Supersized Free Ski Sunday at Howelsen a prelude to long-running holiday tradition |

Supersized Free Ski Sunday at Howelsen a prelude to long-running holiday tradition

Brooklynn Dyche, left, and Damian Leister slide down Howelsen Hill in a tube on Sunday evening. The Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs hosted a Community Holiday Party at the downtown ski hill with free tubing, holiday music, hot cocoa and cookies. Santa and his elves also made an appearance.
Eleanor Hasenbeck

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Howelsen Hill Ski Area will be the place to be on Sunday, Dec. 15 as the historic downtown ski area hosts its first Super Ski Free Sunday, and then rings in the season with the Community Holiday Party hosted by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs.

“We ended the season last year with an enhanced event that set the stage for our new Super Ski Free Sundays,” said Brad Setter, manager of Howelsen Hill Ski Area. “These events are a chance for the community to come together, and celebrate the city’s crown jewel.”

The new Super Ski Free Sundays is a mega-sized version of Ski Free Sundays and will take place once a month through March.

This Sunday’s event will include food, live music and craft beer, as well as merchandise from local partners like Mountain Tap Brewery, Ohana, Honey Stinger and Steamboat Radio. From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the food truck from Mountain Tap Brewery will be selling wood-fired pizza and providing craft beer to those over the age of 21. Proceeds from the beer sales will go to toward the Howelsen Hill Ski Area Endowment Fund.

The good news for skiers and riders is that the mechanical problems with the Barrows Chairlift and the magic carpet that led to the cancellation of Ski Free Sunday on Dec. 1 have been corrected, and the Poma lift, which just reopened last week after a $124,250 renovation project, will also be up and running for the event.

“It’s the first time this year that that’s been up and running,” Setter said of the Schnackenberg Poma lift that is the workhorse at the ski area. “We got our inspection last Thursday (Dec. 5), and it went really well. We got licensed of Friday and it’s been running ever since.”

Randy Rudasics, president of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, is also looking forward to Sunday and the annual Community Holiday Party that will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. The Rotary Club is inviting the community to come to Howelsen Hill for free cookies, hot chocolate and tubing. Santa will also be on hand for the event.

If you go

What: Super Ski Free Sunday
10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
: Howelsen Hill Ski Area. Riders and skiers will need to stop by the ticket office to get a free lift ticket in order to access lifts. Lifts will close at 3:30 p.m. so that volunteers can set up for Community Holiday Party.

What: Mountain Tap food truck
11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
Where: Howelsen Ski Area

What: Cary Kamperschroer performs live music
Noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
Howelsen Ski Area

What: Community Holiday Party
4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
Howelsen Ski Area

Ohana will be on site throughout the day selling commemorative shirts with 50% of sales going to the Howelsen Hill Ski Area Endowment Fund.

“Santa’s coming up on a fire truck,” Rudasics said. “We have hot chocolate and cookies, and we’re going to have great decorations and outside fire pits for the adults to hang out and the tubing hill will be in full swing.”

Rudasics said he has been told that the Holiday Party has been around for close to 40 years in Steamboat. The Rotary Club started organizing it about seven years ago. He said the Rotary Club works with the city of Steamboat and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to make the event a reality.

“We work in partnership with the city and the Winter Sports Club to make it happen,” Rudasics said. “It’s an awesome family event. It’s just a way for kids to get together and have a good time, and for parents to come out and enjoy some hot cocoa. It’s one of the great family friendly events in our community and we just didn’t want to let it go.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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