Steamboat Resort’s new owners ‘evaluating’ need to upgrade base area
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman confirmed Friday that the new ownership group is actively evaluating the need to upgrade the dated facilities at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
“I’m very confident we’re going to have new resources we haven’t had in previous years,” Perlman told a gathering of community members at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs.
Perlman was alluding to the acquisition of Steamboat Resort along with the other Intrawest resorts earlier this year by the Henry Crown and Co., owners of the Aspen ski resorts, and KSL Capital Partners, LLC, a private equity firm that owns and operates Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in the Lake Tahoe region.
In response to a question from audience member Ken Brenner, who serves on the CMC board, Perlman acknowledged that the base of the ski area is overdue for a contemporary makeover.
“Unfortunately, our base area is a bit outdated, and that’s being kind,” Perlman said. “It’s needed an upgrade, and it’s not what we want it to be.”
The resort’s press kit reflects that Gondola Square underwent a $600,000 renovation in 1986 followed by more upgrades in 1991 and 1992. The new elevated terrace outside Bear River restaurant was built in 2010. Gondola Square received heated pavers for the first time in 2011, the same year the permanent performance stage was built.
Perlman said the need to upgrade the base area is made more urgent by the fact that virtually all of the skiers and riders who access the ski area’s 2,965 acres of terrain must pass through Gondola Square at the beginning and end of the day.
“We’re a one-portal ski area,” Perlman said.
He also acknowledged the acquisitions by Crown/KSL — the new ownership group has yet to settle on a corporate name — represent a strategic move to counter the rising dominance of Vail Resorts Epic Pass, which allows skiers to acquire unlimited skiing privileges at 15 resorts.
But in response to a question, Perlman said it would be premature to say that a new, super, multi-resort pass for the resorts under the umbrella of Crown/KSL will be available for the 2018-19 ski season.
With the acquisition of Steamboat along with the other Intrawest Resorts, as well as Squaw/Alpine and Mammoth Mountain, with other smaller resorts in California, the new ownership immediately made it clear the existing multi-resort loyalty programs at each resort would remain in place for 2017-18.
Perlman said this week that discussions on creating a new multi-resort pass are taking place but added the details of unwinding erch resort’s existing relationships is complex.
He also said that in time, Steamboat’s relationship with the California resorts that are part of the new resort group, not just Mammoth, Squaw and Alpine Meadows, but also smaller resorts like June Mountain, Big Bear and Snow Summit, have the potential to feed skiers to Steamboat through its direct flights from San Diego, which increase to three days a week this year, and daily flights from Los Angeles.
The same is true, Perlman said, of the Saturday-only flights to Steamboat from San Francisco, which have become an important means of tapping into international skiers in spite of the limited service.
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