Out with the old, in with the new: Steamboat Resort preps for new gondola construction
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort concluded its winter season this month, but employees already are gearing up changes for next year, including construction of a new gondola.
A crew was removing all of the cabins from the old gondola Monday and Tuesday and transporting them to the Meadows Parking Lot for temporary storage.
Most of the cabins will receive a spring clean before the resort sells and ships them to ski areas across the world. Ski area Senior Communications Manager Loryn Kasten said some of the cabins will be donated to local nonprofits to help with fundraising efforts.
For the past two weeks, employees have been plowing access roads around the mountain to carve a path for construction equipment. During this process, heavy machinery has been out in force and will continue to be a common sight — more so than in past off-seasons.
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Officials are therefore urging people to stay off the mountain and its trails until further notice.
The resort has closed public uphill access from the base area and the bottom of Thunderhead Express lift to keep people safe. Officials also urge backcountry adventurers not to trek on the mountain through U.S. Forest Service property.
“There’s no guarantee that a route someone might have taken in previous years is a safe route this year,” Kasten said.
After crews finish preparing construction areas around the mountain, they will remove the haul rope from the old gondola. Kasten expects this to happen by early next week.
The new Doppelmayr gondola will shuttle guests up the mountain faster next season. It will have more cabins than the old lift and a ride time of about 10 minutes, as opposed to the 12 minutes people typically spent on the gondola this winter.
Construction on the gondola will cause some changes to summer operations. Thunderhead Lodge will be closed until winter, and guests will have uphill lift access only on Christie Peak Express, which will offer scenic rides and shuttling services to lower-mountain bike trails.
The upper portion of the Steamboat Bike Park, the downhill-only system of mountain bike trails, will be closed for the summer.
Bike Park trails below Christie Peak are scheduled to open June 14 and will remain open during construction.
The public can stay up to date on projects around the mountain, including the progress of the new gondola, on the resort’s website.
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