Posted on 10 Jul 2020

Steamboat aiming for #2 spot in Colorado!

Steamboat expansion

Moving with the Times

We have always known that Steamboat was a special place with incredible skiing and genuine local hospitality. In the minds of many of our guests, it is already their #1 choice, and they return year after year for their weekly slice of heaven to reset and rejuvenate.

With that said, it’s clear that the next few years will bring more investment and significant improvements to an already great ski destination following the announcement by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation of plans to add the Wild Blue Gondola, which will be the longest eight-person gondola in North America. Other major developments could include a 650-acre expansion and a new restaurant at the top of the Sunshine and Sundown chairlifts. The additional terrain would elevate Steamboat to become the 2nd largest ski resort in Colorado.

“These new projects complement those that have long been at the top of Steamboat’s wish list and now we are taking steps to obtain the necessary analysis, reviews, and approval to be ready to move forward when the time is right,” said Rob Perlman, president, and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “Alterra Mountain Company recognizes Steamboat’s potential and the necessity to make significant changes both on-mountain and in the base area to keep the resort at the forefront of vacation destinations. EA review and approval is another step towards preparing for these big projects. If we receive the EA approval, we can determine the most appropriate timing, so we are ready to begin when funding is available.”

Enter the Wild Blue

The 3.16-mile-long Wild Blue Gondola, as currently planned, would start from the base area and end at the summit of Sunshine Peak, where the Sunshine and Sundown chairlifts currently land. A new restaurant would be constructed near the top terminals of the proposed Wild Blue Gondola and the Sundown Express Chairlift. The restaurant would expand on-mountain dining capacity in the popular Sunshine Peak area, known locally as Wallyworld.

Steamboat Wallyworld

It would have a mid-station at the Bashor bowl near the Mavericks terrain park, an area that offers more gradual grades ideal for a new skiing and snowboarding school area. The mid-station area will become home to the Snowsport school.

As part of this plan, the resort would also remove the old fixed-grip Priest Creek lift and replace Sundown Express with a more efficient and higher capacity chairlift.

The new gondola will significantly increase capacity out of the mountain village base area, improving the guest experience by reducing congestion and lift lines. As planned, uphill capacity would be increased by over 60% from the current rate of 6000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour.

Steamboat expansion plans

More Terrain Coming

The proposed 650-acre terrain expansion, the first in more than 20 years, would bring the Pioneer Ridge and Fish Creek Canyon areas within resort boundaries and add nearly 20% more ski acreage for a total of 3620 acres, which would make Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado. The resort had planned to start work on the Pioneer Ridge project prior to this latest announcement, but this was postponed amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Pioneer Ridge and the Fish Creek Canyon have been popular areas for backcountry skiers, many of whom use the resort’s chairlifts to reach the backcountry gates near the top of the Pony Express lift. Pioneer Ridge, currently, is part of the resort’s special use permit area under lease from the U.S. Forest Service, but it is not part of the operational boundary and, therefore, is not groomed or maintained. Expanding operations into the area meets a need that guests have long expressed for steeper, more advanced terrain within the resort’s boundaries.

More skiing for everyone at Steamboat



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