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Yesterday’s announcement by Alterra that they will be making an additional 355 acres of terrain accessible at Steamboat, CO by extending the resort boundary into the Pioneer Ridge area, will result in Steamboat becoming the third largest resort in Colorado. The terrain is popular with backcountry skiers, many who use the resort’s chairlifts to reach the backcountry gates at the top of the Pony Express lift.
- Vail – 5,317 acres
- Snowmass – 3,339 acres
- Steamboat – 3,320 acres
- Keystone – 3,148 acres
- Winter Park – 3,081 acres
- Related: Alterra Mountain Company Announces $223 Million in Capital Improvements for the 2020/2021 Winter Season
Pioneer Ridge will feature advanced/expert gladed terrain with 1,800 vertical feet, accessible via the Pony Express lift. Twenty-five new chairs will be added to the line of Pony Express lift, increasing lift capacity from 1,200 people per hour to 1,800. The expansion will increase Steamboat’s acreage to 3,320 acres, a 12 percent increase in total skiable acres, and leapfrogging Steamboat above Winter Park and Keystone. Only Vail and Snowmass will offer more terrain.
“Pioneer Ridge is a game-changer for Steamboat,” the ski area’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman said in a news release. “While we have always been known as an intermediate paradise, this expansion will provide the ‘Champagne Powder’ snow we are known for in more steep, advance/expert terrain, meeting a need long expressed by our locals and our visiting guests. Some of our dedicated locals have been getting fresh tracks in this area for years. By bringing it into the resort’s boundary we can offer patrol services in the area, creating a safer experience.”
The expansion is the first time in more than 20 years that the ski area has extended its resort boundary and will provide skiers with a better range of skiable terrain and will improve skier safety.
Steamboat has several other improvement projects in the works such as upgrading Thunderhead Lodge, renovating its employee housing at The Ponds, and upgrading snowmaking equipment.