With winter on the horizon, it’s time to start getting ready for skiing and snowboarding–and checking out new developments at nearby resorts. This season, both Keystone and Steamboat have added elements for all skill levels to elevate your good time.
Off the Beaten Path
Since opening in 2004, Bergman Bowl and Erickson Bowl have been considered Keystone’s most remote terrain, catering to skiers and riders who are willing to hike around a mile-and-a-half to get there. But with Keystone’s new high-speed Bergman Express lift, guests can get to this 555-acre area of the mountain in just five minutes.
The terrain in Bergman Bowl and Erickson Bowl will also be much more accessible this year. The original ten marked trails have been bladed and graded for improved use, and Keystone even added a few new trails; there are now 13 in Bergman Bowl and three in Erickson Bowl. All trails are named after surrounding mountain peaks or landmarks, with the exception of Jane’s Journey, named for Jane Bergman, one of Keystone’s founders.
A new patrol hut will serve as a central location for high-alpine ski patrols. It’s off-grid and sustainable, powered by solar panels, heated with a pellet stove and made from Beetle Kill Pine wood.
“We're really looking at it as an example for where we can head as an industry,” said Max Winter, Keystone’s communications manager. The patrol hut is a part of Keystone’s contribution to Vail Resort’s Commitment to Zero, an effort toward a zero net operating footprint by 2030.
For the Family
Along with nine blue and four black trails, Bergman Bowl includes three green routes–including Ten Mile, one of the highest green trails in the country, Max said.
“This is going to offer that rare opportunity for families to have their first high-alpine experience together,” he added. These trails will open with adequate snowfall, ideally in late December.
At Steamboat, as part of the resort’s Full Steam Ahead project, what was previously the Rough Rider and Bashor Basin area has transformed into Greenhorn Ranch, a learning center for beginners. The previous learning center was closer to the base area.
“They are being immersed in the mountains right off the bat,” said Maren Franciosi, Steamboat’s communications manager, of beginners. “We've groomed the snow to create the sensation of turning, the sensation of stopping,” she added of Greenhorn Ranch. Steamboat has also regraded this terrain to a 0 to 15% angle.
While the first leg of Steamboat’s new Wild Blue Gondola opened last season–taking riders from the base area, stopping at Greenhorn Ranch and continuing to Sunshine Peak–the upper leg launches this winter. Wild Blue Gondola’s 3.16 mile, 13-minute ride will be the longest and fastest ten-person gondola in North America. The gondola’s capacity will increase from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000.
Steamboat’s base area underwent construction and has a new ice rink, fire pits, live music stage and The Range Food & Drink Hall, full of four recently added dining outlets and a handful of bars. All base area buildings are now LEED-certified.
At the bottom of Keystone’s Bergman Bowl and Erickson Bowl, Timber Ridge Lodge also got an upgrade with additional indoor and outdoor seating, revealed last season, and new dining concepts open this winter.
For the Adventurer
This year’s largest addition at Steamboat is the 650-acre Mahogany Ridge, a new expert and advanced area of the mountain that was previously a sidecountry experience. The expansion takes Steamboat from the fifth largest Colorado ski resort to the second and will be serviced by a new chairlift after riders take the Pony Express to the top of the mountain.
“People are going to need to be very intentional about getting there,” Maren said. “It’s not going to be a place where you’re just going to end up. We’re excited to offer these new advanced and expert options to skiers and riders.”