Steamboat Ski Area making investments to attract summer visitors
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With a flurry of construction, the Steamboat Ski Area is all in when it comes to summer fun. Additional activities at the ski area come as ski areas throughout Colorado are making big investments to attract summer visitors and their dollars.
“This will definitely be a place where you can come and spend the day,” said Jim Schneider, vice president of skier services.
Next to the Steamboat Stage, a platform is being built for a new 40-foot climbing wall that will have three auto-belay rope systems. The ski area plans to operate the wall year-round. Nearby, the Bear River Bar and Grill will be open daily with service extending into Gondola Square.
Uphill, next to a magic carpet used during the winter for ski school, 300-foot plastic ramps are being installed for tubing. Next to that will be a 75-foot urban ropes course with features such as a walking net, spider web and punching bags.
On Thursday, workers were installing landscaping at the new Maverick Mini-Golf course. The turf is scheduled to be installed beginning Thursday.
Jeff Daniels, director of guest services, gave a tour of the course, which is like walking through a miniature Steamboat and its history. The holes have different themes, including the iconic More Barn, Cowboy Downhill and Fish Creek Falls.
“Ponds will be in play,” Daniels said. “The golf balls float. We have ball retrievers.”
Ten of the holes will be accessible to people with disabilities, and the top hole offers views of the Flat Tops Wilderness.
All the activities encompass what the ski area is calling the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone.
The ski area hopes to open the Adventure Zone and Steamboat Bike Park, as well as the refurbished gondola, July 15.
Also this summer, the ski area plans to finish construction of the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, which will be open year-round. Workers are installing 6,280 feet of track that descends 400 feet, beginning just below the top of the Christie Peak Express lift. Once completed, it will be the longest mountain coaster in North America. Riders will load carts at the bottom and be towed to the top. From there, the track runs between four and 40 feet off the ground through loops and over bridges.
The carts will automatically brake in some spots, but riders mostly control their own speed by holding down levers.
“I’ve done these a lot of places, and I’ve never been able to hold the throttle all the way,” Schneider said.
The carts are attached with wheels, both under and on top of the track.
“The cart will not come off the track unless we remove it,” Daniels said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @sbtstensland.