Daylight at night

Howelsen crews squeezing in major projects before Dec. 1



Howelsen helicopter

A helicopter was used Wednesday at Howelsen Hill to install new lights.

A helicopter was used Wednesday at Howelsen Hill to install new lights.


A helicopter hovers over the Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon as it is used to carry and light towers along the slope of the hill.

Jeff Nelson said that when the installation of new lighting is completed at Howelsen Hill Ski Area, the outcome will be "the difference between night and day."

On Wednesday, helicopters installed new metal halide light poles on Howelsen Hill. The lights will replace 17-year-old orange high-pressure lights. Crews installed new snowmaking pipes Monday. Work continues today on improvements to the ski area's lighting, snowmaking machines and communications. The projects are part of more than $800,000 in improvements to Howelsen Hill this fall.

"The thing people are going to see the most difference in is the night skiing," said Nelson, the ski and rodeo supervisor at Howelsen. "It will be a lot more like day out there."

Nelson said the ski area typically would be making snow by now - not constructing major capital projects.

"We started four months later than we would have liked," Nelson said.

The project was delayed for two reasons, Nelson said. First, a construction boom in Steamboat this summer meant there were no contractors available to take on the improvements at Howelsen. Second, budgeting for the project was done two years ago. Prices have risen since them, and the project had to raise more money through Steamboat Springs City Council appropriations.

Now that the projects are under way, Nelson is confident the ski area will make its Dec. 1 opening day. He said improved snowmaking ability will help the ski area make up for lost time.

"We haven't missed an opening day in a long time, and I don't expect to miss it this year," Nelson said.

In addition to the major capital projects on Howelsen Hill, Nelson said there are plans to create an area for snow tubing this season.

"That still has a few small hoops to jump through with administrative-type approvals," Nelson said.

There also are plans to replace the Pony lift at the base of Howelsen Hill this year with a new "Magic Carpet" lift, which Nelson said would be the largest of its kind in Colorado. Nelson said that project likely will begin in the first two weeks of November.

Also scheduled for this year are improvements to the ski-jump hills and improvements to the Nordic trails, notably a connector trail between Howelsen Meadows and Emerald Meadows.

"We got stuff going on everywhere," Nelson said. "Your world-famous Howelsen Hill is a real busy place."

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail


beentheredonethat 9 years, 7 months ago

why don't city council members and the public more strongly question the out of control spending of the city parks and rec?

the budget for this latest boondoggle was not updated for two years?

4 month delay in getting the project started?

increased light pollution?


twostroketerror 9 years, 7 months ago

No cookie for you trouble! I mean, using facts in the Pilot forum? Who do you think you are? And how can you get 'more' light pollution? We can see the glow from Willow Creek Pass on a good night.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 7 months ago

Actually, as far as Superintendents go, we've gone thru 1 in 4yrs. If I remember correct, Simms took over long before 1997, so she can't be counted as being "gone thru." Plus, the new Super was hired as an interim. It will be up to the newly elected Board as to whether we "go thru" her or she continues afterward.


corduroy 9 years, 7 months ago

I dunno about anyone else but I'm really excited at the possibilities night skiing brings.. my only question, is that open to the public or do you have to be Winter Sports Club? Would be nice to not have to always cut out of work to get in some turns on Mt Werner.. seriously


bcpow 9 years, 7 months ago

A headlamp and some skins can get you all the night skiing that you want.


ihatestupidpeople 9 years, 7 months ago

people in steamboat complain about not enough activities to do for kids or them selves now they are doing it and all you whine hello you live in ski town usa if you dont want to then f+++en move. thats what the lights are helping for. why dont you go and support them and go watch a race or ski at night instead of sitting behind a computer whining about the city doing something productive for the community.


dimwitiguess 9 years, 7 months ago


Right on. you can find lots of whining and moaning and bellyaching on these blogs of the Pilot. That's what the Pilot blogs are all about. Btching and moaning. And that's from those who are more positive. It is fun to watch and have a chuckle. It's also a good place to set some others straight. no matter what's "reported" (using the term losely) someone has to sling a fist full. It's their free speech when they don't have to identify themselves. "..and the home of the Braaaavveeee!" It's the "American" way of life. But what do I know, I'm just a dimwitiguess.


inmate2007 9 years, 7 months ago

bcpow, I was never into cross but a full moon, an agreeable lift op., and a lot of chutzpah made for some very memorable night skiing. We communed with nature and were fairly green.


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