The Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association gave the Steamboat Ski Area promenade an award this month for excellence in engineering and construction.

Photo by Matt Stensland

The Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association gave the Steamboat Ski Area promenade an award this month for excellence in engineering and construction.

Steamboat Ski Area promenade claims 1st award

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— Steamboat Springs’ new public promenade along the snow’s edge at the base of Steamboat Ski Area hasn’t even been dedicated, and already it’s winning awards.

The Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association gave the promenade an award this month for excellence in engineering and construction.

General contractor Duckels Construction and the city’s planning and construction representative, JBCM LLC, were recognized for the creativity and attention to detail reflected in the project, which includes restoring Burgess Creek to a dramatic streambed of sandstone slabs in the summer. The creek had run beneath the ski trails in a culvert for 45 years before the project was undertaken.

Project Manager Derick Duckels said great care was taken with the interface between the stream and the lower ski trails.

“Among the challenges was creating a properly scaled natural-looking creek bed for the daylighted stream segment to run through during the summer without interfering with ski area operations in the winter,” he was quoted as saying in a news release.

The formal dedication of the almost $10 million promenade, on which construction began in 2007, is scheduled for July Fourth weekend, but ski vacationers rapidly are adapting to the heated trail of pavers and the series of fire pits that link One Steamboat Place on the south end to Torian Plum Plaza on the north rim of the ski base. As the days get longer, it is becoming a gathering place.

“One thing I didn’t anticipate is seeing people walking in ski boots who are using the ramp instead of the stairs to get to Torian Plum,” David Baldinger Jr. said Friday.

Baldinger, together with Steve Frasier, is co-chair of the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee. The committee members make recommendations to the Steamboat Springs City Council about how to spend the proceeds of bonds backed by the city’s tax incremental financing that captures growth in property taxes at the base of the ski area.

The proceeds of the bonds were used to build the snow-melted promenade of brick pavers that for the first time provides a convenient pedestrian trail from the south side of the ski base to the north.

“I knew people would enjoy it, but already it has made the base area a lot stickier (causing visitors to linger). People, including locals, are hanging out on the promenade for an hour or two beyond the end of the skiing day,” Baldinger said.

Area Advisory Committee spokeswoman Lyn Halliday wrote in a news release this week that the public improvements along the promenade have been bolstered by private investments of about $5 million by the Torian Plum homeowners association, Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Ski Corp. took the opportunity to fund a snowmelt system under the brick pavers in Gondola Square and at the same time built a permanent stage for musical acts with public restrooms in the lower level.

The Bear River Bar & Grill deck underwent improvements, and the snow-melted pavers and beautification were extended to Torian Plum Plaza.

What winter visitors to the base of Mount Werner may not realize, especially if they traveled to Steamboat from out of town, is that soon after the snow melts in May, the area along either side of the promenade will be transformed by the sandstone slabs where Burgess Creek will flow through a series of pools made safe for wading by a flow regulation system that will control the level of the stream, even during periods of high snowmelt. Duckels said many of the features, including boulder drops, stone crossings and pocket beaches, were adjusted on-site to achieve the best design.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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