Holiday visitors soaked up the December sun Monday along the new promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Tom Ross

Holiday visitors soaked up the December sun Monday along the new promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Steamboat base area promenade an early hit

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— In spite of the lack of snow so far this year, the new public promenade ringing the base of the Steamboat Ski Area is getting a lot of use in its inaugural season.

The promenade, which includes a snowmelt system and stretches from One Steamboat Place to Torian Plum Plaza, was completed late this fall after several years of work. It’s part of the planned $20 million in multiyear improvements at the ski area base paid for by property tax growth in the narrowly defined Urban Renewal Authority district.

The early returns on the promenade project are positive.

“It’s created a real nice kind of front porch for the resort,” said part-time Steamboat Springs resident Gary Snidecor, who with his wife, Cindy, was about to take the steps down toward Gondola Square on the promenade Monday afternoon. “Appearance-wise, it’s create a nice demarcation between the buildings and the snow.”

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said the ski area’s guests have reported that the promenade makes it easier to navigate the base area. She said it increases the guest experience.

“We’d be up there (Torian Plum) and we never really came down here (Gondola Square) because it was too difficult,” said Sarah Swain, of San Francisco, who carried her daughter, 3-year-old Caroline, toward Torian Plum Plaza on Monday. “It’s nice. It’s much more integrated and connected to the whole mountain.”

Kasten said the promenade’s snowmelt system has been used this year and that it worked well. But she acknowledged that the real test would come during big snow falls.

“We’re waiting for a huge Champagne powder snowstorm to put it to the test,” she said. “And it will come.”

Additional snow also will increase the size of the lip from the snow surface to the brick pavers. Kasten said mountain crews would have to wait to see how best to address that issue to prevent a large step from forming.

The Snidecors said they visited during the summer when the promenade still was being constructed. They were impressed with how it turned out.

“Absolutely gorgeous,” Cindy Snidecor said. “Such an improvement.”

Other base area improvements unveiled this year include the permanent stage in Gondola Square, which has public restrooms below it, and bringing Burgess Creek above ground, a feature that won’t be visible until spring.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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