- Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 5:30 p.m.
- Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Native Excavating crews worked Friday to repair a slump near the Alpine Slide on Howelsen Hill.
The project and others like it are part of an ongoing effort to stabilize Howelsen Hill, which requires regular monitoring and maintenance because of slides, cracks and slumps.
“Is there a way to prevent it from happening? No,” said Chris Wilson, city of Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department director. “Because of the geology, the water, the slope … that’s what nature is going to do.”
Wilson said the city has worked to stabilize the hill for years.
The city budgeted $350,000 this year in its Capital Improvement Program to address stabilization and engineering at the historic ski hill. It has budgeted $250,000 for next year and $115,000 for 2013.
“We haven’t put together a contingency for slide maintenance,” Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark said. “In fact, this year we had to scrape together dollars from projects that were completed to pay for the slide. We just don’t have a buffer for that in the future going forward.”
Hinsvark said future funding to stabilize Howelsen would have to come from already received Colorado Lottery Conservation Trust Fund dollars, grant funding or reserves.
Wilson said he expects Howelsen to continue having problems. Northwest Colorado Consultants prepared a report to help the city address maintenance and repair issues.
For example, Wilson said a crack in the ground from excess moisture in the spring led to the slump near the Alpine Slide. He said the report instructed the city to fill the crack with clay, seal it and reseed the area.
The report also identified a solution for a slide that took place on the K-90 jump in the summer, Wilson said. He said holes were drilled to bedrock or more stable soil, and rebar-like rods were inserted with concrete injected around them. After the rods were covered with dirt, Wilson said a wire fabric was laid on top and connected to the nails.
Wilson said it’s similar to the fencing that prevents rockslides on the slopes that run along Interstate 70.
Native Excavating owner Ed MacArthur said his company has been working to repair the ski jump and slumps near the Alpine Slide and Mile Run. He expected work to be finished by Saturday and said his company has been doing similar work for about five years.
“There’s always little slumps on Howelsen,” MacArthur said. “They get overly saturated, they slide and they have to get put back together. There are going to be a couple of those every year.”
Like issues related to high-water runoff, Hinsvark said it’s difficult to predict the cost of repairs to Howelsen.
Wilson said the Howelsen stabilization issue likely would come up when the Parks and Recreation Commission meets during a work session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. He said most of the conversation would be directed toward the city’s long-term vision for the ski hill and whether it can generate revenue.
The city’s general fund subsidizes the operation of Howelsen Hill and the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena annually. The figure has reached nearly $1 million in recent years, almost entirely for Howelsen, and is budgeted for nearly $800,000 next year.
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com