Steamboat Springs The alpine slide at Howelsen Hill has always helped pay for a competitive skier or rider's gear, but this year many of the athletes will take home a paycheck from the slide as well.
The alpine slide's second full season kicked off last weekend. As always, proceeds from the slide benefit the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
This summer, the very athletes and coaches who benefit from those proceeds make up the majority of the employees working at the slide.
Slide manager Jen Fuller said more than 20 members on the 30-person staff are connected to the club. She didn't set out to hire so many club members, it just kind of worked out that way.
"The athletes that worked here last year told their friends it was a great place to work," Fuller said.
Word got around and soon Fuller was inundated with resumes from club athletes and even coaches.
She said a vast majority of the resumes she sifted through were from someone in the club.
"It's probably the best job in town," said Marsh Gooding, an alpine skier. "Chill in the sun, meet new people and ride the slide. It's nice."
Co-worker Dmitry Chase, sitting atop a perch on Howelsen said waving carts down the slide was simply, "Entertaining."
Business on the opening weekend showed that many of the riders on the slide were entertained, too.
More than 1,000 tickets were sold over the weekend for the slide named the "The Howler."
Only one of the concrete tracks of the slide is open right now. A Snow Cat drove over the slide this winter, damaging one of the tracks. A replacement section is expected to be here within a week.
Financially, it was a better opening day than last year, Fuller said.
"Waging on this weekend, it should be a pretty good year," she said.
Unlike last year, tourists bought most of the tickets sold last weekend, Fuller said.
When the slide opened up last summer, it offered discounted tickets, aimed at locals.
Discounted tickets will be offered this coming weekend, with all rides $4, down from the standard $8 ride for adults.