Steamboat skier gets a cold feeling after resort removes public microwave oven from Thunderhead Lodge
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In addition to good skiing conditions, longtime Steamboat skier Chuck Carpenter really wants a Sharp microwave oven returned to Steamboat Ski Area’s Thunderhead Lodge this ski season.
Carpenter said Thursday the recently-vanquished appliance up on the mountain meant a lot to brown-baggers like himself who like to pack their own lunches and also save some money on the ski slopes.
He claims the resort made an “unfortunate” decision to remove the public microwave from mid-mountain this ski season.
“I use it every day when I’m up there,” Carpenter said of the microwave, which Carpenter said disappeared from the lodge at the start of this ski season after sitting in the Thunderhead cafeteria for 20 to 30 years. “It’s an amenity. It’s something that enhances my skiing experience. On any given day, sometimes it’s so popular you have to wait five minutes to use it. It does get pretty constant use.”
Carpenter said he was told by employees at Thunderhead the microwave was removed due to the maintenance required to keep it clean and also as an “economic” decision.
“I talked to a couple of manager types. One of them said it was above his pay grade,” Carpenter said. “One reason they gave was it’s messy, and it blows up. Sometimes, people do have accidents up there, but I’ve seen people clean it up.”
Rob Spence, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s vice president of food and beverage, said the resort relocated the public microwave out of Thunderhead Lodge down to the base of the ski area “to focus on providing high quality efficiency for guests utilizing our on-mountain food courts and restaurants.”
The microwave is now next to the lost-and-found area in the gondola building at the bottom of the mountain.
“This location also provides tables and bathrooms,” Spence wrote in an email to Carpenter. “We understand our guest’s interest in bringing their own lunches to the mountain, and we are happy to accommodate them in this new location.”
Carpenter said he regularly used the microwave to heat up chili, lasagna and taquitos while he was up on the mountain.
He wasn’t pleased with the change of location.
“I’m on vacation so I’m not there (at Thunderhead) to spend $25” on a lunch, he said.
He added that while he often cooked his own food, he did purchase other supplementary items from the cafeteria.
Without the microwave, he says he’s not going to climb the three flights of stairs up to the cafeteria to take a break at Thunderhead anymore.
It isn’t unusual for ski resorts in Colorado to offer guests amenities on the mountain that allow them to cook their own meals for free even next to the restaurants.
At Loveland, skiers and riders have access to propane grills at the warming huts on the mountain. The cafeterias also have microwave ovens the public can use just like the one that used to reside in Thunderhead.
“A lot of people will bring food up to cook, especially in the springtime,” Loveland Ski Area spokesman John Sellers said Friday.
Sellers added the resort actively encourages the use of the grills to alleviate the crowds that sometimes mob the cafeteria.
“If it clears up a little more space in the cafeteria, that’s great,” he said.
Carpenter said he’s not losing any sleep over the loss of the microwave.
“But maybe there’s more people than just me” who want it back, he said.
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Editor’s note: The story was updated at 8:33 p.m.