STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO- Yesterday, Alterra Mountain Company announced plans to invest $223 million in capital improvements across its 15 North American mountain destinations for the upcoming year. For Steamboat that includes 355 acres of new terrain in the Pioneer Ridge area, upgrades to snowmaking and snowcat fleets, a remodel of Hazie’s restaurant and an expansion at the resort’s employee housing location The Ponds, all with a focus on sustainability.
Pioneer Ridge Expansion
For the first time in more than 20 years, Steamboat will make an additional 355 acres of terrain accessible when the resort boundary extends into the Pioneer Ridge area, north of resort’s current boundary. Pioneer Ridge will feature advanced/expert, mostly aspen, lodge pole pine and spruce tree terrain with 1800 vertical feet, accessible via the Pony Express lift. Twenty-five new chairs will be added to the line of Pony Express lift, increasing lift capacity from 1200 people per hour to 1800. Additionally, a new Ski Patrol duty station will replace the existing yurt, providing easy access for resort resources to the area, and a new access road will provide a hike out return to Pony Express, or guests may hike back up to BC Ski Way to return to the resort. The expansion increases Steamboats acreage to 3,320 acres, a 12 percent increase in total skiable acres, making Steamboat the third largest resort in Colorado.
“Pioneer Ridge is a game changer for Steamboat,” said Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “While we have always been known as an intermediate paradise, this expansion will provide the Champagne Powder® snow we are known for in more steep, advance/expert terrain, meeting a need long expressed by our locals and our visiting guests. Some of our dedicated locals have been getting fresh tracks in this area for years. By bringing it in to the resort’s boundary we can offer Patrol services in the area, creating a safer experience.”
Named for the matriarch of the Werner family, Hazie’s restaurant at the top of the Gondola in Thunderhead Lodge will get a complete makeover for the first time since opening in 1986. Upon entering the reimagined restaurant, guests will be greeted with ski/snowboard boot check, so they can relax in comfort while they dine. Capitalizing on the incredible views of the Yampa Valley and the town of Steamboat, the newly designed Hazie’s will feature a variety of seating styles, a larger lounge and bar area, a wine cellar featuring an expanded wine list and new lighting and carpet. The menu at Hazie’s will reflect the Werner matriarch’s love of bringing people together by emphasizing gathering with friends and family through food with shared plates, lifestyle cuisine, crafted cocktails, a bar menu and more. For dinner at Hazie’s, the menu shifts from a pre-fixed four course meal to ala carte options, appealing to every diner’s taste. Hazie’s will continue to utilize locally sourced products when possible, supporting the resort’s sustainability efforts.
On Mountain Operations Upgrades
Snowmaking: Steel snowmaking pipelines on Lower Valley View trail will be replaced with the most efficient and resilient product on the market, Ductile pipe. This will increase the resort’s available hydrants by 25 percent allowing more coverage on snowmaking trails in less time.
Snowcats/snowmobile fleet: Steamboat continues to upgrade its grooming fleet with the addition of three new Prinoth snow groomers, a Bison and two Beasts. The Prinoth Bison is a versatile snowcat that combines optical maneuverability with low fuel consumption and is the most popular park vehicle around. The Prinoth Beast, the world’s largest snow groomer, outperforms all other snow groomers with a 40 percent larger grooming capacity. The new machines replace one previous groomer and add two new ones to the resort’s fleet, allowing crews to groom additional terrain and tackle the resort’s most popular groomed trains with the highest quality of corduroy.
Southwest Airlines has announced intention to serve the Steamboat Springs airport (HDN) with winter flights expected to begin December 2020 with nonstop service from Denver. This will mark Southwest’s first foray into a mountain specific destination.
“We are thrilled about Southwest Airlines’ intent to serve Steamboat into HDN starting winter 2020/21,” Said Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “What an ideal partner to bring more skiers and riders to experience Steamboat’s famous Champagne Powder® snow. Southwest’s world-renowned hospitality is perfectly aligned with Steamboat’s genuine western hospitality, and we’re excited to welcome their loyal customers to our magical mountain destination.”
Southwest will release additional information about schedules and fares in the coming months.
During its first year as a department, Sustainability Director Sarah Jones has reviewed the resorts practices to begin to identify short- and long-term opportunities. An official resort audit will be the next big step for the department in the coming years, to allow for strategic goal setting and long-term planning.
The resort’s approach to Sustainability is three pronged, focusing on the planet, people and prosperity. In its inaugural year, Jones focused on community engagement and internal employee engagement, with a goal of helping resort staff and local community members to understand what practices and support the resort currently undertakes. To bring awareness to the Steamboat community, Jones has participated in numerous committees such as the countywide Climate Action Plan steering committee, statewide Recycle Colorado Policy Committee and Yampa Valley Conservation Partnership Advisory Committee; and open forums including panels about snowmaking and wildfire mitigation. Jones works with Yampatika and birding groups to address environmental education on the mountain and continues to plan future events allowing guests, locals and staff to peak behind the curtain to see how Steamboat Ski Resort operates with a focus on sustainability.
Internally, Jones works with individual departments to identify opportunities to create and achieve sustainability goals, including increasing waste diversion; offering electric vehicle charging stations, creating effective climate adaption plans and identifying recycling, composting and solar installation opportunities.
Looking ahead, the Sustainability department will explore renewable energy possibilities, identify new technology for addressing food waste and work with state and federal stakeholders to study alternative transportation opportunities.