Ski Corp. announces improvement plans

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Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has announced a $2.8 million capital program for the 2004-05 season, including $1.3 million for the new Burgess Creek triple chairlift.

Other projects for the upcoming season include finalization of the Master Plan Update, additional snowmaking and slope equipment, Gondola Square remodel, Billy Kidd Performance Center and Competition Services improvements and numerous upgrades to the resort's food and beverage operations.

During the past four years, the Ski Corp. has invested more than $7.5 million in the resort.

"These improvements will maintain the momentum Steamboat enjoyed this past season reaching the No. 3 resort in Colorado and No. 4 in the United States in terms of skier visits with an extremely high intent to return from our guests," Ski Corp. president Chris Diamond said. "Hosting over 1 million skier visits for the past 15 seasons, it's easy to see why Steamboat-Ski Town USA was recently ranked the No. 2 ski town in America by Skiing Magazine."

The new Leitner-Poma of America triple chairlift will replace the Burgess Creek double chairlift. The new lift is expected to reduce pressure on the Elkhead lift, reduce travel time by half a minute and provide footrests for riders.

"The Burgess Creek lift is an important access lift for Thunderhead Lodge and is an easy means of transfer to the Priest Creek and Sunshine Bowl areas," said Doug Allen, vice president-mountain operations for the resort. "The new lift will have an immediate impact on improving access to great skiing/riding for all ability levels."

The terminals for the chairlift will be positioned in about the same locations as the old Burgess Creek lift, however, the lower maze will be realigned behind the terminal, eliminating the bottleneck that occasionally occurred on Ego trail. The new lift will have a vertical rise of 938 feet, a horizontal length of 3,369 feet, an average gradient of 27 percent and a top speed of 500 feet per minute.

The new lift is expected to be ready to carry its first riders in early to mid-December. This will be the first new lift since the Pony Express Quad was installed for the 1998-99 season and the first Leitner-Poma lift at the resort.

The ski area is working with the U.S. Forest Service on the Master Plan Update. This year's focus is on the National Environmental Policy Act and wetlands mitigation requirements. The complete Master Plan Update can be viewed at steamboat.com/masterplan.

About 200 feet of 16-inch pipe will be added to the primary snowmaking pipeline, and a new hose, fan and land guns will be installed. These improvements continue to enhance water management, increase capacity and address safety issues. The system covers 438 acres on 35 trails.

The resort is working with Denver design firm, Melick Associates on $200,000 improvements to Gondola Square. A new stairway and wood beamed porte-cochere entrance provides access to Gondola Square from the Knoll Lot and Transit Center.

In addition, new signs will be installed in Gondola Square to assist pedestrians.

Other improvements will include upgrades to kitchen equipment and facilities in Gondola Joe's, Rendezvous Saddle, Stoker, Bear River, Four Points Hut and Ragnar's restaurants; new carpet through the lower Gondola Building; new resort village entry sign; snowmobiles; two-way radios; mountain bikes; warehouse heavy equipment; enhancements to ticket window audio/speaker system; and security systems.

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