That just-out-of-the-wrapper gondola isn’t the only thing that’s shiny and new this year at Steamboat Ski Resort, but let’s be honest; there’s nothing cooler than a brand-new gondola. It literally only happens once every 30 years, and on top of the fact that it’s as sleek as a sports car (not to mention that amazing shade of electric blue) it comes with a considerable number of upgrades from the old one.
The new gondola might be front page news, but there’re a lot of shiny new things to get excited about this season: from the earliest-ever Opening Day thanks to some great early snowfall and a new focus on sustainability, to even more Ikon benefits (as if that were possible!).
Let’s just say if hindsight is always 20/20, then the future is looking pretty sharp in 2020. “We continue to work with Alterra to ensure the future of Steamboat Ski Resort is strong, and the improvements at the resort for the upcoming winter are major steps towards big master plans,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “A new focus on sustainability programming lead by our Director and the new gondola may be behind the scenes efforts, but the impacts of these improvements will certainly change the experience for skiers and riders at Steamboat.”
Get Tuned Up: New Montana tuning machine
For the first time in more than a decade, Steamboat Ski Resort is bringing ski tuning in-house with the latest technology and machinery from industry leader Montana. Steamboat’s rental fleet will be top of the line with more frequent tunes and the waxing/tuning specifically designed for current conditions. Guests may also drop off their own equipment for tuning and waxing at Steamboat Sports – Gondola Square.
Ski Your Pass Off!
Bragging rights are part of the skiing and snowboarding experience and Steamboat continues to reward its most loyal powderhounds with the Ski Your Pass Off loyalty program. Adult Ikon passholders (ages 13 and up) are rewarded for the number of days they hit the mountain. When passholders log 10 days before the end of December 2019 they’ll earn a complimentary First Tracks ticket. From there, guests receive rewards at 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 and 140 days with an initial $10 dining voucher for the first 10 days and $20 dining vouchers at each remaining benchmark. Dining vouchers can be used at any Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation restaurant. Guest who ski all 144 days of the season receive additional recognition and rewards at an end of season celebration.
Night Skiing just got Ikonic
Let’s be honest: who thought the Ikon Pass could get any better than it already is? In addition to having access to 41 destination ski resorts in North America, South America, New Zealand, Japan, and now Switzerland (woot!) Ikon Passholders now get to go night skiing at Steamboat!
New this year, Full Ikon passholders receive unlimited access to night skiing and snowboarding during the winter season. Ikon Base passholders can either ski the same night as they used one of their days or use one of their days to ski or ride at night. This additional perk is best for guests arriving late in the day- there is no longer a need to wait until the next morning to get your on-mountain vacation started!
Walking the Walk: A Sustainable Future
Steamboat will soon join the ranks of ski resorts that lead the industry in sustainability practices with the help of new Sustainability Director Sarah Jones, who has been hired to oversee the resort’s sustainability programming and community engagement. “Jones brings nearly two decades of professional experience in sustainability and environmental programming to Steamboat Ski Resort,” says Loryn Duke, Communications Director for Steamboat Resort. “Sarah will be responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing all the resort’s sustainability programming and practices. She’ll also work on improving Steamboat’s operational environmental performance and helping to develop further resort policy goals on climate and energy.”
To walk the walk, Steamboat Ski Resort has made a $500,000 founding donor contribution to the newly launched Yampa River Fund, the largest single cash donation in the resort’s history. “The Yampa River Fund is a water fund dedicated to identifying and funding activities that protect water supply, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities provided by the Yampa River,” Duke says. “Even better, this contribution unlocked a one-to-one match ultimately allowing the resort to provide access to $1 million for the health and prosperity of the community’s main water resource.”
More on that New Gondola
We know you probably have a million questions, so let’s talk details. The brand is none other than Doppelmayr. The speed is 38 percent faster, so less wait time and shorter lines. There are also 12 more cabins that have been added to the line, increasing the capacity. It’s a newer, more advanced machine running at 6m per second versus the previous 5m per second. You probably never even realized there was a 9-inch step into gondola cabins but now, the tower setup is better with level, walk-in cabins and new mats that will make it easier and faster to load. Add to that picture a new guest resolution center at the entrance and an expanded enclosed area for the que with RFID gates moved to the entrance of the building (versus closer to the gondola loading). At the top terminal at Thunderhead Lodge, the exit terminal got a little facelift by adding a timber gabled roof to match the main entrance to the building and better stairs. There’s your fodder for cocktail hour this holiday season. You’re welcome!
Shopping, anyone? New retail stores opening this season
Steamboat Mercantile:Located in the heart of Gondola Square across from Gondola Joe’s, the resort’s newest retail outlet features Steamboat logo wear including apparel from resort partners such as Marmot and The North Face and gift items. Open daily during the winter season starting at 8 am.
Steamboat Sports – Sheraton:The resort’s flagship rental and retail outlet received a complete overhaul during summer 2019 resulting in an additional 2000 square feet of commercial space, an improved rental process and more retail offerings. Located slopeside from Christie Peak Express Lift, Steamboat Sports will be the place to go for equipment rentals of all ranges, and the latest apparel, logo wear, souvenirs and equipment for purchase.
Steamboat Sports-Sheraton is one of seven Steamboat Sports locations, renamed for the 2019/20 winter season including Thunderhead Peak, Gondola Square, Ski Time Square, Steamboat Grand, Delivery and Gondola Square Demo Center.
Steamboat Sports at Thunderhead Peak: In its new location on the snow, trading in skis at the top of the gondola will be a much-improved experience as the resort opens a brand new building offering top of the line skis for demo and sale at the intersection of Spur Run and Tower trails. Previously housed in the Yurt at the bottom of the exit stairs from Thunderhead Lodge, the new location for demo rentals and sales provides 360 square feet dedicated to Rossignol, Nordica, Volkl and Head skis as well as a better mountain ambiance.
Seasonal Equipment Storage
Below Timber & Torch in Gondola Square, Steamboat has redefined overnight ski storage with a permanent Ski Corral facility. Complete with state-of-the-art racking systems, guests will be able to leave their skis and poles or snowboards at the convenient, heated base area location at the end of the day and collect them with ease before loading the Gondola in the morning. In addition to guest overnight storage, a limited number of seasonal storage slots, including heated boot storage, are now available for long-term storage at www.steamboat.com/storage.
Fly High: Traveling to Steamboat is a breeze
Steamboat’s air program continues to be one of the most robust in the Rocky Mountains with 14 total nonstop markets flying to Ski Town, U.S.A. via the major air carriers of American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and United. Winter seasonal flights begin in December and run through March, making Steamboat accessible from anywhere in the world. www.steamboat.com/flights
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