Sounds of bowling return to Steamboat as Snow Bowl reopens lanes

The lanes at the Snow Bowl Steamboat have been silent since COVID-19 shut the business down in March. The owners of the business announced they will be reopening for bowling on July 25.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The rumble of bowling balls and the sound of falling pins returns as Snow Bowl Steamboat invites the public back for bowling for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“We wanted to make sure we were responsible as we reopen,” said Corey Wagner, executive vice president of Western Centers, which owns Snow Bowl. “There were overwhelming requests for us to reopen bowling, but we didn’t want to cave into the pressure and do it the wrong way. We want to make sure we do it properly and right.”

He said the staff has been taking calls for several months from people wondering when the lanes would reopen. He said the bowling center is implementing many new procedures, including sanitizing balls between guests, to make sure experience is safe.

“I think it was the end of June or the beginning of July where we were provided with some guidance so that we could reopen,” Wagner said. “We feel like we’re an important part of the community, and we want to continue to be an important part of the community and be responsible and safe not only for our employees but also our customers.”

Starting on Monday customers can go online at and make reservations for bowling. The center will only use every other lane, and there will be a six-person maximum on the lane and all members of the group must be from the same household. In order to make sure lanes are properly sanitized after each group, all reservations will be for two hours. The staff will sanitize the commonly touched surfaces and balls between parties.

Wagner said customers can rent shoes, which have always been disinfected after each use. A range of ball sizes and weights will be left on each lane, but customers will not be able to choose balls the same way they did prior to COVID-19. They will need to find a good fit among the balls that are located on their lane. Bowlers who have their own shoes and ball are welcome to bring those.

During the shutdown, Snow Bowl provided free, daily meals for those who found themselves out of work. From March 23 to June 7, the bowling center provided more than 20,000 meals to those in need as part of its Family Bowl program.

Snow Bowl transitioned back to a for-profit model June 24 when Chef Pete List rolled out a new barbecue menu, which is served outside on the front lawn. Wagner said drinks will be available inside, but food will only be served outside at this point.

Snow Bowl could have brought back bowling before the Fourth of July weekend, but management wanted to take a step back to look at the safest and best way to return to the lanes.

“We intentionally avoided July Fourth, because with a lot of the tourists coming into town, we didn’t feel that that was the right way to reopen,” Wagner said.

Wagner said customers will need to wear masks when they are entering or leaving the Snow Bowl and when they leave the lanes to go to the restroom or order a drink at the bar.

“Our staff will be wearing masks both inside and outside,” Wagner said.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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