Wish You Were Here, STEAMBOAT 360 VIDEO: Howelsen Terrain Park
Steamboat Springs — Skiers and snowboarders have found a new playground this winter at the base of one of the oldest ski areas in the United States.
Dozens of free skiers and snowboarders completed laps around the course Wednesday evening hitting a variety of rails and jumps en route to the bottom on the hill. Once there they simply jumped onto the magic carpet for a return trip to the top of the hill where they got instructions from coaches before making another lap.
The new terrain park at the base of Howelsen Hill is a popular stop and can be found on intermediate terrain located on the far side of the ski jumps. The park was created this winter to provide more training opportunities for members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and replaces a long-running tubing operation that used to fill the space.
Jim Boyne, the Executive Director of the SSWSC, stated last fall that the club felt the space could be better utilized addressing the needs of club members. He felt the club needed the space to create more training opportunities and the crowds on Wednesday night seem to confirm his decision.
Boyne said it was a tough decision to suspend the revenue-generating tubing operations, which the club had operated in cooperation with the city of Steamboat since the 2007-08 season. He added that the short, steep-pitched hill was not ideal for tubing operations, and the Winter Sports Club and city are currently looking for venues at Howelsen Hill that would be better suited for tubing.
“I think it has gone tremendously well,” Boyne said. “We felt like if we improved the park and features and added more beginner terrain it was closer to our mission.”
He said the tubing was a revenue generator and help offset some of the programming cost that coaches fees didn’t cover, but at the end of the day opening up some more beginner terrain for our slope style, free skiers and snowboarders was well worth the trade in dollars. “It’s been terrific.”
He said the club will continue to look for ways to bring tubing back to downtown and Howelsen. But he said there are a lot of items at Howelsen Hill that might rank higher on the list of priorities at this point.
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In keeping with national trends, the city of Steamboat Springs is experiencing critically low levels of staffing in several of its departments.