Coming This Winter
By Alesha Damerville
A summer of behind-the-scenes changes sets Steamboat up for another successful season during the 2017/18 winter. The biggest news for the resort during the off season was the finalization of the sale of all Intrawest properties, including Steamboat, to a newly formed company headed by KSL Capital Partners, LLC (KSL) and Henry Crown & Co. (HCC). The yet-to-be-named new company will bring together 13 industry-leading resorts from across North America, including Steamboat, Mammoth, Squaw/Alpine and Deer Valley.
On the ground at the resort, crews spent the summer completing major upgrades to the gondola and building North America’s longest mountain coaster. Capping off the resort’s major improvements ahead of winter, a partnership with ViaAir and Embark provided two new nonstop flights from Austin and Kansas City into Steamboat/Hayden airport.
“This was a busy summer for Steamboat as we invested in our future with multiple guest-facing and behind-the-scenes projects,” said Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation.
On July 31, 2017, KSL and HCC completed the purchase of Intrawest and Mammoth Resorts to create a new company featuring 13 industry-leading resorts across North America plus Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH). The new family of resorts features all former Intrawest resorts — including Steamboat, Winter Park, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Snowshoe and Stratton — as well as Squaw/Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. In August, the new company formed an agreement to purchase Deer Valley Resort, with closing expected prior to the start of ski season. For the 2017/18 winter season, resorts will continue with business as usual, with new company announcements regarding passes, upgrades and more being communicated in the near future or as they become available.
OUTLAW MOUNTAIN COASTER
Steamboat is now home to the longest mountain coaster in North America. Operating both summer and winter seasons, the mountain coaster ride is more than 6,000 linear feet, with 2,600 feet of uphill track and 3,680 feet of downhill fun. Covering 420 vertical feet, the track is in the area of Christie Peak Express lift and rises up to 40 feet above the ground with dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles. Mountain coasters are gravity-driven sleds that run on a tubular stainless-steel rail system. Individuals ride the sled up the mountain and then slide down the rails with the ability to control the sled’s speed through a braking system.
Mountain crews worked with industry-leader Doppelmayr to make improvements to the Steamboat gondola, including major renovations within the gondola terminals. Grips, hangers and terminal equipment were replaced and a new control system was relocated to the western corner of the lower terminal, ultimately changing the traffic flow getting on the gondola. Additional changes also were made to the gondola departure and arrival bays and freight handling system.
New ViaAir nonstop flights: Two new nonstop flights from Austin (AUS) and Kansas City (MCI) make travel to Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) even more accessible for the 2017/18 winter season. ViaAir will operate the flights, and Embark Aviation will manage the commercial elements of the new program. Flights currently are scheduled for the upcoming winter on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays with additional flights available during one week in January.
Added dates and bigger planes: United Airlines will add more flights during various times during the 2017/18 winter season. From Denver, United will add an additional daily flight, now offering three per day throughout the entire season and four daily flights from Dec. 20 to Jan 7 and Feb. 15 to April 2. United also expands to daily service from Chicago for the entire winter season. American Airlines will bring passengers into Steamboat on bigger planes during the holiday season from Dec. 15 to Jan. 7 with two flights per day during the week and three flights on the weekends on 737-800 planes. The combination of new nonstop flights on ViaAir, added Untied flights and Alaska Airlines from San Diego adding Sundays for three flights a week represents a 5 percent increase in the Steamboat airline program compared with the 2016/17 season.
14 nonstop flight markets: Steamboat’s air program continues to be one of the most robust in the Rocky Mountains with seven new nonstop markets in the past five years. With 14 total nonstop markets flying to Ski Town, U.S.A.®, Steamboat is one of the most accessible ski resort destinations in the Rocky Mountains.
Automated snow stake: Snow reporting is one of the most popular pieces of information snowsports enthusiasts seek, and Steamboat steps up its industry-leading accuracy with an automated snow stake recording the resort’s official mid-mountain snow statistics as well as snowfall at the summit. Working with Campbell Scientific, a leader in the automated weather recording industry, Steamboat installed sonic ranging sensors to reliably measure snow depth and accumulation. In addition, weather stations across the mountain monitor wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and precipitation.
For more on the sale of the mountain check out the story below: