STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO — Nearly 20 inches of snow fell at Steamboat Ski Resort over the last four days and more than 50 inches in the month of December so far. Combined with snowmaking efforts, the recent storm sets Steamboat up to open more terrain and officially debut the completed Wild Blue Gondola at a public celebration on Friday, December 15.
North America’s longest and fastest gondola will take skiers and riders from Steamboat Square, past the Greenhorn Ranch mid-station to the top of Sunshine Peak at 10,384 feet, on a 13-minute ride and will change the way skiers and riders access Steamboat Ski Resort’s most popular terrain. Wild Blue is a unique machine as it has the ability to operate as one continuous ride, or two separate machines minimizing the impacts of weather; for example, the lower section can operate independently if winds are too high at the top of the mountain. All in, Wild Blue Gondola is 171 cabins spanning 16,000 horizontal feet and 3,371 vertical feet.
The resort will celebrate the completion of Wild Blue Gondola with a grand opening at 9:00 am on Friday, December 15, at the lower terminal adjacent to Steamboat Square. There will be videos of the construction progress, a ribbon cutting, and a countdown. At the new top terminal of Wild Blue Gondola, guests will be greeted with free cookies and commemorative Wild Blue gifts, while supplies last. A lift ticket and ski or snowboard equipment are necessary for riding Wild Blue Gondola to the top; foot passengers with a paid ticket are allowed to ride to Greenhorn Ranch mid-station.
In preparation for Wild Blue Gondola debut, the resort will open the Sunshine Peak area of the mountain, including four lifts and 21 trails on Wednesday, December 13. Sunshine, Sundown, South Peak, and Elkhead will serve as access to trails including High Noon, One O’Clock, Two O’Clock, Westside, Rolex, and Closets and Shadow to Duster.
Steamboat’s popular First Tracks program will begin for the season on Saturday, December 16, utilizing the new Wild Blue Gondola for early access to the Sunshine Peak area of the mountain. First Tracks guests will now load Wild Blue Gondola between 8:00–8:15 am, with the most direct access to the top of the mountain, ahead of the resort’s official Steamboat Gondola and Christie Peak Express lift opening time of 8:30 am. Wild Blue Gondola will then close to accommodate SnowSports School and re-open to the public at 9:00 am.
With the additional 600 acres and 5 lifts opening this week, the resort will be 30 percent open, with more than 60 trails, 16 lifts, and 1,100 acres. As conditions allow, crews will continue to open terrain and lifts. Skiers and riders should be aware of tree wells and keep a safe distance from the base of trees in this newly opened area. Skiers and riders also need to obey all closed signs, as natural hazards exist in areas that remain closed.
For real-time updates on lifts and trails visit steamboat.com or the Steamboat mobile app.
Photo courtesy of Steamboat Resort
“This is what everyone has been waiting for,” said Dave Hunter, resort lead for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “The game changer that Wild Blue is for Steamboat and the industry is indisputable. I can’t wait to see the first skiers and riders take advantage of the new ride.”