Big Improvements at Steamboat

Fri 14 July 06

New lift, new trail & new pipe cutter are the highlights in $7miilion of improvments for the 2006/7 season

2006-Improvements valued at more than $7 million will be made to the Steamboat Ski Area for the 2006/2007 season. These on-mountain improvement projects are designed to enhance a variety of facilities, services and programs across the resort and improve the overall resort experience. A key focus of this investment is lift, trail and snowmaking enhancements to the popular Sunshine Bowl area.

"Steamboat Ski Area and the larger community are poised for a great season in 2006/07 when you match these capital improvement plans with the resort’s industry leading guest service, family and on-mountain programs,” stated Chris Diamond, president of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation.

The Sunshine project includes the replacement of the Sunshine triple chairlift with a high-speed detachable quad chairlift, a new trail and expanded snowmaking coverage. Other significant trail projects are planned for the Rendezvous Saddle area. Nearly $1 million will be spent renovating popular cafeterias at the Thunderhead and Rendezvous Saddle lodges as well as more than a half a million dollars on grooming equipment including a new winch cat and specialty superpipe equipment.

The other big changes for next winter’s guests will be expanded air service and an $18 million, 22,000 square-foot terminal addition to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, funded largely by federal and county funds. "The 2006/07 on-mountain improvements, coupled with what is a vastly improved guest experience at the Steamboat/Hayden Airport, will mean a significantly enhanced vacation experience for the majority of our guests,” said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing.

Sunshine Express High-Speed Quad Chairlift Powered By Solar/Wind Energy:

Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation is installing a Leitner-Poma of America high-speed quad chairlift replacing the Sunshine fixed grip triple chairlift. The Sunshine Express will significantly enhance the guest experience by reducing travel time from 11 minutes to 5.5 minutes. Sunshine Express will have a vertical rise of 1,400 feet, a slope length of 5,500 feet, and a top speed of 1,000 ft/min.

Due to the tight construction timeline, which will feature heavy truck and helicopter traffic throughout the fall, the new lift is expected to be ready to carry its first riders in early to mid December.

As a part of its long-standing commitment to the environment, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation will purchase renewable energy certificates to offset the electricity needed for the new Sunshine Express lift. Steamboat is purchasing renewable energy certificates from 3 Phases Energy Services to ensure the delivery of clean, natural power to the "grid", thereby displacing an equivalent amount of energy that otherwise would have been created by non-renewable sources. Under the energy certificates, the Sunshine Express will operate on a combination of wind and solar power.

Sunshine Bowl Trail and Snowmaking Enhancements:

The new trail will bypass the steep upper section of Tomahawk and traverses back to High Noon and Rendezvous Saddle area. In addition, the resort will re-grade the popular beginner trail, Broadway, to improve its width and decrease its steepness. Snowmaking will be extended to cover the new trail plus upper sections of the Tomahawk and High Noon trails. New trail signage and family terrain features are also included.

"The Sunshine area has always been a fantastic family-friendly, intermediate cruising area, which anchors our position as the number one family resort in the west,” said Doug Allen, vice president-mountain operations for the resort. "Now with the addition of a high-speed quad, new trail and kid-friendly features, we plan to set the bar even higher and will debut a redesigned contemporary area of the mountain perfect for families.”

Thunderhead & Rendezvous Food Courts: The resort plans to invest close to $1 million in the renovation of food outlets at the Thunderhead and Rendezvous lodges. Both facilities will receive a complete facelift, redesign and improved flow dynamics under the direction of design firm Three Dimensional Services (3DS).

Originally constructed in 1970 as a mid-mountain chalet, Thunderhead has transformed into a multi dimensional food and gathering destination. With additions and remodels occurring in 1980, 1986 and 1996, BK Corral, located on the third floor of Thunderhead, will be transformed into a state-of-the-art, historically themed food and beverage destination. The new facility will offer a variety of selection portals, improved quality, efficient service, and a warm hearted, unpretentious welcome and décor that opens view corridors and sight lines. With the configuration change, the facility will add 52 seats closing in on 480-seat occupancy and be able to increase the average number of daily guests by five percent.

Plans for the reconfiguration of Rendezvous Saddle Lodge call for a similar transformation that takes this facility to a new level while maintaining the heavy timber, post and beam structure, vaulted ceilings and expansive views. The new facility will offer a variety of selections, improved quality, efficient service, and new exit portal. In addition, the southwestern station will move to the second level, allowing the pizza station located in "The Loft” to expand.

Zaugg Pipe Cutter:

As part of its 2006 capital program, the company will purchase a state-of-the-art Zaugg superpipe cutter. The Zaugg creates an elliptical shape, which makes for a smoother landing in the pipe and allows an individual to gain speed easier, resulting in more hits during the run. During the 2006/2007 season, three machines (one pipe grooming machine & two normal grooming snowcats) will be solely dedicated to the 11.8-acre SOBE Terrain Park and Mavericks Superpipe.


Steamboat’s snowmaking system will see the addition of 2,500 feet of 10-inch pipe to the primary pipeline on Vogue, new hose, fan gun and upgrades to one of the systems pump houses. These improvements continue to enhance water management, increase capacity and address safety issues. The system covers 438 acres of top-to-bottom terrain (3,600 vertical feet) or a total of thirty-five trails accessed by thirteen lifts including the eight-passenger gondola.

[Taken from official press release]

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Steamboat, USA

Snowboard Guide rating 8 out of 10 “On the mountain this a great place to ride with some excellent treeriding to try out and some cool carving runs. But off the slopes the place is way too stuck up.”