Tubing finally coming to Howelsen Hill as lift is installed
There’s been some commotion at Howelsen Hill this summer and the end product is nearly complete as a tubing lift is installed at the base of Mile Run, just west of the base area.
The lift will accommodate guests and their tubes as they are shipped up the slope, separated from downhill skiers and snowboarders.
The installation took place a year later than anticipated due to supply chain issues in the summer of 2021.
“It was held up in the Port of Houston when the entire United States was struggling to receive international shipments,” said Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby. “It arrived too late for install before winter, so we’re getting it ready for this winter.”
The tubing area is slated to open in mid-December, according to Cosby, and is expected to be priced at around $30.
Work on the lift began in early August and is expected to be complete by the end of the month. Like a magic carpet, the tubing lift will be a surface lift that people step onto and stand on, rather than sit on. However, it will have a cover to keep the elements off the users and mechanics.
“We did our cost analysis and revenue projections and found it actually extends the life of the lift when it’s covered,” Cosby said. “It costs less for the city to operate because we’re not paying people to shovel it. It’s a better user experience too.”
Skiers and snowboarders will not cross paths with tubers, Cosby said, with a fence ensuring tubers have their own space. Mile Run will come down along the side of the area.
The tubing operation is intended to help offset the money the city spends on Howelsen and make the park more revenue neutral.
Last winter, Cosby predicted tubing would generate an estimated $18,670 in revenue due to startup costs and only having 21 days of operation in the 2021 fiscal year, She estimated it would become a much more profitable operation moving forward, with profits projected at $195,011 in 2022 and $208,582 in 2023.
Anyone keeping an eye on Howelsen Hill likely saw the installation of a new year-round ski jump as well, which was completed earlier this summer.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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