The lifts stopped spinning and the excavators started digging this April as Steamboat Resort’s longtime plans for a major overhaul of its base area and on-mountain experience are well underway. Alterra Mountain Company is footing the bill for this second phase to the tune of $100 million for the new Wild Blue Gondola, Greenhorn Ranch beginner’s area, and an entirely new base area design, along with several other long-awaited amenities.
“It’s hard to imagine a summer more exciting than last year, but Phase II promises to bring even bigger changes to the resort,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “These significant resort improvements will enhance the overall experience for our staff, guests and community, building upon our strong brand and industry-leading guest service.”
The Steamboat Square base area will be entirely updated with long awaited plans for Skeeter’s Ice Rink and The Range, a unique food and drink hall. “It’s a similar concept to the trendy food halls we’re seeing pop up in cities,” says Maren Franciosi, Communications Manager for Steamboat Mountain Resort. There will be a full bar on each floor, with four different food stalls on the lower level offering a variety of options like tacos, pizza, ramen and sweets. “Downstairs will be fast casual, with seating indoors and outdoors with fire pits,” Franciosi says. Upstairs is designed for serious après, with another full bar and outdoor deck that overlooks the plaza.
On the mountain, significant reconfigurations are taking place to improve the overall experience, especially for beginners with the addition of Greenhorn Ranch. “Traditionally, our magic carpets and beginner terrain have been in the base area, which is what you see at a lot of resorts,” Franciosi says. “Greenhorn Ranch will be located at the mid-station of the new Wild Blue gondola, so beginners can enjoy a gondola ride, be immersed in the mountains, and really get to experience what we all love about skiing and snowboarding. There will be more opportunity to fall in love with the sport.” This will be a new headquarters for the ski school, alleviate congestion at the base, and it will provide terrain-based learning opportunities for skiers and riders that didn’t exist before.
Demolition of the existing Preview Lift, Outlaw Mountain Coaster, and Mavericks mini golf and moving the Christie Peak Express lift lower terminal make room for the Wild Blue Gondola. Steamboat’s bragging rights are soon to follow, upon completion of the second leg in Phase III of Full Steam Ahead, making the Wild Blue Gondola the longest 10-person gondola in North America, spanning 16,008 horizontal feet and 3,371 vertical feet with 171 cabins and a total ride time of 13 minutes. The second leg is scheduled to be completed for winter 23/24.
“What’s major is that the on-mountain and base area projects are happening at the same time,” Franciosi says. “To have all these big transformations happening in a matter of three years is huge for Steamboat—it’s a game changer.”// fullsteamahead.steamboat.com