Our View: Night skiing at Steamboat Ski Area a welcome addition

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At issue

Night skiing at Steamboat Ski Area

Our view

The proposal will add value to the Steamboat ski experience.

Reader poll

Do you have concerns about noise or light pollution stemming from Steamboat Ski Area’s plan to add night skiing?

  • Yes, I have concerns about noise and light pollution. 35%
  • Yes, I have concerns about noise pollution. 1%
  • Yes, I have concerns about light pollution. 11%
  • No, I don’t have concerns about either noise or light pollution. 53%

369 total votes.

Steamboat Today editorial board — June to December 2013

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • David Baldinger Jr., community representative
  • Lisa Brown, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

The proposal by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. to add night skiing, first announced in April, is gaining traction following a community informational meeting held last week and a pair of city hearings planned for Thursday and Aug. 20. The Steamboat Pilot & Today views the plans as a positive development that will enhance ongoing improvements at the base area and add more value to the Steamboat ski experience.

Night skiing would be a welcome addition to the $35 million in public and private funds that have been invested in updating the base area of the ski mountain during the past six years, including completion of the promenade. At the July 31 community meeting, Ski Corp. Vice President of Operations Doug Allen described night skiing as “the next logical step in re-energizing the base.” He added that all the vitality created by the base improvements “goes away after dark.”

The addition of night skiing would position Steamboat Ski Area as the only pure destination ski area that offers that amenity and would place it on the short list of other Colorado resorts that offer the option, giving Ski Town USA an edge in attracting visitors, particularly families, who want to ski as much as they can during their visits. The night skiing option would enhance the overall ski experience, especially for those booking four- or five-day ski getaways. When a group checks into its condo on a Thursday afternoon, they could be out on the slopes that evening, creating an exciting start to the visitors’ time at Steamboat.

Keystone added night skiing in 1985, and resort officials there said the attraction is very popular and often is cited as the reason visitors choose Keystone over other resorts. Because Steamboat is a resort known for its family atmosphere, night skiing only would add to its appeal and would serve to attract even more visitors to the ski area.

The plan would light about 1,000 vertical feet of lower terrain served by the Christie Peak Express lift, including the Sitz, See Me, See Ya, Vogue and Stampede trails and the Lil’ Rodeo Terrain Park. Lights would go out on the mountain at about 8:30 p.m., marking the end of extended ski hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the winter. Those hours could be extended to 9:30 p.m. in the spring and possibly to 11 p.m. for special events.

Ski Corp. is proposing to utilize a sophisticated lighting system designed to minimize glare and light pollution. City officials attended a light demonstration at the ski area in April, and at that time, they reported being impressed with the proposed lower wattage magnetic induction system developed by Ultra-Tech. The lights are lower to the ground and produce less light than the system used to illuminate the slopes at Howelsen Hill.

Lighting the mountain at night might take a little getting used to for those living near the base of the ski area, but we think the benefits of night skiing far outweigh any negatives. It could be argued that night skiing would make ski-in, ski-out properties more valuable from a sales and rental perspective. Additionally, it should increase tourism traffic for mountain village lodging properties, restaurants and businesses, many of which have contributed to base area improvements.

We support approval of Steamboat Ski Area’s permit application for night skiing, and we urge members of the Steamboat Springs City Council to vote in favor of it when the time comes. For those members of the public who want to learn more about the proposal, there still are two more chances to attend meetings on the subject. A hearing before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission will be held Thursday, and the City Council will discuss the application at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Comments

zak ryan 1 year, 2 months ago

Soo how about an "in county" locals discount on season passes? Its our working class community that caters to the tourism thats generated by the mountain. A little blue collar appreciation would be nice. I do look forward to Ski Times Square livening up with the night life again. When i first came to steamboat the Tugboat was the hot spot. When those lights go out at the end of the evening, a second wave of dinner rush is sure to hit the local restaurants. All around the amount of man hours that will be needed to make all this possible will create more positions for the mountain and surrounding businesses. All in all a great move for Steamboat. A locals discount would still be nice though, jus sayin.

1

Cresean Sterne 1 year, 2 months ago

Day skiing in Vai is more expensive then Steamboat but a season pass is around half the price. Hmmmm......

1

Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

That is because Vail Resorts sells a ton of the season passes to people in the Front Range. It is a good deal even if you plan on skiing only a half dozen times.

Because Vail Resorts sells so many of the season passes to people that ski only a few days, their revenue per skier day on a season pass was still over $30.

The people buying SB Ski Area passes are more likely to ski many days and so the ski area's revenue per skier day on a pass is probably no better than Vail's.

Someone that skis 50+ days on a season pass is getting a great deal per day skied.

The local workers with day jobs and so would ski around 20-30 days are the ones without a good option. The 15 day pass approaches the price of the season pass (25% less than season pass price) at about $50 per day if using all 15 days.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

Nightlife hot spots need critical mass allowing people to move around and meet people. It appears the ski area base has lost that critical mass currently enjoyed by downtown.

I think night skiing smells of desperation because it is not a new idea and it is not offered at other higher end ski resorts. Night skiing seems most popular for families on a budget with teenagers as something for them to do in the evening. But most adults are tired enough after skiing during the day and have other things to do in the evening.

The Keystone/A-Basin season pass is $279. So Keystone fits into Vail Resorts portfolio as the affordable ski area. Similar to how Howelson Hill compares to SB Ski Area.

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Cresean Sterne 1 year, 2 months ago

That may be so but $1000 for a season pass is still to much..Steamboat has always been expensive to ski but unlike areas such as snowbird or jackson hole there is no comparison. Those areas get tons of light snow, have incredibly steep terrain and offer an expensive tram service..There prices reflect that price comparable to here..They also dont have a base area in shambles like our ski time square..We offer less for more and always have..Dont get me wrong,I wouldnt change where I live or ski becuse of the price and I think Stmbt knows that..They have us all by the ba**s because we are far enough away from other area and traveling there is not an option for many..We used to have perks to ski other areas owned by the same corporation. This helped a bit to refect the price but that is no more unless you want to pay a litte more to ski winter park..It has become very hard for locals to cough up $1,000 for a ski pas espcialy with our economy still underwater. If Stmbt could cut that cost by a couple hundred dollars or offer some kind of incentive it would go a long way for appreciating the locals here..I will say that in the last 25 yrs, Stmbt has only raised there prices by $250 -300..Not bad but still to much when you compare it to others..I have many friends now that dont ski except by snowmobile because of the price and that number is getting larger forcing more people to look elsewhere for their daily fix.

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Cresean Sterne 1 year, 2 months ago

I just hope that they dont raise the price of the season pass if night skiing gets the green light. Or even worse, charge pass holders extra everytime they want to go night skiing..Also I am interested in any comments on the $20 fee to take the short gondola ride in the summer time..My wife and her mother wanted to take a quick trip up the gondola to see Stmbt from above and take a few photos..I was the only pass holder so my ride would have been free but it would have been $40 for the two of them to go up for about 1/2 hour to take a few photos..IMO thats just crazy expensive for a 10 min gondola ride so instead we did other things..Its to bad because it is a great view from up there but IMO not worth the price..

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John St Pierre 1 year, 2 months ago

2 questions:

  1. The mall leading to an especially the Gondola Transit center are not that well lit ...imagine tramping thru w skies etc.... I'm trying to imagine all the families etc.... is the lighting there going to be upgraded also??

  2. How will this impact the Transit system as the heavy load times are going to change and one of the busses usually stops running at 6:30...... additional busses at who's expense??

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