Steamboat Ski Area renews ties with former Japanese owner; offers lift tickets at Rusutsu to pass holders
Steamboat Springs — The news on Sept. 30 that Rusutsu Resort in Japan and Steamboat Ski Area have formed an alliance to extend complimentary lift tickets with lodging purchases to their respective season pass holders must have inspired a case of deja vu in longtime Steamboat skiers.
Some may even recall the snowy day in 1992, when Kimihito Kamori, principle of Rusutsu Resort and leader of Kamori International and Kamori Kanko Ltd., presided over the grand opening of the Storm Peak Express chairlift in Steamboat. Kamori Kanko Ltd. owned Steamboat Ski Area at the time, but later sold the resort.
A news release announcing the new collaboration quotes Steamboat Ski Area President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman as saying “Steamboat has a rich history with Kamori International and Rusutsu Resort dating back to the late 1980s.”
But the Steamboat news release doesn’t mention Kamori Kanko Ltd, purchased the ski area from Northwest Colorado Ski Corp, headed by the late Martin Hart, in 1989 and continued to own it here until 1997, when it sold the resort to American Skiing Company for more than $100 million.”
Perlman and Kamori celebrated the new marketing alliance during a recent ceremony in Sapporo, Japan. They had connected while traveling on United Airline’s direct flight between Denver and Tokyo. The complimentary lift ticket offer is for a ticket for every lodging night at a resort-owned property up to seven. There are no blackouts at either resort.
Perhaps coincidental to the new alliance between Rusutsu and Steamboat is the news that Sheraton Steamboat Resort owner Starwood Hotels & Resorts is set to become the management firm for the new 210-room Westin Rusutsu Resort hotel set to open in December.
“We look forward to a continued partnership with Starwood, a strategic move to elevate our existing hospitality and leisure business,” Kamori was quoted as saying in an August news release. “We are confident that the globally-renowned Westin brand will further strengthen Rusutsu as one of the most popular resorts in Hokkaido and Asia Pacific.”
During its tenure, Kamori Kanko Ltd. brought significant on-hill capital improvements to Steamboat, including Storm Peak Express and Sundown Express, a pair of high-speed quad chairlifts. As well, it was during the Kamori era that chutes Two and Three and Christmas Tree Bowl were opened for skiing. The modern Rendezvous Saddle restaurant (just remodeled last summer) opened in 1990 on the big dogleg in the High Noon Trail.
In 2015, the hope among the two resort operators on opposite sides of the Pacific is that the 21st century relationship between Rusutsu and Steamboat will be a two-way street, with Steamboat season pass holders enticed to ski on the Japanese island of Hokkaido and stay in the new Westin, and Japanese skiers tempted to try skiing in the Rocky Mountains by the availability of the non-stop United flight from Denver International to Tokyo’s Narita Airport,.
The Starwood release about the Westin Rusutsu says the hotel will offer three restaurants, and among its rooms are suites offering seven beds to accommodate groups and large families.
The release also describes Kamori Kanko Ltd. as being among the largest tourism and leisure companies in Japan, operating more than 30 companies worldwide.
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Michael Egan was returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last Saturday, Jan 22, after hitting the slopes in Steamboat Springs, but, as his flight accelerated toward takeoff, something wasn’t right.