Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ski area development in works

50 years ago James Temple was laying the groundwork for the Storm Mountain Ski area which is now what we know as Steamboat. I recently heard the story from Jim himself as he described how he purchased some out of the way ranch land and started my favorite ski area. Jim spoke at a dinner later that night to honor his contributions in advance of his induction into the Colorado Ski Hall of fame earlier this fall. His son Jeff put together a great video documenting how the area was built. One segment showed Jim and several other influential Steamboat skiers getting towed in from Rabbit Ears pass and then skiing down Storm Peak in a wonderful powder day. It sent chills down my spine to see these guys tearing up what would become the Steamboat Ski area on vintage equipment. I hope to get a copy soon so let me know if you would ever like to see it.

Selected quotes from the Nov. 1, 1956, issue of the Steamboat Pilot & Today - Ski plans move forward
Contour maps of Storm Mountain now are being made to push through development of a $1 million ski area on the 10,600-foot peak just east of Steamboat Springs. Necessary financial backing is available, Jim Temple said, and he plans to have an exact scale model of the mountain made this winter. Temple informed reporters making the initial trip on the Burlington railroads new vista dome train to Denver last weekend that “if all details concerning this vast area are worked out this winter as planned, construction should begin next summer with the first guests skiing here by 1957.

It is planned to construct a $600,000 tram lift that would be the first of its type in the United States, carrying passengers in steel and plexi-glass enclosed cars. It was said the lifts would vary in length, from 2,000 to 7,000 feet, with a total of about 25,000 feet. These lifts servicing he area will provide skiing for 3,000 people without overcrowding, Temple said. Storm Mountain long has been considered an ideal site for intensive ski development and the mountain itself would provide more skiing than any present area in the state, its proponents say. Snow remains on the mountain into May and June while there are more than 20 miles of potential trails. Although much trail clearing would be needed, about a square mile at the top of the twin-domed peak would no require any clearing, it was said. “Runs will be from three to six miles long for everyone, from beginner to international downhill competitor, Temple said.

Read the full article in the Steamboat Pilot or go back to the Steamboat Springs blog main page for more.

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