Sports Club plans to open Alpine Slide this month
Steamboat Springs — The Barrows chairlift has survived its latest skirmish with Mother Nature atop Howelsen Hill.
While a recent landslide shifted tower No. 6 six inches to the east, city workers were able to readjust the sheave trains on the tower arms to keep the chairlift operational.
Larry Smith, the supervisory tramway engineer with the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, inspected the shifted chairlift tower last week and deemed it safe for public use.
Smith told the city the ground movement was no longer an imminent threat to the lift, and subsequent surveys showed the earth atop Howelsen has stopped shifting for now.
The greater slide area had reportedly moved three feet prior to the slide stopping.
With the chairlift receiving a green light, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is now aiming to open the Alpine Slide as early as next weekend.
“I’m just glad we should be open in June, and we’re really looking forward to taking advantage of the pent-up demand we have had for the Alpine Slide,” Executive Director Jim Boyne said of the summer attraction. “A lot of people missed it last summer.”
The Alpine Slide didn’t run for an entire season last year, because the Barrows chairlift did not fare as well during a brush with a previous landslide.
A previous shift in tower No. 6 left the chairlift unusable for the summer, and it had to be repositioned.
As another slide struck in the same general area this spring, Boyne acknowledged he was worried at first.
“The movement was shallower than it has been in the past,” he said. “To me, it’s an issue that’s still going to need to be dealt with. We can do better vegetation and better drainage, but it’s still Mother Earth.”
Boyne said he would have a better idea of an opening date Friday, after crews evaluate the conditions of the summer attraction.
Pieces of the Alpine Slide track were disassembled to prevent them from being damaged by the latest landslide.
Boyne also said some dirt work will be required before the ride can open.
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