Miountain keeps rolling even without snow

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— When the snow melts, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. doesn't shut down. The mountain hosts a variety of activities in Gondola Square and shuttles visitors to the top of the gondola for hiking, biking and dining.

Ski Corp. also hosts a number of music concerts at the base of the ski area.

Ski Corp. is expanding the number of attractions in its Gondola Square activity park this summer.

New is a "challenge course" enticing customers to climb a short rope bridge and ride down a cable "zip line" to a soft landing. Ski Corp. also plans a temporary miniature golf course and several other attractions.

Returning to the activity park this year are a portable climbing wall, a pair of bungee trampolines and Frisbee golf. Ski Corp. Vice President of Skier Services Jim Schneider said those attractions were well received in their debut last summer, encouraging him to expand upon the program this year.

Ski Corp. partners with a Front Range company called Colorado Sports Attractions to bring the summer amenities into the base of the ski area. They are removed before ski season. CSA performs similar services at Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Park City, Utah.

This summer's 18-hole miniature golf course would be portable and removed at the end of the summer. Long-term, Ski Corp. hopes to build a permanent miniature golf course.

There is also the possibility that Ski Corp. would seek approval for evening hours in future summers.

"We do not specifically seek a lighting plan for the summer of 2003," Schneider wrote, "yet we may look to build a business model that works into the evening hours in the future."

Visitors also can take a 12-minute gondola ride from the base of the mountain at 6,900 feet up to Thunderhead Lodge at 9,080 feet. There is a restaurant in the lodge with deck dining that offers spectacular views of the town and the surrounding peaks. Residents can access numerous hiking and biking trails on the ski mountain from the top of the gondola. Bikes are welcome inside the gondola cars.

In addition to the activities offered by Ski Corp., there are a number of retail establishments at the base of the ski area, including restaurants, gift shops, sporting goods stores, hair salons, real estate offerings, hotels and more.

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