Steamboat Springs City Council to weigh night skiing plan as some residents voice concern | SteamboatToday.com

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

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.

— 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 scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com