Repairs on Howelsen Hill to stabilize key trail area for ‘foreseeable future’ |

Repairs on Howelsen Hill to stabilize key trail area for ‘foreseeable future’

The area of the Third Exit on the face of Howelsen Hill has been failing for the past four years, according to city staff.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Work to stabilize Howelsen Hill Ski Area will begin this week, according to the city of Steamboat Springs.

Geostabilization International will work with Native Excavating to install four rows of ground anchors, up to 30 feet deep, which will shore up the soil movement in the vicinity of the Third Exit of Howelsen’s face.

“Soil instability has been an ongoing challenge at Howelsen Hill Ski Area,” said Brad Setter, Howelsen Ski & Rodeo manager. “While we’ve been able to address smaller slide areas in house, this specific project tackles a more critical area of the hill.”

The project is intended to protect infrastructure on the upper face, including a Poma lift tower, a light pole, snow gun tower and snowmaking water and electric lines. These efforts will safeguard against what could be costly future repairs as the instability grows in size and depth over the past four years.

Studies have identified that without mechanical stabilization in this area, the instability would continue to threaten key operational components. The work is funded through the city’s capital improvement projects, and the repairs are expected to bolster this vital area of the upper Face for the foreseeable future.

The project is anticipated to last approximately three weeks starting Monday. Crews will access Howelsen Hill via Blackmer Drive and Wrens Run, and the work will run approximately 10 hours a day from Monday through Saturday depending upon conditions. Citizens are asked to stay off the face throughout the duration of the project and be aware of increased traffic in effected areas.

Soil instability has been an ongoing challenge at Howelsen Hill, according to the city. This spring saw several historic areas of soil movement destabilized. A capital improvement project funded through the 2019 capital improvement project process was approved to help preserve Howelsen Hill infrastructure.

The Third Exit area has had large soil movement, according to Setter. Its slippage had been occurring for several years. To remedy that area, engineers suggested mechanical slope stabilization by drilling anchors into the mountain and attaching a chain link fence material to compact the land.

Infrastructure, including one of the Poma lift’s towers and a light pole, are in the area if a slide were to occur. Those repairs would be costly, according to Setter.

The soil stabilization project for the Third Exit area will proceed using capital improvement funds combined with unspent funds from other Steamboat Parks and Recreation projects.

To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email

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