City plow trucks were out moving snow and spreading scoria Wednesday afternoon. Crews have been busy keeping up with a series of winter storms that passed through the area last week. More snow is forecast for later this week in Steamboat.

Photo by John F. Russell

City plow trucks were out moving snow and spreading scoria Wednesday afternoon. Crews have been busy keeping up with a series of winter storms that passed through the area last week. More snow is forecast for later this week in Steamboat.

City snowplow drivers faced with heavy snowfall

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— While heavy snowfall made for a white Christmas in Steamboat Springs, it also kept city snowplow drivers busy clearing the streets - even on Christmas morning.

"We have been very busy with being a couple people short, but we are making due," Doug Marsh, the city's street/fleet superintendent, said Wednesday. "They are working longer hours to make sure the streets are clear."

With about 70 lane-miles of roads, 14 miles of alleys and dozens of parking lots, city workers are handling the snow removal efforts in stride, said Jim Weber of the city's public works department.

"Crews had to get up early on Christmas Day, and missed time with their family, but their efforts were quite good," he said. "All the roads were open. Some may have been slippery on occasion."

Marsh said snowplow drivers have had an especially hard time plowing areas around Ski Time Square and Lincoln Avenue with the short staff.

"It's mostly a matter of lack of staff and time," he said. "So much work has to happen in a short amount of time. We may need to have to add a couple trucks to make that happen faster."

Although tasked with extra work, Marsh said snowplow drivers are a proud group and he has heard few complaints.

"These guys have a lot of pride and they understand their responsibilities," he said. "Some were born and raised in town, and many people don't know the hard work they put in. Yes, they'd like to stay home with their kids over Christmas, but they know what they signed up for. No one would get around the streets unless we plow."

Snowplow drivers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from Nov. 1 to the end of April.

"For the most part, when they are called in is due to the amount of snow that falls," Weber said. "If it's around midnight, and we have about 2 inches of snow on the ground and it continues to fall, the call will go out."

Weber and Marsh said snow removal crews are bracing for a winter storm that is expected to hit Steamboat today.

Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Tuesday that up to a foot of snow could fall each day through Sunday on Mount Werner, while downtown Steamboat could receive up to six inches of snow each day.

"It's been steady and kind of average, which has been nice," Marsh said of this season's snowfall. "It's easy when you get into a rhythm. It's tough for crews when you have to go to bed at night and not knowing if you will get the call or not get the call."

Despite the increased workload, Marsh added that crews understand that more snowfall means for better business at the Steamboat Ski Area.

"I would hate for a tourist to come and spend a lot of money and not a have a lot of snow," he said. "More snow means more work, but I'm real proud of these crews. I've been here 29 years, and they have always seemed to want to do a great job."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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