Steamboat Resort applies for permit to move location of base gondola terminal

Nathan Renner gives a thumbs up on Opening Day of the 2020-21 ski season at Steamboat Resort. Renner and his buddies showed up before 5 a.m. to get in line for the first ride up the gondola. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As part of its master plan development, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. has applied for a permit with the Steamboat Springs Planning and Community Development Department to move the base terminal of the gondola 300 feet east out onto the base of the mountain, specifically over Burgess Creek onto the snow where the magic carpets are now.

The gondola terminal will consist of the terminal itself, an operator cabin for the gondola, a platform for queuing, an elevator and pathway for freight and mechanical space for snow-melting in the queuing platform, according to a development plan submitted to the city from Ski Corp.

Bob Keenan, Steamboat principal planner overseeing the project’s approval, said this would not change on-foot or vehicular traffic since the terminal would only move 300 feet and would not be on a city road.

Because the project is an administrative matter, Steamboat Springs City Council does not need to approve it, and the city’s Planning Commission will not hold a formal meeting to discuss, but Keenan said he invites anyone with questions or concerns to contact him at

“It’s not a huge deal, but it’s also certainly not nothing,” Keenan said.

The city also has sent written letters to those living in the area.

“The project frees up space for guests to transition through and around the plaza and allows for other activities to take place in the plaza itself,” the development plan states. “The terminal relocation enhances the activity at the base by moving the gondola function.”

While the gondola will be moved across Burgess Creek, the project will not require any additional landscaping, such as a bridge, to the creek.

Ski Corp. Director of Communications Loryn Duke said the project is the first phase of the resort’s plan to build a new Wild Blue gondola, which would be the longest eight-person gondola in North America. This gondola would be built in the Bashor Bowl area as part of a plan to relocate the resort’s ski school there.

“This will address base area congestion and feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor Bowl with the final destination at the top of Sunshine Peak,” the resort’s website states.

The current plan also considers creating a mid-station at the previously approved top terminal and extending the gondola to the new end destination near the top terminal of the Sundown Express chairlift with an additional length of 11,939 feet.

Keenan said the project would increase the out-of-base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, which he believes would be helpful as more people visit Steamboat Resort each year.

“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,” Ski Corp. President and COO Rob Perlman said in an announcement of the overall project in July.

Keenan said the city does not anticipate any impact to existing vegetation in the area.

“Any disturbed area will be revegetated within one year or by the next growing season, whichever is sooner,” Keenan said.

Though the permit is still under review, Keenan said Ski Corp. told the city they’d like to begin construction on the project in April.

Duke said Ski Corp. does not yet know the cost of the project.

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