New tubing hill and gondola: top stories of the week at

Emery Shine rides up the new lift at Tube Howelsen on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, as Steamboat Springs held a soft opening for the city’s new downtown attraction. Tube Howelsen will officially open at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

1. Despite offering $1,000 housing stipend, CDOT still has just one plow driver in Steamboat

Steamboat Springs is currently down one seasonal snowplow driver out of 20 positions. Routt County is fully staffed with 32 snow pushers.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Transportation has just one out of six positions in its Steamboat Springs garage full.

2. Tube Howelsen to open next week

Tube Howelsen, the newest attraction at the downtown ski hill, will open to the public Monday, Dec. 19, and will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The tubing hill is just north of the ski jumps on Howelsen Hill, and it is aided by a covered lift that carries guests and their tubes to the top of the slope.

3. Steamboat Resort to open Wild Blue Gondola this weekend

Steamboat Resort will open its Wild Blue Gondola on Saturday, Dec. 24, according to a social media post Tuesday evening, Dec. 20.

The gondola will open at 9 a.m. and take people to the Greenhorn Ranch SnowSports School Learning Center where hot cocoa and treats will be available as well as Wild Blue Gondola sticker patches while supplies last. Resort leaders will give tours and answer questions.

Skyler Nelson triumphantly hoists the Yule Log into the air after finding it with his father Randy. It was the 24-year-old’s first time finding the Yule Log, and his dad’s third.
Courtesy photo

4. The Yule Log has been found in Steamboat Springs

The search for the Yule Log is done. 

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, the father-and-son duo of Randy and Skyler Nelson discovered the log mostly buried in a pile of snow by the maintenance shed in Dr. Rich Weiss Park, just behind the iconic Rabbit Ears Motel.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is investigating whether this track and others found in South Routt County belongs to wolves.
Greg Brice/Courtesy photo

5. CPW investigating potential wolf tracks in South Routt

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is investigating whether a series of tracks found in South Routt County along County Road 15 belong to wolves.

Greg Brice, who frequently walks his dog along the road, found the tracks on Saturday, Dec. 17. Brice said he hasn’t seen any sign of the alleged wolves since, and snowfall on Tuesday, Dec. 20, buried the tracks he had earlier photographed.

6. A cornerstone of Steamboat health care retires this month

After 40 years of going above and beyond for Routt County patients and colleagues, physician Mark McCaulley is retiring in late December to move on to other adventures.

A critical care and internal medicine doctor with a subspecialty interest in gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy, McCaulley will retire from Yampa Valley Medical Associates on Dec. 27 after a 43-year medical career. Though the decades, McCaulley, 70, performed approximately 35,000 colonoscopies or upper endoscopies. Considering a colon is about 5-feet long, McCaulley translates that to scoping more than 33 miles of patient intestines, performing up to eight procedures per day in recent years.

José Lopez, left, and José Loya stand in the stairway leading to the new Del Mezcal Tacos and Margaritas restaurant at 729 Lincoln Ave. on Dec. 14, 2022 in downtown Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

7. Homemade margaritas, family recipes just part of menu at Del Mezcal

Steamboat Springs newest restaurant, Del Mezcal Tacos and Margaritas is bringing authentic Mexican fare including one-of-a-kind margaritas assembled using a homemade syrup, and a Birria Plato created from a recipe handed down through generations.

“We grew up in a house with my grandparents,” said co-owner Jasmine Loya who is opening Del Mezcal along with her husband, José Loya and her brother José Lopez and his wife Perla Lopez. “We are from Ayutla, Jalisco, and my grandparents, Carmen and Chema Lopez, are really well known in the area for their Birria, and this is our family’s recipe.”

8. Routt County judge rejects homeowner’s ‘Make My Day’ defense in Jan. 29 shooting

After considering the evidence and witness testimony, a Routt County District Court judge determined Thursday, Dec. 15, that William Bryce Scholle failed to prove he is entitled to immunity under Colorado’s “Make My Day” law in the shooting of 29-year-old Christopher Cotton on Jan. 29.

District Judge Michael O’Hara denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss after Scholle amended his original story to include new details about an alleged exchange of punches, as well as a claim that Cotton appeared to reach for a weapon in his waistband, before Scholle pulled the trigger.

9. Steamboat school board to hold special meeting Monday to consider high school principal’s contract

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 19, to consider terminating the contract of Steamboat Springs High School Principal Rick Elertson, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The agenda for the 4:30 p.m. virtual meeting says the board will “consider and potentially approve an option for mid-year, no-cause termination” of the contract.

10. School board, Steamboat Springs High School principal agree to part ways

The Steamboat Springs School District and Steamboat Springs High School Principal Rick Elertson have finalized a separation agreement.

The move, which was unanimously approved by the school board during a special meeting Monday, Dec. 19, allows Elertson to start seeking other opportunities and the district to begin searching for an interim principal.

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