Steamboat City Council rejects $1 lift tickets at Howelsen Hill | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat City Council rejects $1 lift tickets at Howelsen Hill

Skiers come down Howelsen Hill on opening day in 2011.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs City Council thinks $1 lift tickets at Howelsen Hill are too much of a leap for the city to take.

But the council decided Tuesday night to increase the number of free skiing Sundays at the park this winter to entice more residents and visitors to use it.

Council members who weren't on board with the dollar lift tickets or a completely free skiing season for locals at Howelsen feared it would cost the city too much money and perhaps create too much traffic at the hill.

"I don't see the long-run success to this if we open this up free or $1 skiing all day, every day," Council President Pro-Tem Jason Lacy said. "Once you open that door, how do you ever go back?"

Lacy said the city needed to balance making Howelsen more affordable with the city's fiscal reality.

The council's decision on Howelsen lift tickets came despite calls from some community members, and one council member, to go even further and offer steeper skiing discounts.

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Councilwoman Robin Crossan wanted the city to offer $1 lift tickets on all days Howelsen was open for public skiing.

"It's a tremendous marketing tool, and it allows anyone to come down and ski for $1," she said.

South Routt County resident Dave Miller also urged the council to offer the $1 lift tickets all season.

He said when he first heard the idea, he thought it was “brilliant.”

He added that the city would stand out in a ski industry that is becoming more and more expensive.

"It's going to tell the whole world that Steamboat is not elitist, and it's friendly for families," Miller said.

Council President Walter Magill, who first floated the $1 lift ticket idea, said he thought it should be scaled back to a more limited set of free ski days.

He said his feelings changed on the idea after some community members expressed concerns about a loss of revenue and limited public skiing hours.

"There's a lot of time where the chairlift is not running, and not so much opportunities to enjoy all this free skiing," Magill said.

Instead of $1 lift tickets, skiing will be free at Howelsen every Sunday that public skiing can be accommodated this season.

The city is also going to invite nonprofits to sell concessions at the free ski days as fundraisers.

Nonprofits interested in providing concessions can call government programs manager Winnie DelliQuadri at 970-871-8257.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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