Steamboat announces cost of Howelsen Hill skiing to increase

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected from its original version. The Howelsen Hill Ski Area opens for the 2011-12 season on Dec. 3, conditions permitting.

The city of Steamboat Springs announced Monday that season passes to Howelsen Hill can be purchased online.

Rates have increased since last year. All-access passes bought by Dec. 31 increased to: $75 from $35 for seniors (60 and older); $170 from $160 for adults; $75 from $65 for youths (7 to 18 years old); $35 from $25 for children; $370 from $350 for families; and $95 from $75 for full-time college students.

Adult Nordic rates increased to $110 from $80 for adults and to $250 from $160 for families. Daily pass rates also are increasing from last season.

Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department Director Chris Wilson told the Parks and Recreation Commission this month that rates had not increased for about three years even though the city’s expenses did. He said the city’s Parks and Recreation master plan includes a cost-recovery philosophy, but he added that additional revenue from increased prices won’t be significant.

Wilson added that Howelsen’s prices remain lower than many ski areas of similar size.

The city also reduced Howelsen’s operating hours by about 9 hours and 45 minutes a week this season. Those new hours of operation are 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 3:45 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The ski area will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

To buy season passes online or for a complete price list, visit www.steamboatsprings.net/rec and click on “Howelsen Hill Ski Area.” Season passes will be sold and processed starting Nov. 8 at the Howelsen Hill concession stand from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, excluding Thanksgiving Day.

The city also is looking for Nordic Ambassadors, volunteers who can to educate trail users about using the facility. The ambassadors work in exchange for a free Howelsen Hill Nordic pass. For more information, call 970-879-4300.

The 2011 season at Howelsen Hill opens Dec. 3, conditions permitting.

Comments

Stephen Evans 2 years, 5 months ago

Not happy. Why pick on seniors and Double their price? No skiing on monday? No day skiing thurs and friday? Starting At 3:45 is way too late. Its almost dark in Jan. B by then and with the northern exposure Visability will be poor. Why no skiing before December 31? Families used to enjoy skiing During Christmas holiday when our kids are out of school. A lot of families are unable to afford the high prices at Steamboat ski corp. What happened to ski town USA? Its going to be sad to look up at Howelesen hill this winter on Mon, Tues, Wed and not see Skiiers. Thanks Chris Willson for doing such a poor job. Time for a change

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Chad Fleischer 2 years, 5 months ago

With these hours it may be better to shut the Hill down and let SSWSC pay for and run the place. Not sure how or where the hours of operation stem from but they don't make any sense. Dec 31 start date must be wrong? How could that make any sense? City Council it is time to step up and get involved in what HH is and how it operates. If we are going to save money it cannot be on a non operational ski hill.
Its time for a foundation to be set up to raise funds for HH as a whole and dedicate money and resources where they are most needed. HH is not about just skiing so the foundation could help for bike trails, base area facilities, infrastructure, ski area costs, etc. One of the communities most important assets is being run so no one will use it. No wonder there are fewer and fewer people going there every year.

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isaac barber 2 years, 5 months ago

It says on the .pdf at www.steamboatsprings.net/rec HOWELSEN HILL SKI AREA 2011/2012 RATES & HOURS Opening day - Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 (conditions permitting) Closing day - Sunday, End of March, 2012 (conditions permitting)

Izyc

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CedarBeauregard 2 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone remember all the 4 year/olds skiing on Howelsen during the week.. DURING the day??

Lets keep HH open and Vibrant..

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1999 2 years, 5 months ago

HH used to have a great "nooner" deal.

5 $ for a sandwich and two hours of skiing.

I'm with Cedar...open for MORE hours and you most likely will see MORE people.

open at 10 am so people can actually ski before SSWSC arrives.

with some PR ...HH could be a great alternative to families who want to ski for a few hours but don't want to pay ski corp $$$$.

come on. Chris...get on the ball.!!!!!

the idea to be open for less hours seems shortsighted and downright stupid.

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pitpoodle 2 years, 5 months ago

What can Wilson be thinking? 1999 is right -this is shortsighted and downright stupid. But, don't look to our esteemed council to do anything, as staff makes the decisions here in SBS.

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Brent Boyer 2 years, 5 months ago

All: As Isaac correctly points out, the Howelsen Hill Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 3, conditions permitting. Our sloppy mistake has been corrected in the online version of this story.

Thanks, Brent

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 5 months ago

Prices needed to increase. An adult season pass at Howelsen Hill is STILL cheaper than 2 days at Ski Corp.

Crazy hours are probably to accommodate SSWSC. 3:45? That's when the kiddies get out of school.

How else can they cut costs down there without reducing hours?

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 5 months ago

That place is a ghost town during the week when SSWSC isn't training there. Get real.

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1999 2 years, 5 months ago

i think it's a ghost town because tourists don't know about it and the public ski hours are practically non existant.

with some PR and marketing it could be quite vibrant.

you can't expect to make more money simply by raising prices...you also need to increase usage.

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RinkRat10 2 years, 5 months ago

Municipalities cannot sustain the rising costs of health insurance for employees or make provision for wild fluctuations in utility bills. Electricity, gas, insurance and oil are holding hometown America hostage and forcing hard choices. If I have two thousand gallons of diesel and have to choose between grooming the hill or plowing the street, which will I choose? Eliminate a few employees and the rink stays frozen. Cut some hours so health insurance is isn't provided for a few employees so the others can continue to have their insurance. Maybe sacrifice the rodeo to save transit? All of this will sustain the utility vendors and insurance companies for a while until their voracious rate increases become unsustainable. The infrastructure cannot support the infrastructure anymore.
So, it is necessary to create "Giant View Estates". One hundred, 1/2 acre house lots, facing the Sleeping Giant, at One Million Dollars per lot. Formerly part of Orton Meadows, sale these lots will forestall the closing of Howelsen Hill and provide necessary funding for future operation of said Landmark. Maybe take three million, finish the rink, move the rodeo and build the Community Center in it's place.

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greenwash 2 years, 5 months ago

" Howelson Hill Colorados FIRST Ski area "......Need we say any more?

Take it out of Parks and Recs hands...Set up a volunteer committee/board to run and oversee operations.Just like the old days , similar to OTHS .

Time for a change at parks and open space and hopefully a change at CC starting tonite.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 5 months ago

No, it's been a ghost town during the day at HH for years, even before the city started trimming the hours of operation.

Tourists aren't going to travel to this remote outpost we call steamboat to ski at a place that's probably smaller than their local hill in the midwest. Beginners, people who want to save money and the SSWSC are the main users of HH.

Night skiing should be pretty rad this year. Have you seen all the lights they put up? I think if they expanded the features in the terrain park, they could have a new source of revenue. I can see it being packed with kids when the lights go on at night.

Remember, tubing is a pretty big money maker, and that is operated by SSWSC, not the city.

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pitpoodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Rinkrat, correct me, if I am wrong but doesn't the city self-insure? One hundred lots to be sold for $1m per lot? Uh, like this will happen. Keep in mind, spending choices are not to plow the street or groom Howelson. Two separate pots of money, my friend.
Although, I do like the idea of taking it out of the purview of Parks & Rec. Don't spend that $3m yet.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 5 months ago

People,

Realize that no one wants to run HH. It's a money pit. How many mom and pop ski areas are still operational? Not many. The real money made in the ski business is off of restaurants and lodging, not ski passes.

SSWSC does not want to run HH! Why do you think they gave it to the city in the first place? $$ How many tickets and hotdogs do you have to sell before you break even? Costs run about $800,000 a year, that's a lot of hotdogs.

Focus on core operations at HH (not the jumps which only a few can and do use). Reduce subsidies to the SSWSC. HH will always be in the red, but it's a city park, it's purpose is not to be profitable.

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1999 2 years, 5 months ago

I remember when loads of people skied at HH everyday. it can be a great affordable family place to ski. especially if you don't want to pay 100$ for a couple hours of skiing.

people quit skiing there when they cut the hours and raised prices. kind of like NOW!

again really shortsighted and stupid move by parks and rec.

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greentree 2 years, 5 months ago

Notice that the family rate went up 56%, from $160 to $250. That's a high percentage increase....Still $250 for a full family seems quite reasonable, doesn't it? Then again when you are faced with your budget, the cost of equipment, the cost of classes, prices increasing in just about in every expense category a family typically inccurs, and salaries not increasing, you add all this up, any price increase will make it harder for families to access these services. For those that make the argument that cost is relatively low compared with a pass from Ski Corp, that's true, prices at the hill are relatively speaking much lower than at MW, but please keep in mind that many middle class families who live here cannot afford to set foot on the big mountain, so if what you can afford (the hill) is now more expensive, it certainly does not help.

As a community, if we want to continue to boast home grown and trained world class athletes and olympians, we must keep it so affordable that any kid in town, regardless of economic background, can have access, and make every effort in that direction. the benefits are at multiple levels, the more affordable, the more families will participate, then you have a more extensive and broad talent pool for coaches to work with, and at the same time you give every kid the chance to engage in the sport, which on its own brings so many benefits to that child.

Perhaps volunteering is the answer, as someone suggested in a previous post. Perhaps there could be a volunteering program which could exchange volunteer work for a reduction in the fees? perhaps similarly to what the SSWSC offers with their work deposit? For many the current fees will be fine, but for others having an option to the newly increased rates might be a way to overcome the hurdle of increasing prices.

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Sandra Sharp 2 years, 5 months ago

Volunteering may be the answer for some, however many moms & dads are already working two jobs and/or hours of un-paid overtime. This does not leave any time for volunteering. The gap between the have's and the have not's continues to widen. What we need are more jobs, jobs that pay well.

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sedgemo 2 years, 5 months ago

What about ditching the airline subsidy tax, and instead adding one which would allow locals to ski HH for free. That way we'd all be paying in slowly for a community assett we all adore and use year-round.

I could even change my mind about a grocery/plastic bag fee if the income generated would make HH available FREE to locals.

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sedgemo 2 years, 5 months ago

PS why beat up on seniors so much more than any other user group?

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rhys jones 2 years, 5 months ago

Eh? Speak up, sonny!! I remember when Ski Corp was FREE, for seniors over 70. Though it'll still be a few before I can take advantage of anybody's senior rates, dang it. I remember a year in the '90's when a HH pass was all I could afford, and thankful I was for even that.

I don't think it's fair to ask the general public to support the fun of the some via a tax, any more than to support private business. And I do think they are more than justified in the current rate hikes, even more than sought, bargain that it still is, and in some effort to be self-sustaining. That's my two cents' worth, anyway.

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rhys jones 2 years, 5 months ago

I was a gatekeeper at a women's FIS race at HH once, and a French team coach said this was the "best [GS] course in the country." It's an amenity worth saving.

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sedgemo 2 years, 5 months ago

Hway, I was aiming at more uses than simply skiing, it's a city park and a terrific asset in so many ways... the general public that lives here are the primary beneficiaries, so it's not just for "some" to have fun. But there you go being reasonable...

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rhys jones 2 years, 5 months ago

sedgemo -- John Fielding has some progressive ideas about building a US 40 bypass right behind Howelsen, conveniently making more accessible the new nordic center coming up there. Too bad this didn't come up before today (or I didn't pipe up earlier). Howelsen IS a community asset, arguably deserving tax support. This is one of the few taxes I might vote Yes on.

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sedgemo 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the Nordic Center should be accessible via skis or snowshoes only!!! (okay, and maybe tracked vehicles, but certainly not US Hwy. 40 traffic).

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