VIDEO: A day at The Land Up, Steamboat Ski Area’s fun zone
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After years of work, the base of Steamboat Ski Area has come alive for summer.
Private investment and taxpayer dollars were used to fund a $20 million overhaul, which included the addition of a promenade and the daylighting of Burgess Creek during the summer.
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. built a stage and new bathrooms, and last year, work was completed on what is now called The Land Up. The summer activities opened earlier than ever this year for Memorial Day weekend.
The Land Up encompasses all of the ski area’s summer activities, which range from mountain biking to hiking and gondola rides to base area activities, including the most recent additions: Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Maverick Mini-Golf and Kilimanjaro Climbing Wall.
After breakfast at The Paramount, my friends and I got our wristbands and headed for the main attraction: the coaster. After a full day of fun, we all walked away feeling like kids again.
Outlaw Mountain Coaster
The Outlaw Mountain Coaster gets bragging rights for being the longest mountain coaster in North America.
Guest Services Director Jeff Daniels explained how the coaster is packed with technology. There are computers in each of the carts that allow them to communicate with each other to ensure there is adequate distance between riders.
Riders are towed up a track, and then gravity takes over.
There are safety mechanisms in place, but it is ultimately up to the rider to control his or her speed and stop at the end of the ride.
If you have the guts, it’s possible to not touch the brakes until the end of the ride. Doing that is frightening and exhilarating, and it takes some time to compose yourself afterward.
Pro tip: Two people — even adults — can sit on a cart. More weight equals more speed.
Grab a beverage and pick up a snack at the nearby Taco Beast, the ski area’s version of a food truck, before teeing off. During winter, the Taco Beast snowcat will set up at different locations on the mountain.
On the Maverick Mini-Golf course, many of the holes incorporate a theme from some of Steamboat’s most iconic landmarks, such as Fish Creek Falls.
On the More Barn hole, Daniels said he knows of two ways to make a hole-in-one: Choose the correct barn door, and you’ll have a shot.
The unofficial par 44 course record is 37. Soon, ski area employees will start their weekly mini-golf league and compete for the lowest score.
Pro tip: Usually, you try to stay clear of the water while playing golf. Shoot into the drink on No. 11, and you have a shot at draining the put if your ball rolls down just the right spot on the grate.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Wall
The three routes going up the climbing wall present options: easy, medium and hard.
Daniels said the limiting factor for many people is their fear of heights.
The hard route includes a challenging overhang, which requires strength and good climbing technique.
Daniels said a few employees are able to do it.
“I, personally, have not,” Daniels said.
Pro tip: Lay off the arms and focus on using those big leg muscles.
Challenge Ropes Course
Kids will spend hours on the Challenge Ropes Course.
Daniels said it was designed so the layout and obstacles can be reconfigured.
Pro tip: Take it slow.
Rock & Roll Tubing Lanes
We had time for one more ride, so we headed to the tubing lanes. It truly was one of those Peter Pan moments when a 36-year-old feels like a kid again.
Daniels said kids will spend hours doing laps on the tubes.
Pro tip: Ask the employee at the top of the Rock & Roll Tubing Lanes to give you a good spin for the ride down.
More at The Land Up
The Land Up also includes WaterWalkerz, a bungee trampoline, disc golf, a kids bounce house and the Burgess Creek beaches.
And no play date at The Land Up is complete without a ride up the gondola to 9,080 feet. The lower temperatures are refreshing, as are the views and concoctions served up on the Oasis Sundeck.
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