Full Steam Ahead: New gondola, food hall, more included in 2nd year of $200M project at Steamboat Resort

Spencer Powell and Eli Pace
Steamboat Pilot & Today
Skiers and riders enjoy one of the final days of the 2021-22 ski season at Steamboat Resort on Friday April 8, 2022. Once the lifts close on Sunday, April 10, crews will begin moving snow, and preparing for construction in the second phase of the resort’s Full Steam Ahead project.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Resort is preparing to embark on the second phase of its Full Steam Ahead project, a massive endeavor spanning multiple years and bringing more than $200 million worth of upgrades and improvements to the resort.

With the upgrades and the addition of new expert terrain, Steamboat Resort is poised to become the second largest ski resort in Colorado.

With local approvals in place and support from Steamboat Resort’s parent company, Alterra, the resort will begin the second phase of its Full Steam Ahead project after the mountain closes for the 2021-22 ski season on Sunday, April 10.

The second year of Steamboat’s Full Steam Ahead project will bring nearly $100 million in improvements to the resort, including a second gondola, a new beginner’s area and a variety of new amenities at the base.

Additionally, resort officials say Steamboat Resort will invest $5.4 million this year in upgrades to existing infrastructure, including other on-mountain improvements, employee housing and more.

More than a facelift

As part of the second phase of the large-scale project, crews will work on completing Skeeter’s Ice Rink, named after Gladys “Skeeter” Werner Walker, an Olympian and local legend.

The Range Food and Drink Hall is also part of phase two. The new food and drink hall will house four new eateries — Sunshine Bowl Ramen, Twister Tacos, Why Not Sweet Spot and Pioneer Pie — and each floor will come with a full bar. On the second floor, there will be a bar with an outdoor deck overlooking Steamboat Square and the resort’s lower mountain.

Additionally, amenities lining the promenade will include a new patrol base, bathrooms, lockers and a new home base for Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports, or STARS, on-mountain operations.

A new gondola

Across the promenade from Steamboat Square, the lower terminal of the Christie Peak Express chairlift will be moved to the south to make room for the lower terminal of the Wild Blue Gondola.

During phase two, the lower leg of Wild Blue Gondola will be completed to the Rough Rider and Bashor Basin area, which will become Greenhorn Ranch, spanning 4,212 feet with 54 cabins for a roughly five-minute ride time.

Eventually, Greenhorn Ranch will serve as the mid-station for the Wild Blue Gondola, and once complete, the gondola will extend to the top of Sunshine Peak, offering skiers and riders direct access to the resort’s most popular terrain.

Upon completing phase three, the Wild Blue Gondola will be the longest 10-person gondola in North America, spanning 16,008 horizontal feet and 3,371 vertical feet with 171 cabins and a ride time of 13 minutes, according to the resort.

That work is scheduled to be complete for winter 2023-24.

Skiers and riders gather outside the Thunderhead Gondola building on Friday, April 8, 2022, as the Steamboat Resort heads into the final weekend of the 2021-22 season in Steamboat. The end of the ski season will mean the start of construction at the resort as phase two of the Full Steam Ahead project will start moving forward once the lifts close.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.

A new learning area

With Steamboat Resort known for its family friendly atmosphere, company officials say the new beginner’s area, Greenhorn Ranch, will redefine the experience for first-timers by whisking them to 7,513 feet.

According to the plan, Greenhorn Ranch will feature one lift, four beginner magic carpets and 30 snow guns on 14 acres.

Lloys Waren was dressed for the warm weather Friday April 8, 2022, as he headed out for a few runs in the closing stretch of the 2021-22 season at the Steamboat Resort.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.

A little background

Full Steam Ahead began in spring 2021 with the demolition of the gondola building, relocation of the lower gondola terminal and the addition of escalators from the resort’s main entrance to Steamboat Square.

The work will continue through winter 2023-24. Phase three of the project involves completing the second leg of the Wild Blue gondola that will go from Greenhorn Ranch to the top of Sunshine Peak.

In addition to Full Steam Ahead, Steamboat Resort plans to spend money elsewhere as well.

The resort will invest more than $2 million in on-mountain improvements to boost its snowmaking, lift maintenance, ski patrol equipment and mountain machinery.

The resort will also demo hybrid snowcats to possibly lessen the fuel consumption of their on-mountain fleet.

Sunshine Express lift will undergo more than $800,000 in maintenance and nearly half a million dollars will be put into new ski and snowboard rental fleets.

The resort plans to invest $400,000 in upgrades to employee housing at the Walton Pond complex. For more about the project, go to

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