Get excited, because the Steamboat Resort Base Area is getting a facelift! There are big changes happening at Steamboat Resort. Renovations began in 2021, and are full steam ahead through the 2022/2023 season on the Gondola Square redevelopment and on-mountain improvement plan.
One of the first things you’ll notice at the base area is the new & highly anticipated Wild Blue Gondola. This will be the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the country. With the lower leg opening in winter 2022/2023, and the upper leg opening in 2023/2024, the state-of-the-art gondola will feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor bowl with the final destination at the top of Sunshine Peak. At a total length of 3.16 miles, the new gondola will increase the out of base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, getting skiers from bottom to top in 13 minutes.
Guests will also notice the new food court, ice skating rink, escalator, and overall new look of the base area. These updates are being rolled out over the next two years, so read on to learn more about the big changes happening at Steamboat Resort!
Phase II Construction
- Lower leg of Wild Blue Gondola construction
- Ice rink under construction
- The Range Food & Drink Hall under construction
- Greenhorn Ranch snowmaking, magic carpets & lunch center installed
- Relocation of Christie Peak Express Chairlift base terminal
- Underplaza Creekside Level Building completion
Phase II Opening
- Mountain Stage – by opening day
- Skeeter’s Ice Rink – by opening day (transitions to events lawn during summer season)
- Christie Peak Express open at new base location between Steamboat Gondola and Wild Blue Gondola – by opening day
- Greenhorn Ranch Learning Center – opening in December
- Wild Blue Gondola lower leg – opening in December
- The Range Food & Drink Hall – opening mid-winter
Phase III Construction
- Wild Blue Gondola upper leg Construction
- Pioneer Ridge & Fish Creek Canyon terrain work
- Installation of Pioneer Ridge chairlift
- Snowmaking expansion in Sundown and Sunshine areas
Phase III Opening
- Wild Blue Gondola upper leg opens
- Pioneer Ridge & Fish Creek terrain expansion opens
While Steamboat has been shaped by its rich past, today the resort is looking forward to shaping the future of Ski Town, U.S.A. The resort has invested $200 million on and around the mountain, to enhance the overall Steamboat experience for all guests. This unprecedented venture will help to make Steamboat Resort one of the premier ski destinations in the world for decades to come.
This is an ambitious undertaking the likes of which Steamboat 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.
Perlman and Ski Corp. Vice President of Mountain Operations Dave Hunter unveiled a list of goals for the resort’s future, as well as changes guests can expect for the 2022 – 2023 ski season. The resort has been undergoing a major construction project this spring and summer with a total planned investment of about $200 million over the life of the renovation project.
“We recognize that we haven’t made improvements or investments in the base area for a long time,” Perlman said. “We want to create that sense of place in the heart of Gondola Square.”
Yes, that’s true! The base area hasn’t been updated since the ’70s & ’80s and has been in desperate need of a little love!
“It’s full steam ahead, as we’ve been saying,” said Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. President and COO Rob Perlman. “We’re already an incredible resort, and we’re just talking about taking things to that next level.”
Ski Corp. also has acquired 650 acres of advanced and expert terrain in the Fish Creek Canyon area, which will open for the 2023-24 season.
As the resort continues to expand and add more amenities, Perlman and Hunter said each decision is made with several key factors in mind — sustainability, keeping Steamboat’s brand and honoring the community’s Western heritage.
“We’re keeping in mind the special place in the environment that we have and that we operate in,” Perlman said. “Everything is about sustainability.”
Toward this goal, each new building is LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certified, meaning it has achieved a globally recognized standard of sustainability. The resort also makes sure 80% of the snow made from the Yampa River flows back into the river.
“We understand the Yampa River is a huge part of our life and our lifestyle here in the Yampa Valley,” Perlman said. “The agricultural community is very thankful that we make snow and then they get to enjoy those water flows later in the spring when it melts and goes back into the system.”
“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.
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.”
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.
For more info about Steamboat Springs, CO check out these other great resources:
- How To Pack For Your Steamboat Ski Vacation
- 11 Things To Do in Steamboat Off the Slopes!
- Top 15 Restaurants in Steamboat Springs