Steamboat Resort, CO, Expansion Gets Go Ahead From Forest Service to Make it Colorado’s 2nd Largest Resort

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steamboat, colorado
New proposed gondola – the longest in North America

Steamboat Resort, CO announced yesterday that its $135-million master plan to make the resort the second-largest in Colorado has received approval from the US Forest Service. The approval follows a public comment period in July.

“We are in the thick of a multiyear 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. We will continue to work collaboratively with the community, the Forest Service and all stakeholders as we steer these transformational projects full steam ahead.”

– Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

Some of the major upgrades in the 2019 master plan are:

  • the longest 10-person gondola in North America
  • a 650-acre terrain expansion
  • a new 17,000-sqft restaurant at the top of the Sunshine and Sundown chairlifts
Steamboat trail map

Steamboat, currently the fifth largest resort in Colorado with 2,965 skiable acres, would jump to the state’s second-largest with 3,616-acres, behind Vail’s 5,317-acres. On the original Pioneer Ridge expansion proposed earlier this year:

“Pioneer Ridge is a game-changer for Steamboat. 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.”

– Rob Perlman

The new 10-person gondola, to be called the Wild Blue Gondola, will load at the base area and finish at the summit of Sunshine Peak for a 3.16-mile-long ride. There would be a mid-station at the Bashor Bowl, near the Mavericks terrain park. The new gondola would be capable of transporting 10,000-people per hour up the mountain, compared to the current rate of 6,000, which would significantly reduce crowds and wait times on busy days.

The Wild Blue Gondola will also allow the resort to remove the Priest Creek lift and also replace the aging Sundown Express 4-person with a more efficient and higher capacity 6-person chairlift.

steamboat, colorado
Fish Creek expansion.

The first terrain expansion at the resort in more than 20-years builds on a previous proposal of extending the resort boundary into the Pioneer Ridge area, a plan which Alterra canned due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 closures. The terrain is popular with backcountry skiers, many of who use the resort’s chairlifts to reach the backcountry gates at the top of the Pony Express lift. The new proposal would bring the Fish Creek Canyon within the resort’s boundary, as well as the Pioneer Ridge area.

There are way more details on the project website, including 70-acres of new snowmaking.

“This is an ambitious undertaking the likes of which our resort has never seen. With plans for an après ski plaza, new restaurants and bars, new lodging, a ski beach, and an ice rink. On the mountain – new lifts and new terrain will make us the second-largest resort in Colorado. In the tradition of our pioneering spirit and out of the genuine western heritage of Steamboat comes an entirely new vision for our resort. Welcome to the new west.”

– Steamboat Resort

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