City bringing back free ski days at Howelsen Hill |

City bringing back free ski days at Howelsen Hill

Howelsen Hill shines under the lights beside downtown Steamboat Springs.

Howelsen stats

Nordic Trails: 21 kilometers/13 miles

Elevation: 6,696 feet at the base and 7,136 feet at the peak

Lifts: Double Chair, Poma Surface, Small Magic Carpet and the Boardwalk

Number of Trails: 17 Alpine and 9 Nordic

Snowmaking: 50 percent

— Can’t afford the last-minute, $155 lift ticket at the big hill this holiday season?

No problem.

Steamboat Springs’ smaller and more historic ski hill is letting skiers and riders make free turns all day Friday.

Free tickets will also be handed out to cross country skiers, snowshoers and riders of fat bikes.

Fat bikes cannot be ridden on Howelsen between 2 and 6 p.m.

“It’s a really awesome city park, and we want to make sure everyone can utilize it,” said Winnie DelliQuadri, assistant to City Manager Gary Suiter. “It’s about eliminating barriers.”

Skiers who want to enjoy the day of free skiing still need to check in, sign a waiver and get a ticket at the ticket office.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will also conduct a ski jumping clinic from 2 to 4 p.m.

The free skiing day runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Skiers and riders will need to use the Poma lift.

The city started the free skiing days at Howelsen last year and found hundreds of people would enjoy them.

DelliQuadri said a free ski day in February drew 516 people to the city park, and one in March attracted 456 people.

Most of the skiers were locals, but a quarter of the people who attended the event in March were visiting from out of state.

The event also drew skiers from other towns and cities in Routt County and the Front Range.

No schedule has been announced, but the city has plans to offer a free ski day at Howelsen every month of the ski season.

The free ski days were praised by City Council members last ski season.

“We have such a unique asset, and we might as well leverage it to make community,” Councilman Scott Ford said. “When you get us together for events like this, community happens.”

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

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