Geothermal still in play at ski area base

Natural heat remains partial solution for promenade snowmelt


— Using geothermal heat to boost a snowmelt system beneath Steamboat's new ski base promenade is still a possibility.

Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum said a hybrid geothermal/natural gas-fired boiler system would be discussed when the Base Area Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee meets this afternoon at Centennial Hall. The 1 p.m. session is the committee's first full meeting since Steamboat Springs City Council gave its blessings May 5 for the issuance of $12.5 million in bonds to continue work on public improvements at the base of Steamboat Ski Area during the recession.

"It's all preliminary at this point," Kracum said about using geothermal energy for a snowmelt system. "But one thing we'll look at is using a ground source heat pump as a base level (source of energy) and then using a boiler," to supply the remaining energy needs.

There are many details to be considered before the feasibility of a hybrid system could be confirmed, Kracum added. Such a system would involve higher capital costs, but would offer lower operating costs and reduced carbon emissions throughout the life of the system.

Also on the table will be targeted snowmelt areas and the needed mechanical systems.

The majority of today's meeting will be devoted to a discussion of a Burgess Creek diversion structure, which represents the first step in bringing the creek back above ground from the culvert where it flows beneath the lowest ski slopes, Kracum said.

The diversion structure can be likened to an irrigation structure on a ranch, pulling a portion of a stream's flow out of its channel to water a hay meadow.

In this case, only a portion of the Burgess Creek's seasonal flows - enough to provide a depth of about 6 inches - would be diverted from the underground culvert into a second pipe that would lead to a new streambed, Kracum said. The heavy flows of spring and early summer would remain in the larger culvert.

URAAC members met with neighboring property owners and utility company representatives at the site Wednesday.


jeff roman 7 years, 11 months ago

you would have thought that before waisting 400,000 $ dollars of the tax payers money for laying lines.they would have found a good heat source


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