Get excited, because the Steamboat Resort Base Area is getting a facelift! There are big changes happening at Steamboat Resort for 2021/2022 Ski Season. Renovations have officially begun on the Gondola Square redevelopment and on-mountain improvement plan. Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation is now officially breaking ground on the $135 million dollar Master Plan Development.
UPDATE 6/9/21 From The Resort:
“While Steamboat has been shaped by its rich past, today, with this project, we look forward to shaping the future. We’re investing $135 million on and around our mountain, so we can enhance the Steamboat experience for everyone who visits us. This unprecedented venture will help to make us one of the premier ski destinations in the world for decades to come.
This is an ambitious undertaking the likes of which our resort has never seen. With plans for an après ski plaza, new restaurants and bars, new lodging, a ski beach and an ice rink. On the Mountain – new lifts and new terrain that will make us the second largest resort in Colorado. In the tradition of our pioneering spirit and out of the genuine western heritage of Steamboat, comes and entirely new vision for our resort. Welcome to the new west.”
“This is the biggest proposed project since the resort first opened in 1963, and it will benefit visitors and the entire Yampa Valley community, which have been so supportive of the resort through the years,” Ski Corp. President and COO Rob Perlman said.
A few months ago, Steamboat Resort made its Master Plan official to redevelop Gondola Square into a multi-use plaza, including additional restaurants, shopping, and entertainment venues. These renovations have been in the works for a while now, but work crews officially started breaking ground after the mountain closed on Sunday, April 11, 2021. These changes will free up a great deal of space, allowing the base area to become more of a hub for Steamboat. In the words of Steamboat Resort: “Full Steam Ahead!”
“For a world-class mountain we’re setting out to create a world-class resort to match. We are embarking on an ambitious transformation, the likes of which our resort has never seen. In the tradition of our pioneering spirit and out of the genuine western heritage of Steamboat comes an entirely new experience on and around our mountain. Welcome to the new west, full steam ahead.” Official statement released by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation hopes to have the majority of the base area done by the end of summer 2021, as not to disrupt the 2021/2022 Ski Season. For the summer Mountain Bike season, Christie Peak chairlift will run all summer instead of the gondola for uphill access.
Over the next few years, the base area at Steamboat Resort will be nearly unrecognizable to most seasoned tourists and locals alike. To begin with, the Resort has decided to update some of their long-standing buildings at the base and move some of the clerical offices offsite. There will be more options for activities at the base, which include a new ice skating rink, communal gathering spaces, outdoor seating and fire pits, and easier base area street access. The decision to add a more streamlined entrance to Gondola Square from the bus depot was a sound one. Currently, there is no direct route from the street to the base area. There will be a new escalator to bring guests down into the square. This will eliminate the maze of winding stairs from the bus depot, and make Gondola Square more of an open concept. They are also planning on extending the in-bounds skiable terrain, moving the current gondola to an open-air gondola building, as well as constructing a brand new 8-person gondola to the top of Sunshine Peak!
“The reimagined plaza, in combination with exciting on-mountain projects, solves long-overdue needs for Steamboat’s base area,” Perlman said. “We are thrilled that our parent company, Alterra Mountain Co., recognizes the importance of investing in, and reimagining, the future of Steamboat Ski Resort and supports this incredible multi-year investment.”
According to the Steamboat Pilot on moving the current gondola building, “Ski Corp. also has applied for a permit from the city of Steamboat Springs to move the gondola terminal 300 feet east out onto the base of the mountain, specifically over Burgess Creek onto the snow where the magic carpets are now.” As many of us have recognized, Steamboat Resort has outgrown its base area, and the renovations are going to help with the flow of traffic tremendously. Bob Keenan, Steamboat principal planner overseeing the relocation of the gondola, said the project of moving the current gondola building & adding the new 8-person gondola, would increase the out-of-base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour! This new capacity will allow guests to space out more comfortably and alleviate the stresses on lift lines.
The new gondola tentatively named the “Wild Blue Gondola” will be the longest 8-person gondola in North America – 3.16 miles from the base to the summit at the top of Sunshine Peak. This new gondola will also provide access to a new Ski School area in the current Bashor Bowl. Steamboat Resort plans to add 650 acres of advanced terrain in the Pioneer Ridge area. This would expand the trail map by 20% to a total of 3,620 acres – would make Steamboat the second largest ski area in Colorado!
Overall, Steamboat is changing for the better! We are thrilled to watch our town evolve and grow. Please stay tuned here for the latest information and updates for the Steamboat Renovation Project.