Steamboat Ski Area tones down plans for weekly fireworks after some residents raise concerns | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Ski Area tones down plans for weekly fireworks after some residents raise concerns

Fireworks light up the sky at the Steamboat Ski Area.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A new weekly winter fireworks show at Steamboat Ski Area will pack less of a punch than originally planned after some community members raised concerns about the frequency of the shows and how the explosions would impact the city’s canines.

Ski Area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said Thursday the biggest mortars are being pulled from the upcoming shows at the base area starting with the inaugural event Friday night.

"We're trying to create that unique and magical experience, but we hear the concerns," she said.

She said the move won't remove the biggest fireworks from the Friday night fireworks displays. Rather, the ski area is pulling the ones that go up and create a flash of white before making the loudest bang out of all the fireworks.

Ski area officials started asking about ways to tone down the shows after they saw concerns raised in a letter to the editor published this week in Steamboat Today.

Steamboat resident Erin Biggs said her dog is terrified of fireworks, and she questioned whether fireworks needed to go off every weekend through the winter.

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"I like fireworks," she wrote. "They're pretty and exciting, but do we really need them every single weekend through the winter? Are we trying to call ourselves ‘Fireworks Town, USA’ now?”

She also raised concerns about air pollution.

Biggs' letter was met with mixed reactions on social media, with some residents agreeing that the fireworks had become excessive, and others saying they enjoyed them and dogs can be trained to tolerate the loud noises.

"We discovered July 4 how my dog reacts to fireworks," Biggs said Thursday. "He gets scared. He hides. He tries to eat the entire house. And it's not just him. It's the wildlife, the veterans with PTSD and the air we're breathing."

Steamboat City Councilwoman Sonja Macys, who lives in the council district that includes the base area, said she hadn't heard any formal complaints about the base area fireworks from constituents.

But she said she has heard from multiple residents who think the fireworks will be a positive way to lure more people to the base area this winter.

The fireworks will be part of a new event at the base area called Steamboat Friday Nights, which runs every Friday through March 30.

The action starts at 4:45 p.m., when residents and visitors who are intermediate-level skiers can sign up to participate in the Light Up Ski Parade.

The ski parade, which involves skiers making turns down the Stampede Trail at night holding torches, starts at 5:30 p.m.

The event continues with trivia at the Bear River Bar and Grill at 6 p.m. (except for Jan. 5, Feb. 2 and Feb. 23).

The finale will be the fireworks at 7:30 p.m. every Friday.

The resort does not need to get an exemption from city noise ordinances to be able to conduct the weekly fireworks shows.

That's because fireworks are listed along with parades, emergency vehicles and street sweepers as items that are exempt from the city noise pollution rules.

The last noise ordinance exemption the city approved was for a loud steam-whistle that sounds every day at the base area.

Kasten said the company that sets off the fireworks at the base obtains the necessary permits from the city's fire department.

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