had nested in the power box inside the building. It seems the mice that Lucky was supposed to be controlling had been chewing on a main power line and evidently finished the job just before the day's third and final round of training could start.
"It completely blew up the box, " Howelsen Hill supervisor Jeff Nelson said.
At first city crews felt like they could patch the problem up in time to continue the training round. But after a 45-minute delay, it became apparent that the problem was a little bit larger than a quick fix. The power surge caused other problems down the line that were discovered as crews tried to repair the damaged box.
"We didn't want to rush through it and cause more problems down the line," Nelson said. "I think we can do the job right and have everything back online by late this afternoon."
Nelson said it is important to fix the problem correctly, so there are no problems during the first competition, which is scheduled for today. While the initial problem was in the Poma shack, Nelson said that some work would need to be completed outside the building to make sure other problems would not threaten the events this week at Howelsen.
As for Lucky the cat who was supposed to be keeping those mice in check he will most likely keep his job as head mouser. But chances are his food bowl will not be filled quite as high in the future and he will need to work a little harder to get his meals on his own.
U.S. nordic combined coaches said that the shortened training round would have little or no impact on Thursday's event.
"No this shouldn't have any effects on us or any of the other teams," U.S. Ski Team coach Tom Steitz said. "These guys are such pros and one training jump isn't going to change the outcome of the competition."