Steamboat Continues On-Mountain Momentum With New Guest Improvements for 2014/2015
By Grant Johnson
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO-August 7, 2014-Building upon the success of last winter’s improvements including the Four Points Lodge, Night Skiing and Riding and numerous grooming and snowmaking enhancements, Steamboat’s on-mountain momentum continues as the resort unveils guest improvements centered around snow surface quality, culinary experiences and guest service for the 2014/2015 winter ski and snowboard season.
“The breadth of improvements last year elevated the experience at Steamboat to new heights,” said Chris Diamond, president and chief operating officer of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. “The energy continues as we head into the 2014/15 season and guests will see new enhancements which provide even more reasons to visit Steamboat-Ski Town, U.S.A.®”
The majority of this year’s projects focus on the mountain experience with Thunderhead Lodge, snowmaking, grooming, expanded night operations and guest services. In addition, the resort has improved access to the community for the coming season with new nonstop flights from San Francisco & Washington-Dulles and expanded service from key markets including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Thunderhead Lodge – Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the Gondola received a dramatic makeover this summer. A new color scheme with rock treatments highlights the exterior enhancements. Inside the building, guests will notice new carpeting, custom wood accents and a redesigned Thunderhead Red’s Bar. Similar to the layout of the popular Four Points bar, Thunderhead Red’s will double in size and expand to include the eastern side of the building taking advantage of the dramatic east facing window views of Mt. Werner and Storm Peak. In addition, equipment upgrades throughout a number of kitchens will improve the facility’s culinary offerings.
Bear River Terrace – The Bear River Terrace has long been the prime gathering spot in Gondola Square. For the 2014/15 winter season, the Terrace will make enjoying a drink and bite to eat even easier. For daytime operations, the Bear River BBQ will become a permanent fixture on the Terrace, offering burgers, hot dogs and other grilled specialties to guests wishing to dine outside. The Umbrella Bar, located on the first tier of the Terrace, will add lights and a heating system to accommodate guests during special evening hours, making it the main location for friends and family to watch the night skiing and riding action on the slopes.
OpenTable – Date night, birthday dinner, business lunch, brunch with friends or that special family gathering is as simple as a touch of the screen when Steamboat launches OpenTable, a real-time online reservation service throughout its family of restaurants this winter. With OpenTable, resort restaurants will be able to manage reservations more efficiently, streamline operations and enhance service levels. For guests, it means finding the restaurants that best fit their dining occasions, available tables, real-time reservations, restaurant reviews, menus and other helpful information to enjoy the best overall mountain culinary experience.
Grooming – Joining the fleet this season is a new Bison Sherpa winch, the first of its kind in Colorado, and the new generation of winches from Prinoth with 5.3 tons of pulling force and an automatic pulling force control system. The cutting-edge Bison Sherpa augments the Beast which started grooming the slope’s mid-winter last season and will be used to tackle some of Steamboat’s steepest terrain and portions of its terrain parks. The resort’s fleet, operated in two shifts, re-surfaces approximately 600 acres nightly to a premium corduroy finish and encompasses 21 machines, including nearly half of the fleet utilizing Bison or Beast groomers. The new machines along with operator expertise produce one of the best grooming products in the industry and skiers agree serving up some of the best snow quality guest service ratings this past winter.
Snowmaking - Even with an average of 352 inches of Champagne Powder® snow each year, Steamboat’s state-of-the-art snowmaking system is being upgraded this winter with over two miles of pipe, more than 11,000 feet, across See Me, Upper See Ya, Sitz, top of Vogue to Jess’ Cut-Off and Sitz to Boulevard. In addition, two new 12 ft. by 16 ft. blockhouses at Jess’ Cut-Off and the Christie Peak Mid-Station will provide new valve stations for intersecting pipe lines in those critical areas. The new lines will significantly accelerate the resort’s ability to produce snow as tower guns can be spaced 75 feet apart to more efficiently cover the trails. Over the past six seasons, the resort has installed nearly 18 miles/46.5km of water and air pipe for snowmaking. These improvements are all designed to further efforts to use less electrical energy and water in production while being more efficient when producing the early season snow base.
Night Operations – Coming off its inaugural season of night skiing and snowboarding, Steamboat will add two additional nights for skiers and riders to enjoy the slopes under the lights. Night Operations will now be available Thursday through Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30pm and from 6-9pm during spring. In addition, a new Patrol/Maintenance Station at the top of Christie Peak Express will be constructed, creating a home base for nighttime patrollers and their equipment. The two-story facility will also serve lift maintenance, providing repair and work space.
Direct Flights - Steamboat has announced two new nonstop winter flights from San Francisco and Washington Dulles International Airports; as well as expanded nonstop service on the Los Angeles and Seattle routes and additional weekend flights from Chicago and Houston. Steamboat’s 2014/15 winter flight program provides access from 11 major airports (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark/NYC, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington-Dulles) on key U.S. carriers-Alaska, American, Delta and United-featuring convenient connections from more than 300 airports nationwide and worldwide.
Steamboat Ski & Sport Sheraton Expansion – Steamboat Ski & Sport Sheraton is one of the resort’s most popular retail/rental locations. To accommodate growing guest needs, the shop will expand its square footage by more than 35% to nearly 6,300 sq. ft. The newly remodeled and designed space will provide expanded rental service, providing greater space for skiers and riders to gather their equipment and prepare for the day. Additionally, increased merchandise, equipment and a variety of other products makes Ski & Sport Sheraton the premier location at the base of the ski area for all your snow sport requirements. The resort’s rental fleet will continue its annual upgrade of equipment, adding the latest ski and snowboard technology available for guests, spread across the resort’s convenient Ski & Sport locations.
Ticket Office & Private Lounge – All ticket office services will move into the One Steamboat Place location to better serve guests including all options for lift tickets, frequency passes and season passes as well as all SnowSports School tickets. A new SnowSports Privates Lounge, in the former main ticket office space in the Gondola Building, will provide convenient sales and a comfortable meeting area for guests and instructors participating in private lessons.
Mountain Cams – Steamboat’s Mountain Cam network is comprised of a series of cameras located across the resort. These digital cameras continually update images letting guests see real-time conditions on the mountain. The resort will building upon last year’s upgrades, which included the Champagne Powder cam, with four to six new camera locations.
Digital Network – A new comprehensive network of digital displays, located across the base area and at the top of the gondola, will stream key resort information, unique events and programs as well as real-time weather and mountain conditions. This network complements the resort’s current digital technology capabilities including mobile site, smartphone app and SMS messaging platforms.
Steamboat Grand Hotel – The improvements continue across Mt. Werner Circle at the Steamboat Grand with major projects including installation of new window coverings and sofa sleepers in units, extensive renovation and upgrades to the whirlpool hot tubs and pool, new ‘quiet’ refrigerators in studios, refinished woodwork in penthouse units and new elevator lobby carpet on all floors.
Summer – Steamboat is fast establishing its reputation for summer family adventure as new downhill mountain bike trails, culinary outlets and adventure activities take hold. During the 2014 summer, the Steamboat Bike Park unveiled two new trails, a beginner trail called Tenderfoot and an expert jump trail named Flying Diamond, and added professional downhiller, Trevyn Newpher, as Bike Park manager. Crews also began working on a new trail that is expected to premiere in summer 2015. Thirty dedicated carriers for the gondola were specially designed for bikes making the gondola experience more enjoyable and convenient. As Gondola Square becomes the hub for summer fun, new and expanded events and activities including an extra night of Twilight riding, highlight the possibilities for kids of all ages. Summer 2014 saw the addition of Gem Panning to the Coca Cola Adventure Zone; and the popular Steamboat Mountain Music Series and Coca Cola Movies on the Mountain series continue to entertain families for free.