Steamboat Springs Bashor Bowl, once a place where ski school instructors took low intermediates to make airplane turns, has entered a new dawn. After introducing Mavericks Superpipe in Bashor during December 2001, the Steamboat Ski Area is making plans to turn the entire bowl over to terrain parks and a slopestyle course flanking Mavericks. Out with the old, in with the new.
Steamboat received some encouragement from the snowboard press after opening Mavericks with its 15-foot walls. TransWorld Snowboarding magazine ranked Steamboat seventh on the list of the nation's top halfpipes. However, Steamboat didn't crack the top 15 for its terrain parks, and the ski area is out to change that this winter. SKI magazine liked Steamboat's terrain parks more than TransWorld did and ranked them fourth.
Terrain park manager John Asta has 11.8 acres to play with in Bashor Bowl and the budget to install seven new rails, doubling last year's total. There will be a mailbox slider, as well as beginner rails and a beginners' zone to get riders started with their tricks.
Steamboat spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said this week the terrain park isn't yet ready to open, but additional snowmaking capacity installed in Bashor Bowl will move things along.
"We'll definitely be shooting for earlier than last year (when Mavericks opened Dec. 21)," Polumbus said. "The pipe is looking pretty good, but we definitely need some more snow."
Steamboat got it right when it built Mavericks two summers ago, excavating the halfpipe out of the earth. That investment drastically reduces the amount of snow needed to build the pipe, Polumbus pointed out.
Steamboat touts Mavericks as the "longest superpipe in North America."
The pipe is 50 feet wide and the right wall measures 600 feet. Add a section of quarterpipe, and the left wall is 65 feet long. Steamboat has dedicated a Bombardier HPG-17 Grinder to nightly grooming of Mavericks.
Skiers and riders looking down from the top of Bashor will quickly see the new terrain parks are organized in order of difficulty from left to right.
Powering the whole scene this winter will be a new outdoor sound system, and the squares won't be calling the tunes. Polumbus said the sound system is designed to play CDs and the 14 volunteers who will be monitoring and helping to maintain the terrain parks will have the freedom to choose the tunes (within some reasonable limits).
Bashor won't be the only place where boarders and free skiers will find hits this winter. The boardercross setup will be adjacent to Buddy's Run, and the "Beehive," a kids-only park in Rough Rider Basin, will help the little people get their kicks while keeping everyone safe.