Anne Gillespie, visual merchandiser for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., looks through a box of merchandise Wednesday while setting up the new Steamboat Ski & Sport Downtown Howelsen Place store with retail shop employee Heidi O'Steen. The new store will open Saturday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Anne Gillespie, visual merchandiser for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., looks through a box of merchandise Wednesday while setting up the new Steamboat Ski & Sport Downtown Howelsen Place store with retail shop employee Heidi O'Steen. The new store will open Saturday.

New Ski Corp. store opens Saturday

Howelsen Place location will offer rentals, lift tickets, lessons

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— Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. debuts its first downtown retail location Saturday, just in time for the Merry Mainstreet holiday celebration.

Vice President for Resort Services Mike DeGroff said the store, Steamboat Ski & Sport Downtown Howelsen Place, would comprise 1,800 square feet in its new location on Seventh Street.

In addition to offering 300 sets of rental skis and snowboards, the shop will allow people to purchase lift tickets and lessons in downtown Steamboat Springs for the first time, DeGroff said.

"Our intent is to have three primary billings with rentals, lift tickets and ski and snowboard lessons, and logo wear," DeGroff said.

During peak business periods, a representative of Steamboat Central Reservations will be in the store to allow vacationers to pick up their complete vacation packets without having to go to the mountain.

Jim Cook, a member of the development team for Howelsen Place, recently told the Steamboat Springs City Council that he attaches a certain amount of symbolism to the opening of the store.

"The ski area gets it," Cook said. "They understand the importance of making this connection between the mountain and our downtown shopping district."

The connection will be more than figurative, DeGroff said. The ski area's various retail shops at the base of Mount Werner already offer guests the service of having rentals fitted into their vacation accommodations and then having them delivered to a locker room at the mountain. That level of service will be extended to Howelsen Place, DeGroff said.

Tiffany Bates is the assistant manager for retail at Steamboat Ski & Sport Downtown Howelsen Place. In addition to ski accessories, DeGroff said, the store will test price points for soft shell jackets and non-technical outerwear.

The assistant manager for the rental shop is Eric Johnston.

Ski Corp. is using the occasion to unify its diverse ski shops under the Steamboat Ski & Sport brand. For example, the ski shop in the Steamboat Grand Hotel now is Steamboat Ski & Sport at the Grand. And the former location of Breeze Ski Rentals - a company owned by Ski Corp. parent Intrawest - is Steamboat Ski & Sport Ski Time Square.

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