Pushing the Bump-Off

Sheriff, Forest Service to keep eye on Chute 1

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— Unknown individuals say via posters that the annual St. Patrick's Day Bump-Off that was officially canceled is unofficially on.

Officials from the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., the United States Forest Service and the Routt County Sheriff's Office will meet this morning to determine if Chute 1, which is just north of Buddy's Run and has been the traditional site of the event, will be closed, said Mike Lane, a ski corp. spokesman.

"It is unfortunate that a small percent of people could impact a part of the mountain for others," Lane said Friday afternoon.

The Forest Service and the Sheriff's Office plan to have personnel on the mountain because of a poster that was circulated around the resort. The poster was put in windows and bathrooms of businesses.

It is not known what group or person is circulating the poster.

Brian Harvey, who has organized the Bump-Off for the past six years and is a radio station manager at KFMU, said as far as he knows nothing is planned and the old-school skiers from the event won't compete.

The posters, which were put up by an obviously fake company, gives a time for the event, proclaims a "skiing head-to-head grudge match all day" and asks for participants to bring their own food and beverages.

The poster also states the event is not a "competition" and does not have "prizes, organizers, rules and best of all ... no ski corp."

"The poster sends misinformation out to the community, which we wish we could have avoided," Lane said.

It was ski corp, the Forest Service and the Sheriff's Office that made the decision to cancel the annual event this past February. The event has been a tradition for the past 12 years.

Officials canceled the event this year because St. Patrick's Day fell on a Saturday and they feared the event would attract a large number of people who would throw an impromptu party including large quantities of alcohol at the bottom of Chute 1.

Two years ago, nearly 4,000 people attended the event and about 2,500 showed up last year, despite miserable conditions.

Officials believed the idea of a group this big skiing down the mountain after many of them had been drinking most of the morning and afternoon would be unsafe.

Sheriff's deputies and Forest Service personnel will be on hand to combat any type of event if the portion of the mountain is not shut down.

"We will be an active participant to make sure there will be no problems," Sheriff John Warner said. "We will have deputies in and around the area of the Bump-Off. We will advise anyone who shows up that the Bump-Off has been canceled."

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Germann said law enforcement officers from the agency also have been brought in to ensure that nothing will happen at the bottom of Chute 1.

"We want to have a presence without being explicit about what we are doing," Germann said.

Officials at the Forest Service expected they would have to do something, just in case, when the decision to cancel the event was made last month, she said.

"I don't expect anything to happen," Germann said.

Law enforcement officials on the mountain will be paid accordingly. The Sheriff's Office has rescheduled its shifts to have deputies on the mountain, Warner said.

Germann does not expect for the Forest Service employees to be paid overtime for their efforts.

Both Germann and Warner would not reveal how many law enforcement officers they plan on having patrol the mountain. Warner would also not speculate whether citations would be issued.

Ski corp. has made it clear to its employees to stay away from that part of the mountain today. Ski corp. circulated a memorandum to all of its employees notifying them the Bump-Off had been canceled and reasons for the cancellation, Lane said.

"We want people to have a good time, but we want people to be responsible off or on the mountain," Lane said.

Warner said he is frustrated the poster was circulated even though the event had been officially canceled.

"I would rather be spending my day at home," he said.

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