Looking back for Nov. 18, 1958 | SteamboatToday.com

Looking back for Nov. 18, 1958

Great schedule of winter events on tap

— Development plans for Storm Mountain and the big schedule of winter sports events were chartered by Jim Temple, Storm Mountain Corp. president, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting last week.

A group of guests representing most of the businesses in town were present and generally were impressed by Temple’s factual account of the growth of skiing and what the skier is looking for.

“Most skiers who come a long way to ski in Colorado now flock to Aspen. If they had comparative skiing in Steamboat, the lower cost of all facilities and the direct railroad line from Denver would be a great attraction,” he said.

Temple said Storm Mountain is three times the size of Mount Ajax at Aspen and has three times the ski area. In excellent color films, ski parties were shown schussing and slaloming their way down from the magnificent open area at the top through countless trails below, many of which have been cleared since the spring.

Temple reviewed the great calendar of events this winter offered by Steamboat Springs. Opening the season will be the Kiwanis-sponsored cutter races Dec. 27 and 28. On Jan. 3 and 4 the intercollegiate four-way ski meet is on tap, with the Lion’s Club high school ski meet Jan. 17 and 18.

In conjunction with the “White Gold Rush” to Steamboat, Chamber Manager Ralph Veasey is planning a special program to invite people away from home to spend a “White Christmas” in the congenial atmosphere and ideal setting of this area. He told about the vast number of government employees in Denver who will be far from their homes during the holidays and would surely enjoy the friendliness and attention of a small town with well-planned events.

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Further plans for a great winter season are being made by Temple, as he will open Storm Mountain for trips to the top of the first area, Bear Claw Mountain.

Temple pointed out the area is dwarfed by the immensity of Storm Mountain in its entirety, yet is the largest single ski hill in the state with the exception of Aspen. Providing 4,200 feet in length and 1,400 vertical feet, it has the largest beginner’s area in the state.

Temple showed the detailed architect’s draft of a big parking area at the base of Bear Claw. More than 400 cars will be accommodated, and skiers will have a great view of skiers weaving their way down the ski hill. Future projections also include a modern ski lodge with all the facilities to serve the white powder enthusiasts.

Plans are to construct the first modern double chair lift for use by July 1959. Many who attended the Chamber meeting were awed by the beauty of the Yampa Valley as seen from the top of Bear Claw in the film shown by Temple.

Coal still in high demand in Routt County area

Millions of years ago, instead of 150 inches of snow per year and 40 degrees below zero weather, Routt County basked in the wet, tropical clime, which over a geological era produced the huge coal reserves that are still harvested today.

Instead of hosting bathers in bikinis, the lake bottoms became filled with the rank growth of vegetative matter. In Edna Coal Company’s 2,000-acre field, it is expected there are reserves to last another 25 years at the present rate of production.

Since 1950, Edna has produced 1.25 million tons of coal to warm the homes and drive the industries in a wide area of the west. Trucks bring the high-grade Lennox to users in Routt, Jackson, Eagle and Grand counties. The Lennox and Wadge coal veins reach out via rail to Eastern Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

The main reason Edna – as well as Osage, the only other large coal company in Routt County – have been able to survive the changeover to gas, oil and electricity for power and heating, is that strip mining is much less expensive than underground mining.

One man will produce about 40 tons of coal a day in a strip mine. The underground mines have been closing down because one man produces about 7 tons a day, and other costs are appreciably higher.

There are 47 men employed at Edna. It is a misnomer to call them miners, as their jobs range from dragline operators, driller and truckers, to tipple foremen, car droppers and weighmasters.