Photo courtesy of Steamboat Ski Resort
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO- July 9, 2020 —
In preparation for exciting new improvements, the Steamboat Ski Resort moves into the Environmental Assessment (EA) phase of the review process for major on-mountain planned projects. The proposed projects include North America’s longest gondola providing access from the base area through Bashor to Sunshine Peak, a new restaurant at the top of the gondola at Sunshine Peak and an additional 295 acres in the Fish Creek Canyon area adding to the previously announced 355 acre Pioneer Ridge expansion for a total of 650 acres of new terrain. These improvements are part of the resort’s 2019 Master Development Plan Amendment accepted by the United States Forest Service (USFS) in July of 2019.
“These new projects complement those that have long been at the top of Steamboat’s wish list and now we are taking steps to obtain the necessary analysis, reviews and approval to be ready to move forward when the time is right,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “Alterra Mountain Company recognizes Steamboat’s potential and the necessity to make significant changes both on mountain and in the base area to keep the resort at the forefront of vacation destinations. EA review and approval is another step towards preparing for these big projects. If we receive the EA approval, we can determine the most appropriate timing, so we are ready to begin when funding is available.”
Among the highlights of proposed projects in the Environmental Assessment are:
650 additional acres in Pioneer Ridge/Fish Creek Canyon
With 650 new acres the resort’s current skiable acreage expands by nearly 20 percent for a total of 3620 acreage and results in Steamboat becoming the second largest ski resort in Colorado. Expanding into this area creates additional advanced/expert terrain that is underrepresented at the resort and will provide easier access for resort services. This expansion includes the 355 acres of Pioneer Ridge already approved but delayed due to COVID disruptions.
Longest 8-Person Gondola in North America
A new 8-person gondola (working name Wild Blue Gondola) will address base area congestion and feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor bowl with the final destination the top of Sunshine Peak. The mid-station area will become home to the SnowSports School, providing an improved and expanded learning area by taking advantage of ideal beginner/green terrain and moving first-timers out of the base area. The lower portion of Wild Blue Gondola, at 4,561 feet in length, was previously approved, but not implemented. The current EA considers creating a mid-station at the previously approved top terminal; and extending the gondola to the new end destination near the top terminal of the Sundown Express chairlift with an additional length of 11,939 feet. At a total of 3.16 miles, the new 8-person gondola would be the longest in North America, surpassing Silver Mountain’s Gondola at 3.1 miles. The new gondola would increase the out of base capacity from 6000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour. With the addition of Wild Blue, the Priest Creek chairlift, a fixed-grip double chairlift installed in 1972, would be removed and Sundown Express chairlift would be replaced with a more efficient and higher capacity chairlift.
A new restaurant would be constructed near the top terminals of the proposed Wild Blue Gondola and the Sundown Express Chairlift. The restaurant would expand on-mountain dining capacity in the popular Sunshine Peak area and help alleviate dining congestion throughout the entire resort.
Terrain and Snowmaking Improvements
Modifications on Sundial, Tomahawk, Four Points Road and Why Not Road trails would widen intersections, create new egresses and upgrade trails to improve skier/rider circulation and enhance the guest experience. Additionally, snowmaking infrastructure would be installed to cover terrain in the Sunshine Peak area, enhancing the quality of skiing and riding and expediting the timeline for this area of the mountain to open in early season.
“Complementing the on-mountain improvements, the resort is finalizing base area improvement plans and expects to be able to share those in the near future,” continued Perlman. “Alterra Mountain Company’s support of these plans and their encouragement to proceed demonstrates their continued commitment to the resort and the Steamboat Springs community. While a specific timeline for these projects is not known, with the appropriate approvals our locals and visitors will be able to enjoy these amenities in the very near future.”
The public is invited to participate in the EA. The US Forest Service will host a virtual public meeting on July 17 at 4:00 pm to discuss the proposed projects and will provide information about the public commenting period future public meetings and more. To join the meeting, and for additional information and the opportunity to comment on the projects, visit https://arcg.is/q8qrH