Meadows sledding stopped

Ski corp. considering lift at popular site

— Sledding on a hill just east of the Tennis Meadows has been banned by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. because some people who took part in the activity also knocked over signs and caused parking problems.

But company officials say they are considering a future lift or towrope at the spot for the same people they are now trying to keep at bay.

Sledding was first allowed on the hill after some guests asked if it would be okay. Ski corp. employees placed signs marking barbed wire and other hazards on the hill over the Christmas holiday, Mike Lane, a spokesman for ski corp., said.

Many people took advantage of the sledding hill.

However, Lane said each day Ski corp. employees had to go out to the hill to put signs back up that had been knocked down or removed.

"Unfortunately, the actions of a few spoiled it for everybody," Lane said.

There also were issues with parking.

People were parking at the top of the hill, right off Mount Werner Road, behind the Steamboat Grand Hotel. Because of the limited sight distance, the spot is a no parking area.

Lane said some dangerous situations occurred because people backed onto the street.

On Wednesday, after Ski corp. officials decided it was best to stop the activity, signs that prohibited sledding and tubing were put up and by Friday the hill was grated to prevent easy sledding. Orange tape marked off the area and the makeshift parking lot was plowed up.

Ski corp. officials, however, say sledding and tubing may not be banned on the hill forever.

Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing for ski corp., said he was impressed that the hill became such a popular spot in the short time people were allowed to sled there.

"We got some great feedback from the folks. There is no question that we want to take another run at this," he said.

Ski corp. offers nighttime tubing off the Preview Lift for $12 and $9 for children.

This is the fourth season they have hosted tubing and Wirth said it has been successful.

Building on that success, ski corp. is looking into how it can safely offer sledding and tubing in the daytime on a hill away from the ski runs.

Lane said the company could even build a lift or a towrope at the Tennis Meadows site or another feasible area.

Lane and Wirth cited a sledding hill in the Winter Park area that has proved to be popular and has set a successful example.

That area, known as the Fraser Tubing Hill, in the nearby town of Fraser, has a towrope that pulls people up to the top of the hill while they sit on their tubes.

"If it is feasible to have it with a lift, we'd do it by next winter," Lane said.

Ski corp. is hiring an engineer to do a feasibility study to determine if a sledding hill would be feasible and where it should be.

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