Steamboat TodayApril 30, 20172min169

We were encouraged this month to read that the top two executives of Aspen Skiing Company went out of their way to send an indirect message to the Steamboat Springs community saying they value Steamboat’s unique local character, just as they value the way the individual cultures of communities up and down the Roaring Fork Valley have informed their resort through the years and even set it apart from competitors.

Significantly, Aspen Skiing Company Chief Executive Officer Mike Kaplan and Chief Operating Officer David Perry said, “We’ll promote our way of doing business, but without any expectation that our new sister resorts should abandon any of their own unique attributes of culture and place. Quite the opposite, actually,” their note read. “We’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of how the valley’s longstanding sense of character and place informs Aspen Skiing Company’s product and values, as we have entered into a partnership to acquire other ski areas.”

The message appeared on the company’s website in the context of a season-ending thank-you to the Aspen community. And while we’re a bit mystified why they don’t seem to have reached out directly to the Steamboat community, as well as those of its sibling Intrawest resorts and that of Mammoth, Calif., it’s a positive message for everyone who lives in Routt County, second property owners here and loyal Steamboat vacationers.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayApril 27, 20171min102

Steamboat Springs City Council President Walter Magill voiced his opinion during a recent council meeting that he’d like to see more trail connections on the west side of the city to give residents living there easier access to downtown via pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly trails.

“It just seems like we’re really underserving those residents,” Magill said, and we couldn’t agree more, especially in light of all the recent development underway in the area of town known as West Steamboat.

It’s exciting to look across the street from the Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper office, at the intersection of Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40, and see packed parking lots outside of Moe’s Bar B Que and the new Storm Peak Brewing Co. location. The backdrop for both of these burgeoning businesses is the brand new Reserves at Steamboat Springs apartment complex.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayApril 20, 20172min224

The Community Committee for Education — CC4E — made a formal presentation to the Steamboat Pilot & Today Editorial Board last week outlining the four options the advisory group has determined offer the best options for Steamboat Springs School District’s future facilities improvement needs.

The information shared with us was well researched and complete, and we were impressed with the group’s work. Though we’re not ready to choose one option over the others, we are prepared to endorse the efforts of a committee of volunteers who have been working for a year to develop a plan for the district’s future and hopefully provide the school board with a viable option it can put before voters in November.

At times over the past year, we’ve been critical of CC4E. We were concerned the group was not moving fast enough and was getting bogged down with issues outside the group’s main purpose of advising the district on how it could best meet its facility needs moving forward.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayApril 17, 20172min176

The community of Steamboat Springs has grown accustomed through the years to changes in the ownership of Steamboat Ski Resort. And, by definition, ownership changes are both unsettling and healthy at the same time.

As we anticipate the closing in early fall of the sale of Intrawest Resorts and Steamboat Ski Resort to a new company being funded and created by Aspen Skiing Company and KSL/Capital Partners, there are many questions to be answered. But resort officials are unlikely to be free to discuss many of them until the deal is done.

What we think we know, without a doubt, is that the ski resort industry has reached an era in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to exist as a fiercely independent, standalone destination resort. That applies not only to Aspen and KSL’s Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, but also to Steamboat Ski Resort.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayMarch 19, 20172min144

We are cautiously intrigued by the possibilities suggested by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. potentially bringing its expertise in ski area operations, food and beverage and marketing to historic Howelsen Hill.

Undeniably, Ski Corp., throughout its different eras of ownership, has shown a steadfast interest in the legacy of Howelsen Hill as the oldest operating ski area west of the Mississippi River. The magic there has influenced many champion skiers, and it’s a legacy that has benefitted the larger ski area a few miles closer to the Park Range from the beginning.

However, in any business proposition, all parties must engage with eyes wide open. While we are confident Ski Corp.’s intentions are sincere, it must be noted that it is a publicly held company with a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders.

Translation: While the ski area clearly appreciates the contributions Howelsen Hill has made to its unique brand, as it should, its executives are, by definition, in it for profit. And that’s potentially a very good thing. Howelsen Hill has long needed to run more like a business. But Howelsen is also a city park, where the opportunity exists for families of modest income to introduce their children to skiing at a modest price, and this must be preserved.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayMarch 17, 20172min172

We were more than a little concerned last week to learn that the Community Committee for Education, or CC4E, has extended the timeline for presenting its recommendations for school facilities construction and upgrades to the Steamboat Springs School Board.

It was also troubling to learn that CC4E member Chad Phillips — who also serves as Routt County’s planning director — had resigned from the committee and that city planning director Tyler Gibbs, who also serves on the committee, has been unable to attend many of the group’s meetings due to city commitments. Phillips and Gibbs were and are CC4E’s most-qualified members in terms of negotiating the parking and traffic issues that will undoubtedly accompany any proposal.

In our view, these two bits of news are potentially ominous signs.

It’s been nearly a year and a half since the city’s voters soundly defeated a $92 million bond issue that would have funded construction of a new high school and upgrades to buildings across the Steamboat Springs School District, as well as enabled the completion of long-deferred maintenance needs at existing campuses.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayMarch 12, 20172min121
We support City Council President Walter Magill’s proposal to create an estimated 100 new remote parking spots by paving the dirt parking at Romick Rodeo Arena. But even though we admire Magill’s consistent efforts through the years to address our downtown parking problem, we don’t buy the logic that 100 new spaces at the rodeo […]

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Steamboat TodayMarch 6, 20172min162

A reliable, fully staffed public transit system is a crucial commodity in a resort town such as Steamboat Springs. This was graphically illustrated during the recent WinterWonderGrass event, which saw thousands of festival goers descend upon Steamboat and record numbers of riders utilize the city’s free bus service.

But maintaining such a system has always presented vexing challenges, not the least of which is in recruiting summer drivers.

That’s why we were encouraged to see Steamboat Springs Transit take a proactive approach toward meeting the staffing challenge by hosting Friday’s summer job fair. As the billing implies, the event was organized primarily as a means of staffing summer positions, but SST also hoped the event would strengthen the city’s recruiting relationship with multiple organizations that send bus drivers and other seasonal employees here during the winter months.

Historically, we’ve always had trouble recruiting seasonal bus drivers, and we applaud SST for hosting the fair, not only as a means of connecting workers with jobs and vice-versa, but also as a way of shoring up the conduits by which those workers come to Steamboat in the first place.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayMarch 2, 20172min162

The appointment of Lisel Petis to the Steamboat Springs City Council was a refreshing choice. It signals to us that the City Council wants to give young professionals and millennials a voice and wants to ensure the make-up of the council is diverse and representative of various segments of the community.

Those who applied for the council seat vacated by Tony Connell came from a wide range of backgrounds. The group included massage therapists, teachers, a public relations professional, a small business owner, a civil engineer and a former sheriff’s deputy. The council interviewed the candidates in open session, and in the first round of voting, appointed Petis to the post.

As a new member of the City Council, Petis becomes the first millennial to serve in that capacity. We believe that’s significant, especially at this point in time, when millennials make up the single largest group within the U.S. work force and are quickly becoming the nation’s largest consumer group. It’s also a pivotal time for the millennial voice to be heard in Steamboat, especially as the city grapples with a serious shortage of affordable housing as well as access to affordable childcare.

Read more at Steamboat Today.

Steamboat TodayFebruary 27, 20172min117

We believe a second trail in Spring Creek Canyon could be a positive addition if it restores some of the safety and serenity for hikers of all ages who have enjoyed the area for decades. The increasing mix of mountain bikes with families out for a peaceful walk there is making it hard for well-intentioned people in both camps to co-exist.

And it goes without saying that protecting critical wildlife habitat and safeguarding an intact natural environment rank above recreation of all forms.

The new trail is intended to segregate walkers from the increasing numbers of cyclists using Spring Creek to descend from the Dry Lake area on Buffalo Pass Road as much as possible.

City trail manager Craig Robinson said this week that Spring Creek is already one of the most heavily used trails here and will only get busier with the development of new mountain bike trials being completed by the 2A Trail Committee on Buffalo Pass. The project is being advanced by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance and would be funded with lodging tax dollars through the 2A Committee.

Read more at Steamboat Today.