STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO —
As work continues in the base area and on the mountain for Steamboat Ski Resort’s Full Steam Ahead redevelopment, the resort received Environmental Assessment (EA) approval from the USDA Forest Service National Forest for future on mountain projects. The proposed projects include the second leg of Wild Blue Gondola from the new Greenhorn Ranch to 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.
“We are in the thick of a multi-year resort improvement campaign, the largest in Steamboat’s 58-year history. Even as we make great strides on the base area and lower gondola terminal, we’re also prepping for Master Plan projects that will be finalized in the next several years,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “The EA approval is an important step for us to continue planning and eventually break ground on Pioneer Ridge, the second leg of the Wild Blue Gondola and expanded snowmaking improvements. We will continue to work collaboratively with the community, the USFS and all stakeholders as we steer these transformational projects full steam ahead.”
Among the highlights of proposed projects now approved by the Forest Service:
650 additional acres in Pioneer Ridge/Fish Creek Canyon
With 650 new acres the resort’s current skiable terrain will expand by nearly 20 percent for a total of 3,620 acres and result in Steamboat becoming the second largest ski resort in Colorado. Expanding into this area will create 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 10-Person Gondola in North America
The first leg of the Wild Blue Gondola, at 4,561 feet in length, is already approved and scheduled to begin work in summer 2022 with completion expected for winter 22/23. This EA approval allows for the extension of the Wild Blue 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 fully complete 10-person Gondola will be the longest in North America. The finalized second leg of the Gondola will increase the out of base capacity from 6000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour. With the planned addition of Wild Blue, the resort has begun removing Priest Creek chairlift, the resort’s oldest chairlift installed in 1972. Priest Creek did not operate any days last winter and was utilized infrequently during previous seasons.
Terrain and Snowmaking Improvements
Modifications on Sundial, Tomahawk, Four Points Road and Why Not Road trails will widen intersections, create new egresses and upgrade trails to improve skier/rider circulation and enhance the guest experience. Additionally, snowmaking infrastructure will 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.