Susan Watson: Review the history of Howelsen |

Susan Watson: Review the history of Howelsen

I am writing regarding the City Council’s goal to renegotiate Howelsen Hill and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club joint use agreement. It is with great disappointment that this is even a discussion. The community deserves an explanation as to why this is a priority of the current city council members. 

Every member of City Council needs to review the history of Steamboat Springs and Howelsen Hill. I argue that Steamboat Springs would not be the community it currently is without the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Howelsen Hill. Simply watching the local channel broadcasting the documentary history of Steamboat should be enough to seriously question your motives for pulling support from the Winter Sports Club.

The Winter Sports Club provides an invaluable resource to the city and surrounding Routt County residents. In looking at Steamboat Springs, it is the only resort area in Colorado with a community ski hill and Nordic facility for the community members to have access to. This is a great asset that the City Council should embrace and work to support. 

The city of Steamboat Springs is also the only small resort community in Colorado that did not place value on the youth of the area when the City Council chose to make its opinion known to vote against new school development. In addition, Steamboat Springs is the only resort area in Colorado not to support a rec center for local youth for afterschool activities.

The current council appears to care more about the bottom line than providing community resources. This is apparent in the approach to withdrawing funds from the rec department and the current discussion of the Igloo as a resource for the community and local children for afterschool and summer programs.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is a nonprofit organization committed to the community of Steamboat Springs. This can be seen in both the winter and summer months from skiing to mountain biking.

I invite you to show up this next Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the high school to witness all of the Winter Sports Club volunteers and hundreds of kids learning mountain biking. In the winter, you can not deny the beauty of Howelsen Hill on an afternoon where Winter Sports Club volunteers are working with 3- and 4-year-olds to introduce them to the joy of skiing.

The Winter Carnival has been a historical event since Howelsen Hill has existed. Winter Sports Club athletes have gone on to the top of their sport representing Steamboat Springs at the Olympics or at the NCAA collegiate level. 

The Winter Sports Club provides all of these activities to the youth of Steamboat Springs operating on a tight budget. Any change in the current joint use agreement will jeopardize the club’s ability to provide programs to the community, and ultimately, the upkeep of Howelsen Hill.

The City Council webpage lists the city council policies, one of which I have included below.

• Facilitate economic opportunities while protecting the natural environment, culture, community character and heritage.

City council members need to seriously look within themselves, not the lawyers or consultants, and consider the heritage and community character of Steamboat without the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.


Susan S. Watson

Steamboat Springs

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