What will the last week of the season look like at Steamboat Resort? | SteamboatToday.com

What will the last week of the season look like at Steamboat Resort?

A guide to weather, closures, transportation and more

People enjoy a warm spring day at Steamboat Resort on Friday, April 7, 2023.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the accurate closing day of some lifts at Steamboat Resort.

For the first time in 30 years, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. extended its season by a week when it announced it would close on April 16. So while it’s not uncharted territory, it is unfamiliar for many.

The flights have tapered off, buses are switching to summer schedules and restaurants and lifts are closing. However, occupancy is up.

With lots of sunshine, a little bit of snow and a big birthday celebration on tap, the last week of the season in Steamboat Springs is set to be a great one.

“I think the last week of the season is going to be really fun for anyone who comes up because conditions are going to be fabulous, and there’s not going to be a lot of people skiing and riding. It’s just that time of year,” said Loryn Duke, director of communications for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. “Not as many destination visitors are coming in, and a lot of locals have moved on to spring activities, so it’s a really fun time to take advantage of the mountain.”

Transportation and occupancy

When Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. announced the extension of the season, airlines opted not to follow suit. The winter flight schedule was as big as ever in 2022-23 with 22 flights servicing Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

“No adjustment was made to my knowledge by any of the airlines based on the ski corporation announcement of staying open a week longer,” said Airport Director Kevin Booth. “I don’t want to speak for the airlines, but I don’t think we expected them to extend flights beyond that.”

United and JetBlue wrapped up their winter service to the Hayden airport on March 26, and Delta and American followed on Sunday, April 2, and Monday, April 3, respectively. The final flights on the winter schedule conclude Sunday, April 9, with Southwest and United’s final winter flights.

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The summer schedule begins Monday, April 10, with two United and one Southwest flight coming in from Denver daily.

The decline in people coming through the airport in West Routt is dramatic. Last year, January, February and March averaged 40,000 enplanements, or people departing the airport, while April had about 9,000. Booth expects a similar drop this year and added this winter could eclipse the 2021-22 season’s record enplanements.

Despite the flights coming into Hayden dropping dramatically this weekend, projected occupancy for the week is up, according to the Steamboat Chamber.

Projected occupancy for Steamboat Springs shows a 1% increase between late March and late May, with a noticeable increase between April 4 to April 16, the extended week of ski season.
Steamboat Springs Chamber/Courtesy photo

According to the latest report, projected occupancy from March 29 to May 28 is about 13.7%, about 1% higher than the same period in 2022. The report also shows that 2023 projected occupancy is higher than 2022 on all dates between April 3 and April 17. 

Also, anyone who purchased an Ikon Pass for next winter can use it the week of April 10-16.

The city also opted not to alter its bus schedule, transitioning to its summer schedule on Monday. 

Lifts and restaurant closures

Skiers take a break from skiing outside Steamboat Resort’s Four Points Lodge.
Matt Stensland/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Unsurprisingly, some lifts at Steamboat Resort have already stopped turning. Bar-U-E and Pony Express were closed in early April, which is standard for the somewhat redundant lifts. 

“(Those) are easy for us to close down because all the terrain is still accessible,” Duke said. “Pony is hike-to and everything on Bar-U-E is still accessible from other lifts. This is the time of year with our J-1 employees, they start to go home. Naturally, our staffing numbers go down, so we adjust accordingly.”

The resort will continue to adjust over the next week and close Sunshine, Four Points, Morningside, Wild Blue Gondola, Greenhorn Ranch Express and Thunderhead on Monday, April 10, Duke said. The entire Greenhorn Ranch learning area will also close.

Four Points, Thunderhead, Stoker and Timber Torch are all expected to be open through closing week, according to Duke, but they might have limited operations and hours are subject to change.

People should check the Steamboat Resort app and website for the most updated information through the week.

Some establishments in the base area will also shutter before the season officially ends. Cafe Diva is closing on Sunday, as will Truffle Pig and the Gondola Pub and Grill. Los Locos will close on Saturday. Others might also close and people looking for an après meal should have a backup plan. 

“The last week, it just drops off as soon as the flights stop and it kind of trickles. It’s not worth it,” said owner Scott Engelman. “But Carl’s Tavern, my other business, I do keep open. It’s downtown, there’s more foot traffic.”

Cafe Diva is one of a few locations at the base of Steamboat Resort that is closing before the season ends.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Engelman closes Truffle Pig a week early every year, but the restaurant slated to stay open until closing day this year, until the resort extended the season. 

The restaurant group that owns Cafe Diva and Ore House at Pine Grove follows a similar model, shutting the doors at their mountain restaurant, while maintaining business downtown. 

Cafe Diva will reopen in May, and Truffle Pig will be back in mid-June, and Engelmen will look to continue what’s been a record year. 

“Our business is up exponentially over the past year,” he said. “Third week of March was our best in the history of the restaurant.”

Weather and events

A skier carves through the snow at Steamboat Resort on Saturday, March 11, 2023. With snowfall recorded on Thursday, March 23, the resort surpassed 400 inches.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

What everyone wants to know is what spring skiing will look like ahead of closing day.

As of Friday, April 7, the resort had recorded 442 inches and mid-mountain had a base greater than 80 inches as well. Last year, mid-mountain had a base of 51 inches on closing day. There still is hope that 450 inches could fall on the resort this year.

Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said the next week will showcase spring in Colorado, with unseasonable warmth paired with a chance of flurries.

This weekend will likely be cloudy and could result in showers Saturday evening, said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website SnowAlarm.com

Most of the final week of the season is going to be warm, though, with above-average temperatures.

“It looks like three or four days of gorgeous springtime weather from Monday through Wednesday and possibly Thursday,” Weissbluth said. “Probably with highs in the 60s.”

Closing weekend is hard to guess, as it’s still a week away, but a storm near the Aleutian Islands south of Alaska could strengthen and bring snow.

“It does look like we get some sort of winter weather around Friday, Saturday or Sunday,” Weissbluth said. “As nice as it’s going to be, that does look like it’s going to come to an end. … I’m just not quite sure how that’s going to happen yet.”

While the free concerts conclude this Sunday, the resort is pulling one very special event together before the final whistle rings out on April 16. 

Director of Skiing and local legend Billy Kidd will celebrate his 80th birthday on Thursday, April 13, and everyone can join the party with a run down Heavenly Daze at 1 p.m. followed by a champagne toast and cupcakes.

Those interested should meet at the large trail map at the top of the Steamboat Gondola. Kidd will guide the run, weather depending, while offering pointers on how to be an Olympian.

Steamboat Springs skier and former Olympic silver medalist Billy Kidd.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

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