Back in March, Steamboat Resort dealt with a shitty situation. The Steamboat Pilot & Today reports that sanitary sewer flow traveled from a blocked sewer pipe onto one of the ski trails. Starting at around 2 p.m. on March 17th, between 5,000 and 10,000 gallons of sewage went under the lower portion of the Vagabond trail and traveled downhill. Some of it came out of a manhole on the trail, which was how it was detected.
Only 5 by 15 feet of soil and snow were visually impacted. A bypass was created on March 19th, the Vagabond trail reopened around 48 hours after it closed, and they blocked off the affected area.
Aaron Voos, a public affairs specialist with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, described what they’re looking at currently:
“At that time and since that time we’ve been working with them to make sure they are dealing with it within the terms of their permits that they have to operate on Forest (Service Land). There still is a lot of evaluation and assessment that is ongoing and needs to happen…It’ll probably take a while to see what the severity of the impact actually was.”
A resort investigation found that no sewage got into surface waters, which is good news. As mentioned above though, the full proportion of the damage won’t be known until all the snow melts. Steamboat hasn’t been fined for the incident due to the lack of impact on the surface and the resort’s history of compliance.
This begs the question: Is shredding sewage snow still better than skiing frozen granular in New England? Seems like it may be better to use rock skis in those kinds of circumstances.
Image Credits: Steamboat Resort