Weather finally allows Howelsen to open K-90 |

Weather finally allows Howelsen to open K-90

— Sunday didn’t come fast enough for many members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

“It’s been a little frustrating,” Steamboat Springs jumper Brian Fletcher said. “We were all looking forward to the day we were supposed to start jumping. That day came and passed, then a few more days passed and a few more. Finally we got to the latest day we had ever started jumping and it passed, too.”

But after weeks of looking to the sky for storm clouds, cursing at the warm fall nights and hoping for cold air, their day finally came.

“There were some very happy skiers over here on Sunday,” local jumping coach Gary Crawford said. “There were plenty of smiles to go around.”

That’s because Howelsen Hill’s K-90 jump finally opened. Crawford said it was better late than never.

“Normally we would have been jumping over here about two weeks ago,” Crawford said. “But the warm fall temperatures have made it hard to make snow.”

However, a 13-hour day of carrying and packing snow on the in-runs at the top of the hill and two more full days on Friday and Saturday led to the opening of the first jump at the club on Sunday.

The extra hours of work helped Howelsen open before Park City and Lake Placid something the club takes pride in announcing.

“I guess it was too windy over there (in Park City) to jump yesterday, so we beat them,” Crawford said.

The next task at hand will be getting Howelsen’s larger jump hill, the K-114, open for business before the end of the week.

“We would like to have it for this weekend,” Crawford said. “That’s what we are working toward right now.”

The club is scheduled to host a Gold Cup tryout this weekend with events scheduled on both the normal (K-90) and large (K-114) hills. Crawford said if the large hill isn’t ready in time, the Gold Cup will host two events on the smaller jump hill.

The coach also said the smaller K-60, K-38 and K-25 hills will have to wait a little longer before opening. Those jumps depend on Mother Nature to provide the snow cover and there just hasn’t been enough at this point of the year to make them safe. But jumping coach Chris Gilbertson said if this weather trend continues, those jumps could be ready to go very soon.

Crawford said it takes about 12 inches of snow on both the in- and out-runs to make jumping safe.

“The first jump of the season was awesome,” Fletcher said. “I was a little hesitant, but it’s great to be back jumping.”

Fletcher took about 300 jumps on plastic in Park City this summer but has been off for the past four months waiting for snow in Steamboat.

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