Steamboat Springs Frontier Airlines has added ski season flights from Denver to Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, the airline reported today. The service will run Dec. 18 to April 22 on Bombardier Q400 aircraft operated by Lynx Aviation, a Frontier Holdings subsidiary, according to a news release from the airline.
"It is great news," said Andy Wirth, chief marketing officer for Intrawest, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.'s parent company. "It just adds yet another option for skiers and snowboarders across the country to get to Steamboat."
Frontier will operate three flights a day to and from Denver International Airport, the news release stated. The turboprop Q400s contain 74 seats, four of which will be removed to add space for luggage and ski gear.
"A lot of the time, people are used to flying out and having their ski equipment arrive the next day," Frontier spokeswoman Lindsey Purves said.
Frontier will not have a contractual relationship with Steamboat and Ski Corp. Other airlines have deals with the resort and the city, which collects a lodging tax to help support air service.
"Frontier choosing Steamboat on a standalone basis is terrific because it speaks to our desirability as a destination," Wirth said.
Steamboat Ski Area officials have been talking with the airline for two years. Frontier, which is going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, announced a set of new destinations in February. The Steamboat Springs area was not on that list, which included Aspen, Grand Junction, Durango and Colorado Springs.
"We always go through a process of evaluating and re-evaluating our routes and what makes good sense for Frontier at the moment," Purves said. "After a re-evaluation, we looked at (YVRA). : We needed to announce it as soon as possible because we are launching it on the 18th. We needed to give people adequate time to book."
Wirth said the presence of Frontier, a lower-cost airline, probably would put pricing pressure on other airlines. American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines offer nonstop flights to YVRA during ski season.
That variety is positive, Wirth said.
"It's not only our diverse markets but our diversity in air carriers," he said, "so if one is having some challenges in different ways, we don't have to rely on them - we can fall back to another carrier."
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