What’s going on at the Steamboat Resort base area?
More details emerge on food hall, ice rink, stage coming to Steamboat Square
The Steamboat Resort base area is once again a construction zone as Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. continues with its multi-year, $200 million Full Steam Ahead project.
The work going on this summer is considered the second phase out of three and meant to revolutionize the resort.
“We’ve kind of had this feeling in the base area, which is come to our ski resort and get the heck out of it and get on the mountain,” said Loryn Duke, director of communications. “There’s no reason to hang out in the base area. It’s congested, we have a restaurant over here, but get up on the mountain. We want people to actually spend time in the base area.”
When phase two is complete, the base area will be revamped and have far more open space and things to do.
The food hall
This summer, the base area, renamed Steamboat Square, is seeing rapid changes as Skeeter’s Ice Rink, the Range Food Hall and a new stage area take shape.
Rising from the concrete block that used to be the gondola building and offices is the skeleton of The Range Food Hall. The two-story building will have four food options and resemble market-like eateries that are popping up around the world.
The four options will be Sunshine Bowl Ramen, Pioneer Pie, Twister Tacos and the Why Not Sweet Shop, according to the resort. Additionally, there will be an indoor-outdoor bar with seating on the first level. The second level will be a dedicated bar with seating indoors and fireplaces outdoors.
The Range isn’t expected to be ready by opening day, but should open some time during the winter of 2022-23.
The ice rink
Next to the food hall will be Skeeter’s Ice Rink, named after Gladys ‘Skeeter’ Werner, who was an Olympic Alpine skier and started the Steamboat Ski School. She died in 2001 at age 67.
“What I love about it,” Duke said of the incoming ice rink, “is Skeeter is our underrepresented Werner,” being the sister of Buddy Werner and the daughter of Hazie.
The rink won’t be the standard hockey rink size of 200 feet by 85 feet, but it’ll still be large at 133 by 58 feet. Instead of boards or solid walls, the rink will be surrounded by open rails.
“Outside of the ice rink, there will even be some ‘drink rails,’ where spectators can watch the activity in the ice rink while sipping on hot chocolate or their beverage of choice, of course,” the project’s website states.
In the summer, the space will be converted to a grassy area where people can enjoy yoga, lawn games or outdoor movies.
The rink will be equipped with a cooling system, so hours will not be dependent on Mother Nature.
Expected to open in the upcoming winter season, the sheet of ice will be available to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Users may bring their own skates to utilize the space for free, or hockey and figure skates will be available for rent from a kiosk made from a converted horse trailer.
Even with all the changes, the resort is trying to hold onto its Western, rural charm.
“We have one of the strongest brands in the industry,” Duke said. “You see a barn, you think Steamobat. You see snow, you think Steamboat. … What’s really important to us is recognizing we’re a little bit outdated, but how do we stay true to our heritage and to our roots, which is such an important part of who we are and what this community is, but how we do we also modernize and move into the future.”
Also new to Steamboat Square will be a new stage area, although many people might not even notice it. Gone is the bulky, permanent stage that forced concert-goers to stare off in an odd direction. Now, a raised platform will serve as the event space and allow onlookers to enjoy the full view of the mountain while taking in a show.
Additionally, when a band isn’t playing, the space can be used for games or dining.
“It just becomes multi-use,” Duke said. “And, people want to see the mountain. That’s why they’re here. It’s pretty.”
Additionally, Preview lift has been removed and Christie Peak Express is being shifted to make room for the first leg of the Wild Blue Gondola, which will take people to the new Greenhorn Ranch learning area. Both are expected to be open this winter.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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