City officials continue to monitor Howelsen Hill landslide | SteamboatToday.com

City officials continue to monitor Howelsen Hill landslide

City officials say it's too early to gauge impact of latest Howelsen slide

Scott Franz

A head scarp from a recent landslide can be seen cutting across the face of Howelsen Hill. For the second year in a row, the slide threatens lights, lift towers and the Alpine slide. Anticipating further movement on the hill, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club proactively took sections of the slide apart.

— Howelsen Hill won't sit still.

City officials are currently monitoring a shallow landslide on the upper face of the city's historic ski hill that started this spring.

Officials say it's still too early to tell if the latest movement on the city's historic hill will again impact summer operations of The Howler Steamboat Springs Alpine Slide.

The damage caused by the landslide appears as a long scar that runs from the Alpine slide almost to the Poma lift.

It appears to have grown longer and larger in recent days.

"I don't think the rain has helped us," Howelsen Hill Supervisor Brad Setter said Wednesday. "We're in wait-and-see mode."

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Some pieces of the Alpine slide have been shifted by the moving earth, and a city parks staff member has regularly been making the trek up Howelsen to monitor the movement.

One staff member is simply referring to the feature as "the crack."

Brian Len, of Northwest Colorado Consultants, has a long history of evaluating llandslides on Howelsen.

He said "the crack" is actually a head scarp from a relatively shallow landslide or slump.

It is in the same general area as a previous landslide that shifted a lift tower and damaged the Alpine slide last year.

Setter said the company that repaired the lift tower will travel to Steamboat Springs soon to check on the integrity of the infrastructure.

"It's hard to tell exactly what's happening," Setter said of the recent movement on the hill.

Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said Tuesday the slide was inching closer to the Poma Lift earlier this week, but Setter said it doesn't appear the movement will affect that lift this spring.

He added the public should not hike up the hill to view the landslide, because some soil in the area is still wet and unstable.

The damage caused by last year's landslide cost the city $355,000 to repair.

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