Ski area demolition includes deconstruction, waste diversion

Items from Steamboat Resort’s Kids Vacation Center are currently in storage for future use. (Photo by John F. Russell)

When the ski season ended at Steamboat Resort this spring, almost 1,400 used employee lockers stood awaiting reassignment.

Those many pounds of reusable or recyclable metal lockers were just a fraction of the supplies that Sarah Jones, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. director of sustainability and community engagement, along with Sustainability Coordinator Mac Moody, were tasked with saving or reallocating before the demolition of the gondola and snow sports school buildings. The demolition, including deconstruction and waste diversion, is making way for base area improvements scheduled for completion by summer 2023.

Jones and Moody inspected all the lockers, most of which were more than 30 years old, labeling them “keep,” “donate” or “recycle.” Jones reached out to Routt County United Way and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, and Moody made calls to nonprofits and educational groups to find new homes for 90 lockers in the community. An additional 300 lockers were put in storage for use in new ski area buildings. The remaining lockers that were in bad shape were sent to Axis Steel in Craig to be recycled.

Jones and the resort’s facilities team organized the same process for electronics, appliances, furniture, lighting and equipment.

The waste diversion process involves a hierarchy. First, items are repurposed by reassigning or storing for future use, then they are given away for reuse by resort employees, nonprofit organizations or members of the community. Next is recycle or dispose of responsibly, and the last option, send to the landfill, Jones said. The ski resort is storing hundreds of items, ranging from ski clothing to boiler room equipment, in the ballroom of Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas and at an offsite administrative building.

Before the buildings were torn down, as much deconstruction as possible took place beforehand. Employees were offered everything from cabinets to building materials. One employee took the glass garage-style doors from the former gondola entrance for reuse. The ski area spread the word in May for community members to pick up items for reuse such as dated kitchen appliances, used furniture and building equipment, such as doors and windows.

All of the food and beverage equipment from Gondola Joe’s coffee shop is in storage for later. Some kitchen refrigerators were reused in resort housing at The Ponds.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Summit County picked up two truckloads of appliances and furniture. Old vinyl banners were donated to a Denver company that repurposes banners. In the end, less than 10% of the overall furniture and appliances taken out of the 30-year-old buildings went to the landfill, Jones said.

“Everything we could think of to try to reuse, repurpose or give away, we tried really hard to do that before the demolition. That was really fun to be able to give away as much as we could,” Jones said. “We could have saved more of the building supplies if we had a local architectural salvage company” that would pick up items.

Hazardous waste items were removed before demolition to be sent for proper recycling, such as 2,400 fluorescent light tubes that contain small amounts of mercury. The bulbs were collected by Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling based in Glenwood Springs. Old electronics, which are required to be recycled under Colorado law, and some hardback books were recycled through Blue Star Recyclers in Boulder.

Some 2,400 fluorescent tubes, which contain some hazardous waste mercury, were removed and collected for proper disposal before the two base area buildings at Steamboat Resort were demolished. (Courtesy photo)

The company tasked with demolishing the buildings, Englewood-based Colorado Cleanup Corporation, was selected in part for its experience in deconstruction, Jones said. Separating and tracking volumes of reusable materials is part of the resort’s process to rebuild at a certified LEED level of construction, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Jones is serving on a redevelopment team that includes two design firms with experience in LEED projects, including East West Partners, with a new office in Steamboat Springs, and the international firm Gensler with an office in Denver. The team has a goal of earning silver level LEED certification for the redevelopment projects, Jones said.

Now that demolition is nearly complete, Jones shared some of the waste diversion results. Of the 515 overall dump truck loads of materials, 225 loads of concrete were separated out and hauled to the Front Range to a facility that can use the materials in the production of new concrete. In addition, 70 dump truck loads of steel were collected to be recycled through Axis Steel. The 220 loads of waste were transported to the landfill at Milner. The plaza concrete pavers will be removed and hauled to the Front Range for recycling.

Since many of the long-term resort employees have fond memories of working in the now-demolished buildings, the sustainability team is working with Solar Flare Glassworks & Design in downtown Steamboat to repurpose glass from building windows to create commemorative, glass-blown Christmas ornaments.

More information on the redevelopment project can be found at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.