Steamboat Moves Full Steam Ahead With Phase II
Wild Blue Gondola, Greenhorn Ranch, Food Hall and more in second year of $200+ million development
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation is moving Full Steam Ahead with the second phase of its $200 million, multi-year transformation of the base area and mountain, after receiving final approval from the Steamboat Springs City Council and Planning Commission. With support from Alterra Mountain Company, the second year of Steamboat’s Full Steam Ahead project will begin this spring after the resort closes for the winter season, and will infuse nearly $100 million into the world-class resort including a second Gondola, a new beginner’s area and base area amenities. Additionally, the resort will invest $5.4 million in upgrades to existing resort infrastructure including other on-mountain improvements, employee housing and more.
“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.”
Steamboat Square’s facelift continues with the addition of Skeeter’s Ice Rink in the heart of the square and The Range Food & Drink Hall, featuring four new eateries with a variety of options for resort guests. In the tradition of great food halls around the world, the Range will open with Sunshine Bowl Ramen, Twister Tacos, Why Not Sweet Spot and Pioneer Pie on the main floor. Each floor will have a full bar, with the second-floor bar featuring an outdoor deck space overlooking Steamboat Square and the resort’s lower mountain. Additionally, amenities lining the Promenade will include a new Patrol base, bathrooms, lockers and a new home base for Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS) on-mountain operations.
Across the promenade from Steamboat Square, the lower terminal of Christie Peak Express lift will be shifted to the south to make room for the lower terminal of Wild Blue. During Full Steam Ahead Phase II, the lower leg of Wild Blue Gondola will be completed to Greenhorn Ranch, spanning 4,212 feet with 54 cabins and about a 5-minute ride time. Eventually Greenhorn Ranch will serve as the mid-station for the Wild Blue Gondola, where it will extend its journey to the top of Sunshine Peak providing direct base area access to the resort’s most popular terrain. Upon completion of the second leg in Phase III of Full Steam Ahead, the Wild Blue Gondola will be 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.
To make room for the Christie Peak Express lower terminal shift and maximize skier/rider egress to the Steamboat Square, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster and Maverick’s mini golf course will be removed after the end of the winter season and are not expected to be reinstalled. “We have long recognized the Mountain Coaster is not in an ideal location as the first impression in the base area,” said Perlman. “Now we have the opportunity to be thoughtful about our approach to base area improvements. As we move Full Steam Ahead with shifting Christie Peak Express lift to make room for the Wild Blue Gondola, it is time to remove the mountain coaster from the main thoroughfare in the base area.”
Known as one of the best family resorts in the world, Steamboat’s new beginner’s area Greenhorn Ranch will redefine the first timer’s experience by whisking skiers and riders to 7,513 feet to start their mountain adventure. Instead of keeping first time skiers and riders in the base area out of convenience, as many resorts do, Steamboat’s beginners will be immersed in the mountains. Greenhorn Ranch will feature one lift, four beginner magic carpets, 30 snow guns on 14 acres of terrain-based learning utilizing the re-graded terrain to teach skiers and riders. Students of Steamboat SnowSports School will have access to the Greenhorn Ranch Sprung Structure for lunch and warming.
The Full Steam Ahead project began in spring 2021 with the demolition of the Gondola building, relocation of the lower gondola terminal and the addition of escalators from the resort’s main entrance to Steamboat Square. Full Steam Ahead will continue through winter 23/24 with Phase 3 completing the second leg of Wild Blue from Greenhorn Ranch to the top of Sunshine Peak, adding 655 acres of advanced/expert terrain and a detachable quad into Pioneer Ridge/Fish Creek Falls and finalizing Steamboat Square amenities. With the addition of new expert terrain, Steamboat will become the second largest ski resort in Colorado. For more details on Full Steam Ahead including a complete timeline, projects already completed and what to expect in the future visit www.steamboat.com/FullSteamAhead.
In addition to Full Steam Ahead, Steamboat will invest more than $2 million in on-mountain improvements to snowmaking, lift maintenance, ski patrol equipment and mountain machinery including 2 new tier 5 snowcats which reduce NOx emissions by 90 percent and particulate matter by 75 percent over a tier 4 engine. The resort will also demo hybrid snowcats to understand their sustainability in cutting fuel use and increasing energy efficiency to our on-mountain fleet. Sunshine Express lift will undergo more than $800,000 in maintenance and nearly half a million dollars will be put into new ski and snowboard rental fleets including performance equipment from Rossignol and Burton. The resort continues to invest in its staff with $400,000 in upgrades to employee housing in the Walton Pond complex including a complete interior renovation of one of its buildings.