Ski Corp. plans improvements | SteamboatToday.com

Ski Corp. plans improvements

Revegetation, work on snow-making machine on the agenda

Blythe Terrell

The Christie III chairlift sits idle Thursday afternoon at Steamboat Ski Area. Ski Corp. will work to revegetate the area this summer.

— Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has started its summer improvements to Steamboat Ski Area, but spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said nothing major is in the works.

Ski Corp. will tune up its snow-making pipes and revegetate trails and other dirt areas, Thomsen said.

“Anyone can see when they’re looking at the mountain, from Christie Peak Express down, it’s brown; it’s dirt,” she said. “We’ll be doing some topsoil and revegetation. That’s kind of a project we’ll be working on throughout the summer.”

The company has not released detailed plans for capital improvements.

The gondola opens today for scenic rides at a $5 opening-weekend price. Although smatterings of snow sit on the mountain, riders cannot take winter equipment with them, Thomsen said. The Oasis Sundeck will be open for happy hour, she said.

Trails still are closed to hikers and bikers. Wet weather and the long winter have left the paths fragile.

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“We know those are a big draw for locals as well as tourists,” Thomsen said. “The way they are now, they just aren’t ready. We’ll see what Mother Nature does, and we’ll have our crews working out there, too.”

Trail updates will be available at steamboat.com, she said.

Most of Steamboat Ski Area is Routt National Forest land overseen by the U.S. Forest Service. Ski Corp. uses the land through a USFS special-use permit. USFS spokeswoman Kim Vogel said Thursday that because the permit is issued with “standards and guidelines for protection of the national forest,” the two groups work together to determine when trails should be opened to the public.

“On developed trails and roads and any sort of developed facility, we take into consideration road and trail condition,” Vogel said. “During wet weather, we often leave roads and trails closed on all national forest (lands), including areas like the ski area.”

Ski Corp. also has started planning its advertising and promotions for next ski season, Thomsen said. The campaign will focus on telling visitors that a Steamboat Springs vacation allows them to experience a community, not just skiing and snowboarding.

“They get to visit our restaurants, they get to shop at our boutiques, they get to do our activities,” Thomsen said. “While we’ve always thought that, we’re going to build on that more.”

Ski Corp. is putting together vacation packages now, she said.

“The first deadlines will come up in September,” Thomsen said of those winter deals. The deadline for ski passes is Aug. 15.

The company, owned by Intrawest, plans to focus on drawing return visitors, Front Range tourists and international guests, Thomsen said.

“We have seen in the past few years that the international market is really going, especially with the dollar getting weaker,” she said. Ski Corp. works with public relations firms in the United Kingdom and Australia to run ads and get press. “That’s been a focus of ours for a while. : We’re looking to do that more this year.”

Thomsen said last season’s record snowfall has helped Steamboat gain attention.

“We’re coming off of a record-breaking year; people heard about it,” she said. “We did our best to get the word out. : We’ll continue to push that message, that the snow is in Steamboat, and it’s that Champagne Powder snow.”