Ski area proposals advance |

Ski area proposals advance

Planners pass plan to construct maintenance building

What: Routt County Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss ski area development

Where: Routt County Courthouse Annex, commissioners' hearing room

When: 3 p.m. Tuesday

Call: 879-0108 for more information

— It appears as if improvements could occur on the Steamboat Ski Area — not just to the land and buildings around its base.

As proposals for large-scale, mixed-use developments near the ski base –ncluding Wildhorse Meadows and One Steamboat Place — move through the city planning process, a proposal to improve facilities on the mountain also is progressing.

At a meeting Thursday, the Routt County Planning Comm-ission unanimously recommended approval of a plan to construct a 6,400-square-foot, two-story storage building and slope maintenance facility on the mountain. The construction would be near the current facility at the bottom of the Thunderhead Express lift.

Although the plans discussed Thursday include expansions of the Four Points Hut and the hut for the revamped, high-speed Sunshine Express lift, Planning Commission vice chairwoman Diane Mitsch Bush said those proposals will go through a separate permit process.

“We didn’t see those plans. They weren’t part of the process last night,” Mitsch Bush said Friday.

Jurisdiction on the ski mountain is a tricky topic. The base of the Steamboat Ski Area is within city limits, meaning the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission and City Council make decisions about building plans for the base. Most of the mountain is on U.S. Forest Service land. Mitsch Bush said it is common practice with many Western ski resorts for county governments to make decisions about development on national forest lands.

The storage facility proposal is technically an amendment to the ski area’s planned unit development, or PUD, which initially was approved in 1983. Since then, the PUD has been amended several times to allow projects such as expansion of Rendezvous Saddle and reconstruction of the gondola.

Mitsch Bush praised the latest amendment Friday.

“I think these new developments will make it a much more ski-able mountain,” she said.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hear the amendment proposal at 3 p.m. Thursday.

–o reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail

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