The Howelsen Hill Ski Area is the oldest continuously operated ski area in Colorado and is an integral part of Steamboat Springs. Imagine what our town would be today if it wasn’t for Carl Howelsen’s and many others’ vision to bring skiing to this isolated part of Colorado. Granted, Northwest Colorado would always be a special place, but skiing plays a big part of our economy and lifestyle.
Now think about the reality of today’s economics. The city’s budget is shrinking and the Parks and Recreation Department’s portion has been dramatically cut. For those of you who may not know, Howelsen Hill’s operating expenses come out of this budget. The partnership between the city and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to operate Howelsen Hill has been a successful one, and that translates into a good experience for the residents of Northwest Colorado.
A big thank you to the Parks and Rec staff and the Winter Sports Club for their continuing efforts. I now think they need more help from the community. There is a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center this Wednesday to start a conversation about Howelsen Hill’s future plans. I encourage anyone interested to attend this meeting to see how we, as a community, can keep Howelsen Hill viable.
Finally, you may have seen the new Howelsen Hill pass prices for skiing and riding for the 2011-12 season. These increases reflect the economic realties of the times. Please support Howelsen Hill and buy these passes or day tickets if you use the trails. Howelsen Hill is not a free city park. The trails are maintained and groomed by city and Winter Sports Club staff, which costs money. Please obey the rules, such as no dogs or running on the trails (you can make you own way up Emerald Mountain, or use the many other trails around town). These rules help keep the trails in good shape for the paying customers of the facility.