Tubing by day

Saddleback Ranch seeks permit for hill with rope tow

— Saddleback Ranch owner Wayne Iacovetto said he doesn't have any down time.

"You don't relax here," Iacovetto said about the seemingly endless work that ensures his guests' leisure at the sprawling 7,300-acre ranch just south of Milner. "We just finished calving today, tomorrow we brand, then we vaccinate and have to get (the cattle) to pasture."

Iacovetto's ranch hosted film crews from two cable network reality programs in the past year. July already is booked for weddings, and Iacovetto has big plans for the winter. At the Routt County Planning Commission meeting Thursday night, he presented a petition for a conditional-use permit to develop a commercial winter tubing hill on his property.

"I've had guests say that they were here for a week and couldn't get on the tubing hill at the mountain," Iacovetto said before the meeting. "You can't ski every day, and there's not a whole lot of other family activities to do, plus the (Steamboat Ski Area) tubing hill doesn't open until dark, anyway."

Iacovetto plans to put the tubing hill on a sloped meadow just west of Routt County Road 179, about 3 miles south of Milner. The building plans call for the construction of a parking lot, rope tow and warming hut for the tubing hill in addition to a mini-snowmobile track for children ages 6 to 12 and a 13 mile cross-country and snowshoe trail looping around the hill area.

County commissioners look--ed over Iacovetto's application and said he would be able to install lights under a condition that allows him to operate at night.

"We won't do it at night for the first year or two, until we see the demand there," Iacovetto said.

After Iacovetto's proposal drew no serious concerns from commission or community mem--bers, he summed up one of his main reasons for building a tubing hill.

"My wife, she's a tubing fanatic," Iacovetto. "She'll go out there at midnight under the full moon."

The Planning Commission voted to approve the petition, granting Iacovetto a permit to begin installing the hill's rope tow. Iacovetto estimates the hill will open by December.

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