Work begins to transform base area at Steamboat Resort
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Things are normally pretty quiet around the base area of Steamboat Resort this time of year, but a lot has happened since the ski area closed following the 2020-21 season.
“They are putting up the fencing, and we’re just kind of clearing the area,” said Maren Franciosi, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. communications manager. “Last week was tear-down week, where they were plowing snow at the base area to get it out of the way to make work easier.”
In addition, movers are clearing out the old gondola building in preparation for its demolition, and Doppelmayr crews are busy preparing the lower terminal for the gondola move, which will be one of the first projects completed as part of a planned base area renovation.
“I believe they’ve taken all the cars off, or they will be doing that soon, and will continue moving toward getting the terminal ready for deconstruction,” Franciosi said.
The preparation work happening now lays the groundwork for a larger project that will transform Gondola Square into a multi-use, amenity-rich plaza, complete with additional dining, après ski experiences, retail, entertainment and a gathering place for guests to enjoy year-round.
“The big thing we’re super excited about is the arrival experience,” Franciosi said. “Right now, when you come to the resort, it can be a little confusing to make your way down to ski school if you have never been there before. The fact that we’re going to have this new escalator bringing guests down into the square is going to make such a difference, and people will know exactly where to go, and it’s going be great.”
For updates and progress go to Steamboat.com/base-area-redevelopment
Right now, most of the fencing is still open, but Franciosi expects that to change this week. She said those visiting the mountain should expect to see construction activity increase over the next week, but she wasn’t sure when heavy equipment will start changing the base area landscape. However, she said demolition of the gondola and the ski school building is likely still more than a month away.
“We’ve completely cleared out the lockers, and the big gondola building is cleared out and then also the ski school building that’s coming down as well,” Franciosi said. “So that’s crazy, I mean, there are years, decades, of history in those buildings.”
This summer marks the start of Steamboat Resort’s three-year, $135 million base area redevelopment and on-mountain improvement plan.
In addition to this summer’s base area projects, other improvements will unfold over the next three years, including the addition of 650 acres of advanced terrain in the Pioneer Ridge area, which is still pending additional approvals. Those improvements will include installing the first leg of a new Wild Blue Gondola that will provide access to a new Ski School area in the current Bashor Bowl. Steamboat’s trail map will expand by nearly 20% for a total of 3,620 acres, making Steamboat the second largest ski area in Colorado.
“We are all very excited to move full steam ahead into the future but also embracing what this change brings, because there are some people who have been in their offices for decades, so it’s a big thing,” Franciosi said.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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