Steamboat Resort gets final Forest Service approval for additional lifts, expanded terrain

The U.S. Forest Service recently released its final record of decision for an environmental impact statement related to Steamboat Resort’s improvement plans. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort has gotten final approval from the U.S. Forest Service to proceed with some major improvements, but is still unclear when the ski area’s parent company will fund the projects.

“We’re trying to do it as quickly as possible,” Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Rob Perlman said. “That said, there are other resorts in the Alterra Mountain Company, and there are other priorities, and we’re trying to state our case on why we should do it quickly, and our goal is to do it as soon as we can.”

The Forest Service recently released its final record of decision for an environmental impact statement related to the ski area’s improvement plans. Steamboat Resort began the formal process of getting permission from the Forest Service in August 2016.

The combined improvements would represent the biggest investment in the ski area in recent history.

A new lift would be installed to service 355 acres at Pioneer Ridge that are currently accessed through backcountry gates. A bridge and ski way would be built to guide skiers back to the BC Ski Way trail.

Improvements at the adjacent Pony Express area would include snowmaking and a new trail to bring skiers to the Storm Peak Express lift.

The second main project area aims to create more beginner terrain and relocate ski school operations to the Rough Rider and Bashor Bowl areas.

A new gondola at the base area would take beginner skiers to the Rough Rider Learning Center. A new restaurant would be built, and a new lift would replace the existing Bashor lift. The plan calls for relocating the Maverick half-pipe currently located in the Bashor area.

Perlman said the company has not decided whether the Bashor or Pioneer Ridge projects is the top priority.

“They’re both important projects,” Perlman said. “We’re trying to figure out the timing when it comes to the other projects we’re working on.”

The ski area did some work this summer to build a new road northwest of the Lariat trail that will give workers better access to the Pony Express area.

“It’s part of the bigger picture for us to go into the area with expanded skiing,” ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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