Alpine Slide back in business after spring mudslide | SteamboatToday.com

Alpine Slide back in business after spring mudslide

Austin Colbert

Steamboat Springs resident Nolan Sankey rides down the Alpine Slide on Howelsen Hill Wednesday afternoon. Sankey was one of more than two dozen Alpine Slide employees going through orientation, with the slide set to open for the summer on Thursday.

— It took at least one backhoe, more than a few shovels and a lot of hiking up Howelsen Hill, but the Alpine Slide is ready for its first passengers of the season.

"We are extremely happy to have the Alpine Slide back up and running as a premier community amenity," said Eric Friese, director of operations for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which manages the slide. "It's a great tourist activity for people coming to town."

The slide, a longtime Steamboat staple, was damaged during a spring mudslide, when nearly 40 pieces of the 2,400-foot track were shifted down the hill. The mudslide also caused extensive damage to the hill itself, moving one tower of the nearby Barrows Chairlift and putting another at risk of collapse.

With everything back in place, the slide is set to open to the public Thursday and run through Sept. 27.

"I haven't ridden it that much — maybe 10 times. But I'll probably ride it a few more times this summer," said SSWSC Nordic skier Simon Zink, 16, who works summers at the slide. "I like it. I've been to a couple around Colorado, and I think it's one of the better run ones."

More than two dozen Alpine Slide employees went through a short orientation Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Thursday's opening. Many of the employees had been working at the Nordic Screamer, Steamboat's newest summer attraction that takes riders down the Howelsen ski jumps on a sled.

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The Alpine Slide, nicknamed "The Howler," has a much different feel than its more intimidating neighbor.

"They are very different, but they are both equally as fun," said Mackenzie Ward, a junior-to-be at Steamboat Springs High School and SSWSC athlete who is in her second year working at the Alpine Slide. "The Nordic Screamer is more straightforward and straight down, and you can't control your speed on the Nordic Screamer. But that's kind of what's fun about it. And here you can."

It took approximately three weeks to complete repairs on the slide and chairlift, which included a re-grading of the damaged hill. Design approval required some time, but once contractors arrived on site, Friese said the process went fairly quickly.

After consulting with engineers in June, the city of Steamboat Springs estimated it would cost $267,000 to complete work on the chairlift towers. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friese was unsure of the actual final repair cost, adding that the goal was to get the slide up and running so "people have fun things to do here for the summer."

The cost to ride the Alpine Slide is $12 per ride, with discounts for buying multiple tickets. Rides can cost as little as $9 per trip when 25 or more rides are purchased. All proceeds from the slide go toward the young SSWSC athletes.

The slide will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday through Sunday. Beginning Monday through Aug. 23, the slide will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. After Aug. 23 through its closing in late September, the slide will be open Saturdays and Sundays only from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information on the slide, visit steamboatalpineslide.com or call 970-819-8010.

The Alpine Slide

Where: At the base of Howelsen Hill, near the horse stables by the rodeo.

Cost: $12 per ride for ages 7 and older, with discounts for bulk purchases. Price is $6 for ages 2 through 6 with a paid parent or guardian.

When: Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday through Sunday. Beginning Monday through Aug. 23, the slide will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. After Aug. 23 and through its summer closing on Sept. 27, the slide will only be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.