These days sustainability is the name of the game, and with Steamboat as well as Alterra making pledges to be carbon neutral by 2030, it’s game time for our sustainability initiatives to be unveiled and start making an impact. At this same time the resort is also in the planning phase for a newly redeveloped Gondola Transit Center. Pairing an awesome renovation to our mountain with a groundbreaking sustainability plan isn’t anything new for Steamboat, and this plan will be one of the most exciting yet. One of the focal points for this renovation of the current transit center is a geothermal heating system that is state of the art and will allow the resort to keep this area snow and ice free all while not having any negative energy impacts or additional carbon output.

Rendering of the new Gondola Transit Center at Steamboat Resort.

What: In a public-private partnership, the city of Steamboat Springs and SSRC are working to reimagine and redevelop the Gondola Transit Center. The redesign will focus the area on pedestrian safety and public transportation, with a gondola coming from the Meadows lot and only local bus service and lodging shuttles coming into the transit center.  To improve safety and the guest experience, a portion of the area will be snow melted.  Last year, the city adopted code to ban all fossil fuel-based snowmelt.  In addition, Alterra and Steamboat are working on ambitious climate goals to become carbon neutral by 2030.  Together the resort and City are funding a study to look at ways to snowmelt the area with low or no carbon emissions, using geothermal, solar, and the capture of waste heat.

How: Below frostline, the earth’s temperature is a pretty steady 45-55F.  In some geologically active area, it can be warmer, and in many areas, the rock at depth can act as a thermal battery.  The initial findings of the study show that the rock formation on the mountain, is a great thermal battery and we have many sources of heat that we can use to “charge” the battery and melt the snow in the winter.

When: Still in design phase, the construction of the Gondola Transit Center is expected for completion before the 2027 winter season.  We are hoping that, as part of that construction, we will have one of the most innovative and sustainable snow melted transit areas in the ski industry!

While some of these plans have already begun to hit the ground running, others are still being constructed and enacted. If hearing about how your favorite ski resort is taking action in order to combat the changing climate, empower the community and reduce carbon emissions is your thing, stay tuned. There are a lot of exciting and innovative initiatives in the works that we will communicate soon!