Steamboat's new gondola would actually be part of the new Wildhorse Meadows community, which is being built near the Meadows parting lot, close to Highway 40. Steamboat skiers and riders still would park at the lot and take a shuttle bus to the base, or walk into the Meadows community to take the gondola.
The Resort Ventures West developers originally approached the city and the ski area to see if they would like to participate in building the gondola coming out of the day skier parking lot. They did not want to participate.
Wildhorse Meadows is the first master-planned community in Steamboat. The Steamboat Ski Area was recently acquired by Intrawest. Wildhorse Meadows is a residential resort community that will mix housing types, such as resort lodge suites, townhomes, mountain lofts, a branded hotel, attainable housing, and community amenities. The gondola would serve the community as well as the area-owned parking lots.
Other Wildhorse amenities include an extensive walking or biking trail system connecting the neighborhoods to the town of Steamboat, a general store with postal services, a Ranch House with pools, hot tubs, and a kids' lounge, and an interactive Culture and Education Barn for all ages.
The gondola is expected to be built December 2009.
Steamboat's current big topic of discussion is a proposed Recreation Center, on the ballot November 6. It would be right next to Wildhorse Meadows. Mountain guests have said in surveys it's something they'd like to see as an option to their time on the slopes. Locals have pushed to get it to a vote, as it is something many community members say they also would enjoy.