Steamboat Resort announces project to redesign Gondola Square, submits plans to city

Renderings of the proposed changes to the base area of Steamboat Resort. (Courtesy image)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. on Wednesday made its plans official to redevelop Gondola Square into a multi-use plaza with additional restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues. The project is slated to break ground in April.

“This is the biggest proposed project since the resort first opened in 1963, and it will benefit visitors and the entire Yampa Valley community, which have been so supportive of the resort through the years,” Ski Corp. President and COO Rob Perlman said.

Ski Corp. also has applied for a permit from the city of Steamboat Springs to move the gondola terminal 300 feet east out onto the base of the mountain, specifically over Burgess Creek onto the snow where the magic carpets are now.

Loryn Duke, Ski Corp. director of communications, said this move would allow the current gondola building to be redesigned to provide other amenities. The group has not decided what specifically those amenities could be, but Duke said they could include an ice rink, communal gathering spaces, outdoor seating and fire pits.

“The reimagined plaza, in combination with exciting on-mountain projects, solves long-overdue needs for Steamboat’s base area,” Perlman said. “We are thrilled that our parent company, Alterra Mountain Co., recognizes the importance of investing in, and reimagining, the future of Steamboat Ski Resort and supports this incredible multi-year investment.”

Duke said the resort plans to begin construction on the project in April after the end of the ski season. The Christie Peak chairlift would run instead of the gondola for the summer.

“This has been a long time in the making for Steamboat,” Duke said. “It has long been recognized that our base area is dated, and it’s not very accommodating to our staff and our guests.”

The buildings around the new plaza will include a combination of resort-owned and independently-owned restaurants and retail outlets, as well as additional lodging options. Plans also call for the elimination of multiple levels of stairs to provide easier access to the base area plus more open space and an expanded plaza area adjacent to the snow.

Improvements are anticipated to occur over the next three years.

East West Partners has been selected to work on the project with the resort, according to Bryan Elliott, Alterra’s chief development officer. The company has offices in Denver, Vail and Snowmass as well as Deer Valley, Charleston and Kauai. Some of its major projects include Beaver Creek Villages, the Viceroy Residences Snowmass and the Union Station neighborhood in Denver.

Ski Corp. submitted its proposal to the city Wednesday, but Duke said the resort and its development partners have worked closely with the city up until this point.

Renderings of the proposed changes to the base area of Steamboat Resort. (Courtesy image)

“Redevelopment of Steamboat’s base area has been on the community’s wish list for a long time,” Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter said. “City staff looks forward to working with the high-quality team selected for this project as it moves through the development review process and becomes reality.”

Bob Keenan, Steamboat principal planner overseeing the relocation of the gondola, said the project would increase the out-of-base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour.

“These new projects complement those that have long been at the top of Steamboat’s wish list, and now, we are taking steps to obtain the necessary analysis, reviews and approval to be ready to move forward when the time is right,” Perlman said in an announcement about the overall project in July.

Renderings of the proposed changes to the base area of Steamboat Resort. (Courtesy image)

The redevelopment of Gondola Square is part of Ski Corp.’s larger master development plan, which is set to include multiple trail, lift, facility and activity upgrades, according to the resort’s website.

“To be able to have our master plan development vision be in the initial phases of becoming a reality is an extremely exciting opportunity,” Duke said. “It’s going to change the face of Steamboat but not the heart of Steamboat, and it’s a much anticipated necessary change.”

Duke said current renderings filed with the city and published with this article are conceptual and subject to change as the project moves through the city’s planning process.

According to Duke, Ski Corp. does not yet have cost estimates available for the project.

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