Changes abound at Steamboat Ski Resort
● By Alesha Damerville
Image from Jeff Hall
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Ski Resort prepares for the 2019/20 winter season with a load of new programs and improvements creating a better guest experience across the resort. At the top of the list for this year’s biggest news is the hiring of a Sustainability & Community Engagement Director, the $15 million new gondola and an earlier Opening Day.
“Steamboat continues to invest in its guests and the destination experience that can only be found at Ski Town, U.S.A.®,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “We continue to work with Alterra to ensure the future of Steamboat Ski Resort is strong, and the improvements at the resort for the upcoming winter are major steps towards big master plans. A new focus on sustainability programming lead by our Director and the new gondola may be behind the scenes efforts, but the impacts of these improvements will certainly change the experience for skiers and riders at Steamboat.”
stainability Director: Steamboat Ski Resort has hired Sarah Jones to oversee the resorts sustainability programming and community engagement efforts. Jones brings nearly two decades of professional experience in sustainability and environmental programming to Steamboat Ski Resort. Most recently, Jones served as the Executive Director of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (YVSC) since 2012 planning, executing and budgeting all programs for the organization. She worked closely with local government on climate mitigation, energy and waste diversion issues; supported the advancement of community sustainability and resilience efforts; and advocated for rural waste diversion and energy issues at the state level. Prior to her role at YVSC, Jones worked as an environmental consultant and helped schools develop sustainable practices in the Denver area.
In her new role, Jones will be responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing all the resort’s sustainability programming and practices as well as improving Steamboat’s operational environmental performance and further resort policy goals on climate and energy. Jones will champion the development and execution of guiding principles and an environmental management plan specific to operational performance, energy efficiency and clean energy, waste management, water conservation, education & outreach, and more. Jones will also be responsible for community outreach making sure locals, guests and the industry understand and support Steamboat’s sustainability initiatives.
Yampa River Fund: Steamboat Ski Resort is a proud to announce a $500,000 founding donor contribution to the newly launched Yampa River Fund, the largest single cash donation in the resort’s history. The Yampa River Fund is a water fund in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and local partners that improves river flow in Northwest Colorado to sustain both people and nature. The Yampa River Fund is a collaborative community-based organization dedicated to identifying and funding activities that protect water supply, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities provided by the Yampa River. SSRC’s cornerstone contribution of $500,000 unlocked a 1:1 match ultimately allowing the resort to provide access to $1 million for the health and prosperity of the community’s main water resource. For more information on the Yampa River Fund visit: www.yampariverfund.org
Earlier Opening Day: Steamboat will open four days earlier this winter season with Opening Day scheduled for Saturday, November 23. Historically the resort has opened on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, and will now shift to opening the Saturday before the holiday- allowing friends and family to gather on the slopes for more days. As in the past, Opening Day will include special festivities, a champagne toast, Olympians and more.
New Gondola: With the installation of a brand-new Doppelmayr gondola, replacing the resorts previous 30+ year old lift, guests will be moved out of the base area and up the mountain nearly 38 percent faster than in the past, significantly reducing base area wait times. Multiple factors play into the increased capacity including the addition of 12 cabins to the line, a more advanced machine running at 6m per second versus the previous 5m per second and better tower setup, and level, walk-in cabins. The elimination of the nearly 9-inch step into gondola cabins will allow customers to load the gondola in a seamless action preventing stumbling which previously led to gondola slowdowns. The entryway and que for the gondola will also improve with an expanded enclosed area, RFID gates moved to the entrance of the building (versus closer to the gondola loading), a new guest resolution center at the entrance and new loading/unloading mats to create a smooth transition to the walk-in cabins. The top terminal at Thunderhead Lodge will feature a new exit with easier to navigate and more guest friendly stairs. Previously the stairs to the snow were steep and narrow, now they will be wider platforms with shorter rise. Additionally, the exit terminal will receive a facelift by adding a timber gabled roof to match the main entrance to the building. The new gondola follows the same line as the previous gondola departing from Gondola Square and arriving at Thunderhead Lodge at mid-mountain. The new gondola is expected to start whisking skiers and riders up the mountain on November 23, 209, Steamboat’s winter opening day.
Night Skiing: Ikon passholders can now access the trails after the sun goes down with access to night skiing Thursday- Monday from December through March. New this year, Full Ikon passholders receive unlimited access to night skiing and snowboarding during the winter season. Ikon Base passholders can either ski the same night as they used one of their days, or use one of their days to ski or ride at night. This additional perk is best for guests arriving late in the day- there is no longer a need to wait until the next morning to get your on-mountain vacation started!
Ski Your Pass Off: Bragging rights are part of the skiing and snowboarding experience and Steamboat continues to reward its most loyal powderhounds with the Ski Your Pass Off loyalty program. Adult Ikon passholders (ages 13 and up) are rewarded for the number of days they hit the mountain. When passholders log 10 days before the end of December 2019 they’ll earn a complimentary First Tracks ticket. From there, guests receive rewards at 10 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 and 140 days with an initial $10 dining voucher for the first 10 days and $20 dining vouchers at each remaining benchmark. Dining vouchers can be used at any Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation restaurant. Guest who ski all 144 days of the season receive additional recognition and rewards at an end of season celebration.
Steamboat Mercantile Located in the heart of Gondola Square across from Gondola Joe’s, the resort’s newest retail outlet features Steamboat logo wear including apparel from resort partners such as Marmot and The North Face and gift items. Open daily during the winter season starting at 8 am.
Steamboat SportsTM- Sheraton: The resort’s flagship rental and retail outlet received a complete overhaul during summer 2019 resulting in an additional 2000 square feet of commercial space, an improved rental process and more retail offerings. Located Slopeside from Christie Peak Express Lift, Steamboat Sports will be the place to go for equipment rentals of all ranges, and the latest apparel, logo wear, souvenirs and equipment for purchase.
Steamboat SportsTM- Sheraton is one of seven Steamboat SportsTM locations, renamed for the 2019/20 winter season including Thunderhead Peak, Gondola Square, Ski Time Square, Steamboat Grand, Delivery and Gondola Square Demo Center.
Steamboat SportsTM- Thunderhead Peak: In its new location on the snow, trading in skis at the top of the gondola will be a much-improved experience as the resort opens a brand new building offering top of the line skis for demo and sale at the intersection of Spur Run and Tower trails. Previously housed in the Yurt at the bottom of the exit stairs from Thunderhead Lodge, the new location for demo rentals and sales provides 360 square feet dedicated to Rossignol, Nordica, Volkl and Head ski as well as better mountain ambiance.
New Montana tuning machine: For the first time in more than a decade, Steamboat Ski Resort bringing ski tuning in-house with the latest technology and machinery from industry leader Montana. Steamboat’s rental fleet will be top of the line with more frequent tunes and the waxing/tuning specifically designed for current conditions. Guests may also drop off their own equipment for tuning and waxing at Steamboat SportsTM- Gondola Square.
Seasonal Equipment Storage: Below Timber & Torch in Gondola Square, Steamboat has redefined overnight ski storage with a permanent Ski Corral facility. Complete with state-of-the-art racking systems, guests will be able to leave their skis and poles, and snowboards at the convenient, heated base area location at the end of the day and collect them with ease before loading the Gondola in the morning. In addition to guest overnight storage, a limited number of seasonal storage slots, including heated boot storage, are now available for long-term storage at www.steamboat.com/storage
14 nonstop flight markets: Steamboat’s air program continues to be one of the most robust in the Rocky Mountains with 14 total nonstop markets flying to Ski Town, U.S.A.® via the major air carriers of American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and United. Winter seasonal flights begin in December and run through March, making Steamboat accessible from anywhere in the world. www.steamboat.com/flights