An artist rendering included in the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission's agenda for Aug. 8 shows what Steamboat Ski Area would look like at night with the new lights.

Courtesy rendering

An artist rendering included in the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission's agenda for Aug. 8 shows what Steamboat Ski Area would look like at night with the new lights.

Steamboat Springs City Council to weigh night skiing plan as some residents voice concern


Past Event

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

  • Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free


— Mark Booth thought the base of the Steamboat Ski Area would be the perfect place to live full time during his retirement.

But the ski area's plan to illuminate 1,000 vertical feet of the lower mountain for night skiing has Booth less enthusiastic about his move to Steamboat.

“The noise and light pollution issues will be significant,” the Edgemont condominium owner wrote in a letter to the Steamboat Springs City Council opposing the Ski Area's plan to add the lights and offer night skiing on five trails. “Simply put, I would have never made this significant investment knowing my front yard would be a three-ring circus every night all winter long. It will not only severely compromise a standard of living, it will also reduce the value of any slope-side facing unit.”

Booth isn't alone in his objections to the night skiing plan.

Several base area condo owners, especially at Edgemont and Bearclaw, have written the City Council and the Steamboat Planning Commission in recent days to say the plan likely is to bring unwanted noise outside of their slope-side units and hurt the views of a starry night sky.

After hearing a lot of public comment from both supporters and opponents of the night skiing proposal, the Planning Commission earlier this month voted unanimously to approve the ski area's development plan.

The City Council will weigh the proposal for the first time Tuesday night.

Supporters of night skiing say the activity will help revitalize the base area that usually seems deserted after dark.

They add it provides another amenity for guests and could have positive economic impacts.

Opponents point to the potential negative impact of the lights on the night sky and night skiing's potential to bring unwanted noise.

Faced with the concern of some nearby property owners, ski area officials have stressed that they are using newer lighting technology that will result in less brightness and glare than existing lighting setups, like those at Howelsen Hill.

The lights at Steamboat Ski Area also must be turned off by 9:30 p.m. They will be allowed to remain on until 11 p.m. up to 10 times per year for special events.

If the City Council also endorses the plan and the new amenity is offered this ski season, Steamboat would join a small list of ski areas in the state that offers night skiing.

Booth said if the proposal is approved, he's still willing to give it a shot in his slopeside condo.

“You've got to give it a chance and see if it works out,” he said. “If I can deal with it, I'll stay. If not, I'll sell and move elsewhere.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the worst case scenario is all too likely to happen. I think it will generally not be popular, any popularity it will have will be among noisy teenagers, and Ski Corps will have advertised it as an amenity so they won't shut it down when it isn't working well.

It would be better if Ski Corps proposed it for just a few weeks in March when it is less bitterly code and more likely to be somewhat successful.


cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Competition for the winter tourists is stiff and anything Ski Corp can do to add additional amenities is a "leg-up" on the other resorts. I hope one of the slopes will be set aside for tubing which was also very popular. Until Ski Time Square is re-built with additional night life amenities, we need all the activities we can get at the base of the ski mountain. Plus it will require additional staffing and the locals need all the additional work they can get. I have little sympathy for property owners ON the slopes as night life is the usual scenario in a ski resort. Star gazing is not a sales point for ski-in/ski-out real estate - and whose to say night skiing won't add to the value of slope side real estate!


Kevin Nerney 3 years, 9 months ago

Rebuilding Ski Time Square is not even on the horizon let alone anytime soon. If the city and ski corp wanted to earn money they would allow previous ski time sq. business people to set up temporary tents like they do for MusicFest and the Sheraton has for weddings on the grounds and have all the night life visitors could handle. But then again that would make to much sense and common sense is not councils forte.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 9 months ago

Only time will tell if this will be a positive for the ski area. I have "no dog in the hunt" as I live 25 minutes from the base. If it opens up employment opportunities then I guess that is a good thing. I can't imagine that I would ever ski at night and wonder how many tourists would as well. I guess if a lot of snow fell the tourists might participate other wise, hopefully they will be spending their money at the shops and restaurants.


Brian Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

At first I thought I would never ski at night, but after thinking about my 9-5 job, M-F, you know what, I might go makes some turns in the evening if the snow is good. Also, if it provides more employment hours for locals which I imagine it would, not only for Ski Corp, but more business for spots such as Slopeside/Saketumi etc, I am all for it.


rhys jones 3 years, 9 months ago

I've always enjoyed night skiing, at Eldora, Big Bear, and Keystone. The low, stark lighting actually provides better snow definition and visibility than many of our overcast, flat-light days.

Noise and light pollution would be NOTHING compared to the challenges thrown us townies by our pet, Howelsen, every night, all winter -- this valley is like a giant loudspeaker, reinforcing the sound; it's almost as loud outside my door, as at the venue itself. Sweetwater too. I just turn up WWOZ to compensate.

Anybody living at the base area volunteered for a circus, so I wish Ski Corp the best of luck with their venture, and sincerely hope Council does not levy a heavy hand, which would be par for the course.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 9 months ago

I remember ski patrolling at night at Afton Alps in Minnesota many years ago. - who knew MN. had alps - right. Vertical drop 350 feet. When the sun went down it got darn cold. Accident on the slopes are never good but at night in the cold just seems to compound the problem. I wish our ski patrol here the best, thank goodness they are darn good.


rhys jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey Dan -- was that anything like Buck Hill, south of Minneapolis off I-35? Looked like a bunch of bulldozers built that pile of dirt on the prairie, and people were waiting in line an hour to ski it, a 15-second run, even assuming turns. I've known some good skiers from Minnesota, however.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 9 months ago

Buck Hill vertical 245 feet but same idea although Afton had a lot more runs and lifts then Buck Bump. wait in a long line to make 6 or 8 turns then back in line. Erich Sailor runs a ski camp out of Buck Hill. My brother's kids (ski out of Eldora) have gone back to MN for the ski camp at Buck Hill that Erich Sailor runs over Christmas break. The training run has a good old fashioned rope tow so the racers get lots of gates in.


john bailey 3 years, 9 months ago

Afton alps? sounds familiar, I think my dad took me there in 70/71 I believe west of minn/stpaul right?, we lived up in grand forks , -25 degrees, bbrrrrrr actually learned to ski at turtle river , a river bed so to speak.......... as for the other thread , Dan , no , prefer my concerts at the big ski hill , feel like a sardine at the small hill, like to spread em out, the hulainnnggg sounds fantastic , but not as nice as my DWs belly dance troupe , you know the one , right?`;0) see ya at the bottom of the pass manana as them fellas come screaming off the passsssssss yeehaaaa.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 9 months ago

we will be up on the pass. hulaing away as they go flying by. hope to see you there


christopher dreher 3 years, 9 months ago

steamboat is a family ski resort not a retirement community...casey pond retirement home im sure is taking applications!!! I moved to mountain village to and excited to get the 1100ft skinning to gondola in the evening is even easier!!!!


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