The bulls are running in the ski industry today as Alterra Mountain Company revealed its plan to invest $555 million in capital improvements at 12 Ikon Pass destinations over the course of the next 5 years. Included in the improvements are 2 new gondolas and 5 chairlifts that will make up $130 million of the total commitment.
Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory emphasized the importance of warm weather activities in addition to the winter offerings, saying that such diversity will provide an adequate return not just for shareholders but guests as well.
“Each aspect of our business plays a part in the guest experience that brings them back year after year, from a welcoming base area to an efficient ski school to exceptional services. It is our commitment to invest in each of our destinations in order to grow the sport, offer a variety of activities, inspire loyal guests and instill a love of the mountains in all that visit.” – Rusty Gregory, Alterra CEO
The big improvement reveals thus far include a new “Zephyr Gondola” at Winter Park as well as high speed “Snowbowl Quad” at Stratton. Other immediate improvements include enhancing summer activities @Mammoth, redesigning the Bear River restaurant @Steamboat, and adding a new lift @Tremblant.
Highlighted Improvements for 2018/2019:
Zephyr Gondola and Increased Snowmaking at Winter Park Resort, Colorado: Accessed from the Village at Winter Park, and replacing the Zephyr Express quad, the new Zephyr Gondola will improve the guest experience by expanding uphill capacity to 3,200 guests per hour, decreasing wait times by 15 minutes during peak season, and providing faster service to the Seven Territories of the mountain and the Lodge at Sunspot.
Winter Park Resort’s 42-year old snowmaking system will be upgraded with state-of-the-art energy efficient systems. Given the mountain’s base elevation of 9,000 feet, with quality snowmaking the destination has the ability to extend season operations to enhance early season offerings.
Canyon Lodge & Summer Activation at Mammoth Mountain, California: Canyon Lodge sees 60% of Mammoth Mountain’s visitors and will receive an innovative redesign over the next two years, positioning it to become the Day Lodge of the future. An enhanced guest arrival will include new retail space, user-friendly access to rentals and ticket windows, innovative food and beverage services, and a redevelopment of the popular snow beach area.
A new summer adventure sport offering will be available for fall 2018 at Main Lodge at Mammoth Mountain, complete with adrenaline-pumping thrill experiences, including the longest top to bottom zipline tour in North America, in the combination of the two spans, plus a via ferrata rock climbing experience suspended on the mountain face, and junior ropes courses.
Bear River Restaurant, Steamboat, Colorado: Steamboat’s most popular slopeside après ski destination is getting a complete overhaul and new design, including new kitchen, enhanced menu options, and the enclosure of a portion of the outdoor space to increase seating capacity by 72 seats.
Snowbowl Chairlift at Stratton, Vermont: The new Snowbowl Chairlift will replace the 31-year old fixed grip quad with a high-speed detachable lift that will increase beginner skier accessibility, alleviate mountain choke points, and will enhance the guest experience with a quicker ride to the summit.
Lowell Thomas Chairlift and Increased Snowmaking at Tremblant, Quebec: The Lowell Thomas Chairlift will be replaced with a high-speed 4-passenger detachable chairlift, increasing uphill capacity by 33%. Energy-efficient snowmaking capacity along the upper portion of the Algonquin Trail will be increased by 50%, offering visitors earlier access and more reliable snow conditions.
Base Area Improvements at Big Bear Mountain Resort, California: Development at Bear Mountain will include enhancement to existing facilities, common pedestrian areas and the learn to ski area.
Snowmaking Overhaul at Snowshoe, West Virginia: Snowshoe’s current snowmaking system will be replaced with a state-of-the-art system that will increase snow making capabilities allowing for significantly more trails to open in early December, and drastically reduce electricity usage.