Hotel gets approval to sound steamboat whistle every day in Gondola Square

Scott Franz
The Sheraton Steamboat Resort is on of the largest hotels at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. The property underwent a $16 million renovation in 2013.
John F. Russell

— Don’t be startled if it sounds like a steamboat is signaling its arrival in Gondola Square this winter.

It’s just a call to gather on the deck of a local hotel to learn about some of the history of our fair city.

The Steamboat Springs City Council recently granted the Sheraton Steamboat Resort an exemption from the local noise ordinance to sound a whistle every day in Gondola Square.

Someone will be on hand below the whistle on the Saddles deck of the Sheraton to share stories about the history of Steamboat, or they will perform some cowboy poetry.

The whistle, which will use compressed air to emit a sound that resembles a whistle on a steamboat, will blast in bursts for as long as a minute before the storytelling session.

Expect to hear the whistle at 4:30 p.m. each day during the winter, and around the start of happy hour in the summer.

“I’m optimistic this is going to be embraced by the community,” Sheraton General Manager Dan Pirrallo said Friday.

Pirrallo has said the whistle will emit a deep, Delta Queen sound.

Pirrallo was charged by his bosses at Starwood to come up with a tradition for the hotel that would be on par with other Starwood hotel traditions, which include ducks marching through a lobby every day in Memphis and champagne sabering in Aspen.

Pirrallo said he has resisted the challenge for a few years because he wanted to come up with a tradition that was meaningful. He thinks he found one by partnering with the Tread of Pioneers Museum to come up with the whistle idea, which has garnered support from the museum, the Steamboat Ski Area and the Mountain Village Partnership.

Council members were mostly supportive of the idea.

The council approved the noise ordinance exemption under the condition that the decision be revisited in two years.

City staff will report back to the council with any feedback from the community about the whistle sound.

Pirrallo said the whistle is being custom made and should be ready for the ski season.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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