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We’re just getting into the meatiest part of ski season, but thoughts are already turning to next winter—at least in the corporate offices of one of the industry’s mega passes. Alterra Mountain Company, owners of the Ikon Pass, just announced a slate of huge infrastructure upgrades at five of its ski resorts, and it turns out, there is a lot to look forward to next season and the seasons beyond.
The Denver-based company is planning to invest a record $344 million in capital improvements, with the lion’s share going toward resort development at Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain in Calif.; Steamboat, Colo.; Crystal Mountain, Wash.; and Deer Valley, Utah. This includes investments in lifts, terrain expansion, skier services and amenities, and booking technology. The company had previously invested a total of $555 million sprucing up its resorts since its inception in 2018, bringing its total spend to over $1 billion.
“This historic investment is clear evidence of our commitment to deliver a premier guest experience at our North American destinations and our engagement towards the long-term future of our mountains,” said Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory. “More than ever, we continue to infuse meaningful capital into projects that will transform our base areas while significantly improving our physical and digital on-mountain offerings to ensure that our guests experience the best of the mountains.”
Here’s a snapshot of what $344 million will get skiers at these resorts next season.
Upgrades at Ikon Pass Resorts for 2022-’23
Palisades Tahoe, Calif.
It’s been in the works for years, but the Base-to-Base Gondola connecting the villages at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows will begin running next season, marking the completion of a $65 million upgrade and a new chapter for the third-largest ski area in North America. The gondola will have four terminals and climb 2,000 vertical over 16 minutes, offering access to a combined 6,000 skiable acres with classic Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada views.
Steamboat moves into Phase 2 of its Full Steam Ahead redevelopment project, which pours $90 million into a reimagined Steamboat Square base area. It began this season with the relocation of the lower gondola terminal and the demolition of the aged Gondola Square development, and continues into ’22-’23 with the first leg of the new Wild Blue Gondola, which will serve a mid-mountain learning center—and eventually a 650-acre terrain expansion at Pioneer Ridge.
Crystal Mountain, Wash.
The largest investment ever into this Pacific Northwest resort will focus on transforming the base to offer better access and more skier services. The two-story, 25,000-square-foot Mountain Commons will replace the existing lodge and offer new dining options, guest services, ticketing, retail, and a much bigger ski beach. There will also be expanded parking. The Mountain Commons will be operational for the ’23-’24 season.
Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley will get a new front door, essentially, when its Snow Park base gets a facelift designed to improve the arrival experience. Plans include a new plaza and arrival center, enhanced dining options, and a larger and more accessible ski beach, all of which will break ground in 2023. New for next season, the Burns Express chair will serve the Wide West learning area, connecting it to Little Baldy Mountain and making it easier for beginners to get off the bunny hill and access appropriate terrain for leveling up.
Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Multi-year upgrades will begin at Mammoth this summer and debut starting winter 2023. The biggest improvements will be two new high-speed six-packs to replace the Canyons Express and the Broadway Express, both high-traffic lifts that are key to spreading skiers out across the slopes. The other upgrades are summer-focused and involve turning Woolly’s Adventure Summit into a year-round playground with summer tubing and a mountain coaster.