Repairs completed; Howelsen Hill’s big hill ready to jump into action
Steamboat Springs — Nobody may be happier to see ski jumpers take flight off of the HS 127 this weekend more than Todd Wilson, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Nordic director.
“We are so pleased that everything came together and that our kids are going to be able to use that hill this winter,” Wilson said Wednesday.
Construction crews completed emergency repairs in late December to address what were considered “life-threatening” safety issues. Crews replaced the decking and railing on the jump platform, and the jump passed inspection and was approved for use Jan. 3.
Since then, Wilson, other Winter Sports Club coaches, athletes and volunteers have been busy getting the in-run and landing hill ready for use.
Wilson is hoping that the weather will cooperate during the next couple of days and the jumps will see the first jumpers of the season Friday afternoon in advance of the Larry Johnson Memorial and Rocky Mountain Division Junior National Qualifier. It will be the first of two events to identify athletes to compete in the Junior Nationals Championships, which are slated for Fox River Grove, Illinois, later this year.
The Steamboat qualifier will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday with competitions on the HS20, HS30 and HS45 jumps at Howelsen.
On Saturday, the qualifying events will move to the bigger jump hills with competition beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the HS75. The events will then move to the HS100 and HS127.
The Nordic combined portion of the events will take place at 3 p.m. with the start and finish inside Romick Arena. The competitions on the HS127 will be a longest standing jump competition where competitors are ranked based on the distance of their jumps. It be the final jumping competition on Saturday morning.
“We are also hoping to use that jump for the Western Regional Championships in March, but we will be training on it as much as possible between now and then, weather permitting,” Wilson said.
The jump made headlines late last year after an inspection of the facility found issues serious enough to close the jump down. The Winter Sports Club and city staff quickly identified the problems and got contractors lined up to fix the problems.
But a request by the Steamboat Springs City Council to review the cost of the repairs delayed the project. City Council eventually approved the repairs, and crews then worked through challenging weather conditions to complete the repairs.
Wilson said he was thrilled the city and Winter Sports Club could come together and get the jumps fixed. He said the repairs did not impact his programming and the jumps are normally used from the first week in January through the spring, depending on weather and snow conditions.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966
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