Our view: Closing day crackdown a good move


Sunday closed the books on a winter local skiers and riders won't soon forget. Almost 500 inches of snow fell on mid-mountain from October through this past weekend, marking the highest total recorded since the Steamboat Ski Area began tracking snowfall in the winter of 1979-80.

Big snow drives tourism, and Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley could reap the benefits of this winter for several seasons to come. That's something we can all celebrate.

But the winter of 2007-08 wasn't without tragedy. Two visiting skiers and riders died within 10 days of one another, a tragic result of the depth of snow on Mount Werner.

We think Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials had tragedy prevention in mind when they made an effort to curtail the unruly, sometimes dangerous behavior of skiers and riders on closing weekend.

Ski Corp. closed upper-mountain lifts at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and the rest of the lifts shut down at 3 p.m. Ski Corp. security personnel and Steamboat Springs Police Department officers took a zero-tolerance approach to illegal drinking and inappropriate behavior. Gondola riders were subject to clothing, backpack and hydration pack checks as they boarded the lift, and police and community service officers roamed the base of Headwall during annual closing weekend festivities such as the Cardboard Classic. Violators were threatened with loss of skiing privileges for the 2008-09 season.

Ski Corp. has good reason to take such steps this year. Recent closing day weekends, as well as the traditional April 1 "Gaper Day," have seen uncontrolled on-mountain drinking and the resulting reports of assaults and injuries, not to mention numerous complaints from visitors and residents about disrespectful behavior.

There are some who undoubtedly will complain about the increased control of a weekend typically embraced by local skiers and riders. Those critics often cite the good old days of events such as the Ball Hooter Classic or the original Cardboard Classic, which was done in loose cooperation with Ski Corp., not controlled by it. Times have changed, they say.

They're right. But more to the point is the dangerous extremes to which some skiers and riders have made a habit of reaching on closing weekend. It's a shame the actions of a relative minority force changes that impact everyone else. But we can't blame Ski Corp. for wanting to rein in such reckless behavior. In fact, we support its efforts to increase safety.

But we also think Ski Corp. should have taken it one step further. If ski area officials really are concerned about inappropriate behavior and excessive drinking, they could have set the tone by closing on-mountain bars last weekend. Skiers and riders intent on drinking still would have been able to do so at any number of base area establishments, but not in Ski Corp.'s on-mountain facilities, from which celebrating skiers still had to descend to the base on any number of crowded ski trails. Such a decision would have exemplified an even more convincing commitment to customer safety.

As it was, the first Springalicious festival is something worth building upon. The live music was entertaining, the pond skimming competition provided a new twist to closing weekend, and the crackdown on illegal drinking and unruly behavior brought out a number of families who otherwise might have stayed home. All in all, it was a positive end to a spectacular season.


mtroach 9 years ago

The Crackdown did not effect the great ski conditions that the mountain served up, I cannot even think how nice it is up ther right now, or after this next storm hits. We skiied Closets on the last run in some nice powder conditions.

The one problem I had was with parking, and shuttles. The meadows lot was full, and we were waved into the tennis parking lot, and had to walk to the meadows lot and wait for a shuttle, along with two or three shuttles worth of skiiers. The wait took longer than needed because as the shuttles returned, they were trolling the rows and dropping off departing skiiers at their respective cars. I think the the shuttles should have a centralized drop off and pickup point. This would speed up the service, and lessen the wait on those days when everybody is triing to get onto the mountain. If I'm paying more for a pass next year, i'd like some thought put into faster, more efficent service from the shuttles, Every group of skiiers waiting next to their cars is not an efficent system.


digit1964 9 years ago

Parking? Parking???... these guys could care less about locals parking problems.. Wait till next year!!


ihatestupidpeople 9 years ago

i think that the reason that they kept the bars on the mt open is so intrawest could make more money and screw the locals that helped them have a wonderful season it is better than any January that i have seen in a long time up there. to heck with steamboat our mt is really starting to suck.


trump_suit 9 years ago

489" does not "suck". It is hard to beleive the whiners that continue to complain about the greatest snow season on record. How many powder days did you get this year?

I think the crackdown and the number of police onsite went a bit too far, but let's face the problem square on here. Many of you went too far at last years closing and caused all of us to suffer this year.

A little moderation in behavior and drinking would do the entire community good.


ihatestupidpeople 9 years ago

it had nothing to do with last year it was with the trust funders on gaper day cracked out on drugs and drunk about 50 of them and the ruined it for the rest of us that wanted to have our bbq in our spots on the mt. don't get me wrong it was and awesome season but i will not be back next yr what a good last year


SilverSpoon 9 years ago

That darn fourth amendment.

Lets stop the illegal searches of our possesions.

Lets DO get more breathalizers. At the top of the gondola, breathalize EVERYONE. If you blow more than the allowed level, you get sent right back down, without your pass. There is no need for probable cause to search you, right? Your attempting to go skiing, that is cause enough, and you have a backpack for your avalanche gear, that counts as probable cause right?


dave reynolds 9 years ago

Amen tuff guy....has definely changed lots of punks and people who feel entitled...but let not forget they are HARD WORKING LOCALS..ya right working Mom and dad for al they can get


Glenn Hilley 9 years ago

God, how I long for the mid to late 70's. My Bota bag was always full and my good friends and I would spend seemingly endless days catching a good buzz and skiing our arses off. Nobody ever got hurt and we never offended anyone. How I wish that any local young person could reach back and experience the freedom that we used to know while experiencing the fun of skiing. $ 7.50 for a full day lift ticket wasn't bad either. I am truly embarrassed for the local cops who had to participate in what has to be one of the lowest levels of law enforcement in local history.


bluntman 9 years ago

GOOD MORNING SKIERS AND RIDERS! this is bluntman here with your 5 a.m. ski report for thursday, april 10... AND IT'S ANOTHER POWDER DAY IN DA BOAT!



powderman 9 years ago

and its still snowing... but what can you do? they shouldve at least kept the mountain open til 4


dave reynolds 9 years ago

I agree with you cotton but it has come to a point where I don't even bother skiing the last few days cause of the crap thats going on...the kids at see me ski I mean cmc..are rude obnokious(spl) and out of control..something had to be done not that i advocate over endulging but if you cann't respect people when your drunk or high the you probably shouldn't be any of the above..heard one gaper slapped a woman on theb...t and got chased down by hubby who by the way was on tellies.gaper on snowboard..well lets say theres one less punk to deal with next year


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