1st cabin placed on new gondola at Steamboat Resort; online auction of old trail signs opens Monday | SteamboatToday.com

1st cabin placed on new gondola at Steamboat Resort; online auction of old trail signs opens Monday

A worker reaches down to the first gondola cabin placed on the new gondola Thursday at Steamboat Resort. The rest of the 136 cabins, all equipped with Wi-Fi, have arrived at the resort and will be put on the lift in the coming weeks.
Billy Gunn/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A plastic-wrapped gondola cabin made its maiden voyage down Mount Werner on Thursday, Oct. 10, over a blanket of fresh snow from the previous night. 

It was the first of Steamboat Resort’s recently received cabins to make the journey on its new $15 million gondola, set to open by the start of the 2019/20 winter season.

Each of the cabins will offer free Wi-Fi during visitors’ ride up the mountain.

Dave Hunter, vice president of mountain operations at Steamboat Resort, said crews sent the cabin down from its storage area in the upper gondola terminal to test the lift’s alignment and heights. 

“Everything went fine,” Hunter said of the test run.

About 83 additional cabins are being stored in the upper terminal, which he said will be put on the gondola over the next week. Each will stay in its white wrapping, like a Christmas present, until the resort opens, according to Hunter, partly to have a big reveal at the start of the winter season and partly to keep them pristine for their first passengers. 

“That way they maintain that new gondola smell,” Hunter said. 

The cabin test comes two weeks after a Missouri family visited the resort to splice the 78-ton haul rope. Justin Knight, one of just a handful of specialized wire rope splicers in the country, hammered together both ends of the 3.4-mile long steel gondola cable. The delicate, painstaking process makes the rope strong enough to bear the weight of all 137 cabins and their passengers. 

  • Arc
  • Deso’s Descent
  • One O’Clock
  • Typhoon
  • Bail Out
  • Cowboy Coffee
  • Rooster
  • Vagabond
  • Bashor
  • Daybreak
  • Rowel
  • Vogue
  • Eagle’s Nest
  • Frying Pan
  • Skeeter’s Run
  • White Out
  • Blizzard
  • Hot Cakes
  • Spike
  • Why Not
  • Buddy’s Run
  • Huevos
  • Storm Peak
  • Bug’s Run
  • Jump Strat
  • Sundial
  • Chutes 1, 2, and 3
  • Mother Nature
  • Tornado Lane

With most of construction completed, the next major step is getting the gondola commissioned by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, which Hunter expects to happen by the end of the month.

Starting Monday, the resort also is opening an online auction of 31 retired trail signs. Proceeds will go to Steamboat Resort’s Environmental Fund at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, according to a Friday news release, which donates $25,000 annually to nonprofit environmental organizations in Routt County.

Each sign measures 72 inches long and 12 inches wide.

The auction will run from 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 14, and will close at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. 

Purchasing a sign is not tax deductible, according to the statement. To bid on a sign, visit steamboat.com/auction.

Thursday also marked the first day of the resort’s snowmaking operations, amid a cold front. Crews planned to make snow through Friday before temperatures warm again over the weekend to prepare for the 2019/20 winter season.

Opening day is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, four days earlier than previous years. 

Due to Wednesday’s storm, which dumped 7.5 inches of snow on midmountain, according to the resort’s weather report, Christie Peak Express will be closed this weekend, meaning bikers and hikers will have no ride up the mountain. Other summer activities like mini golf, the climbing wall and Outlaw Mountain Coaster are expected to remain open for the weekend before closing for the winter.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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