The winter's prolific snowfall may be good for skiers, but Steamboat's public works officials are in a squeeze.
The city is almost out of snow storage room, said Jim Weber, director of public works.
"We're squeezing in as much as we possibly can," Weber said Friday. "We probably have enough room for two more removals."
One of those likely will happen next week.
Snow has been piling up in city-owned parking lots, downtown streets and Ski Time Square, the key targets for removal. City workers use dump trucks to haul snow to the public works shop on 13th Street.
Public works officials plan for about 25 snow events a year, Weber said. In 2005, there were 26 snow events, and the city removed about 38,000 cubic yards of snow. In 2004, there were 17 snow events, and the city removed about 30,500 cubic yards of snow. A cubic yard of snow, Weber pointed out, equals 27 cubic feet of white stuff.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. reports that 268 inches of snow had fallen as of Wednesday afternoon at mid-mountain -- that's nearly 22 feet. And the National Resources Conservation Service reports that 135 percent of the average precipitation had hit the Yampa and White river basins as of Friday.
When snow falls, downtown is a particularly sensitive area, Weber said.
"Downtown is especially a concern because of the merchants and also because of the volume of traffic and reduction of roadway," he said.
George Krawzoff, the city's director of transit and transportation services, also has said that snow has been covering parking spaces, leading people to park illegally in the street.
Weber said this is the first time in his 10 years here that the city has run out of storage space. Officials are looking for another place to put the snow. The likeliest candidate is Steamboat Springs Airport, Weber said.
If the city has to start hauling to another location, there will be additional travel time for drivers, and the removal operations won't be as efficient. Removing snow on Lincoln Avenue and downtown side streets usually takes one night, Weber said, but it might start taking two.
The city will do its best, Weber said.
"The irony of the whole thing is that we're a winter resort, and we're seeing the best of what winter can provide," he said. "But there are some downsides associated with it."
--o reach Dana Strongin call 871-4229 or e-mail email@example.com.