Alterra Mountain Company has announced a nearly $500 million capital investment program focused on enhancing the guest and employee experience across its portfolio of destinations over the next year.
The announcement follows last year’s significant milestone, when the company completed more than $1 billion in capital improvements over its first five years of operation, double the original financial commitment of $555 million announced when the company was formed.
In the year ahead, Alterra will invest almost $400 million for lifts, snowmaking, summer adventures, additional guest amenities, and resort infrastructure; $50 million dedicated to employee housing; and $40 million for technology upgrades to better connect and streamline the guest experience.
In just the past year, Alterra has completed three extraordinary projects, including the opening of the new Base to Base Gondola that remade Palisades Tahoe into the largest ski area in California, the opening of Steamboat’s industry-redefining Greenhorn Ranch Learning Center, and the first stage of its Wild Blue Gondola, which will ultimately become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest in the country.
“In our first five years, Alterra Mountain Company has established itself as a proven leader in the outdoor industry, and we intend to continue to innovate by investing in large-scale projects that will deliver differentiated guest experiences,” said Jared Smith, President & CEO, Alterra Mountain Company. “These projects, and our investments in the years ahead, demonstrate our unwavering commitment to evolving our destinations to better serve our guests and to improving the experience our employees can expect when living and working in our mountain communities.”
Elevated Guest Amenities
With an eye towards providing all our guests with options that suit their tastes, Alterra has committed to investing in the transformation of its base areas and on-mountain amenities, including food and beverage and skier services offerings.
In winter 23/24, Steamboat’s three-year Full Steam Ahead project concludes with the addition of 655 acres of expert terrain in Mahogany Ridge and Fish Creek Canyon, making Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado. Wild Blue Gondola will become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the country. Over the course of Full Steam Ahead, Steamboat has transformed Steamboat Square and reimagined the resort experience by adding an escalator to eliminate stairs, moving the Steamboat Gondola on snow to make room for a larger Steamboat Square featuring Skeeter’s Ice Rink, the Mountain Stage and the Range Food & Drink Hall, and introducing Greenhorn Ranch, a dedicated beginners area on-mountain. This concludes the company’s initial $220 million and three-year investment in Full Steam Ahead.
Crystal Mountain’s new 25,000 sq. ft. skier services facility, called Mountain Commons, will bring new guest services and ticketing experience, retail, dining and an expanded slope-side beach area for the 23/24 winter season.
Snowshoe is planning for the new design concept replacing Shavers Center that will feature enhanced skier services, including food and beverage and après offerings, and other year-round activities.
In addition, the company has significant plans to enhance the base area offerings at Deer Valley Resort, Winter Park Resort, Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain in the years ahead.
Increased Lift and Terrain Capacity
With a focus on providing a better experience for all guests by allowing for better capacity balancing and expanding lift-served beginners areas, Alterra completed the installation of six lifts prior to the 22/23 winter season. This year, Alterra will invest in an additional eight lifts, including new or replacement lifts at Steamboat, Mammoth Mountain, Winter Park Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Snowshoe Mountain.
The completion of Steamboat’s much anticipated Wild Blue Gondola will increase out-of-base capacity by nearly double, whisking skiers and riders to the top of Sunshine Peak at 10,397 feet in about 12 minutes. Steamboat will also add 655 acres of expert terrain in Mahogany Ridge and Fish Creek Canyon, serviced by the new Mahogany Ridge Express high-speed quad lift, making Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado.
Snowshoe will replace the Powder Monkey lift with a fixed-grip quad that will increase uphill capacity in the Basin area and improve access to its Western Territory.
Pioneer Lift at Winter Park Resort will become a 6-pack and benefit from a mid-station loading point for better return skiing.
Canyon Express at Mammoth Mountain will be upgraded from a quad to a high-speed 6-pack to boost uphill capacity by 25% and allow faster reopening after weather events.
Eagle Express at Solitude Mountain Resort will be replaced with a high-speed 6-pack lift.
Expanded Beginner Terrain & Ski Racing Courses
In an effort to introduce more guests to snow sports, Alterra continues to make sizable investments in beginner terrain and racing facilities. The company’s investments include Steamboat’s new premier Greenhorn Ranch dedicated beginners area featuring terrain-based learning, four magic carpets, and the Greenhorn Ranch Express, a detachable quad lift. In addition, enhancements are being made to beginners areas in Deer Valley Resort, Stratton, Snowshoe, and Big Bear Mountain Resort.
Alterra is also making significant investments in recreational ski racing infrastructure, adding free racing courses to each of its mountain destinations in partnership with newly-minted FIS all time World Cup record-holder, Mikaela Shiffrin, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, and Outside Interactive, Inc., owner of NASTAR. Alterra and its partners hope offering these investments for free will invite and ignite the next generation of ski-race champions.
More Efficient Snowmaking
To help ensure a consistent season length and a quality experience, Alterra is investing in robust, multi-year snowmaking enhancement programs designed to bring higher efficiency equipment to all resorts, most notably overhauling systems at Winter Park Resort, Steamboat, Palisades Tahoe, Sugarbush, Snowshoe and Mammoth Mountain. These new systems favor increased energy efficiency and reduced water usage allowing our destinations to improve our guest experience while reducing our environmental impact.
Additional Summer Offerings
In an effort to provide guests with mountain adventures 12 months a year, Alterra continues to reimagine and expand its slate of summer activities to enhance the guest experience beyond the winter season. Among our larger projects:
Mammoth Mountain will debut the revamped Woolly’s Adventure Summit, which will add one of the longest mountain coasters in North America after introducing expanded and improved winter tubing lanes this past winter. In addition, Woolly’s will break ground this summer on a permanent base lodge with food and beverage amenities. Future phases plan to include the addition of a zip coaster, adventure ropes courses and the relocation of Snowmobile Adventures, making Woolly’s Adventure Summit a true year-round center for family mountain adventures of all ages.
Additional summer offerings include a new alpine slide at Winter Park and an aerial adventure course at Crystal Mountain.
– The Winter Park Alpine Slide first opened in the summer of 1980 as Colorado’s longest alpine slide with 3,000 feet of smooth track. The track will be replaced this summer.
– Crystal Mountain’s new Flying Raven Adventure Course will feature a series of aerial challenges including rope bridges, barrel crossings, and treetop ladders and will open in summer 2023.
Enhanced Digital Guest Technology Improvements
Alterra is committed to utilizing consumer technology to ease and enhance our guests’ journey from booking to arriving at our destinations. As a result, the company is investing significant capital to improve its digital capabilities. In the year ahead, guests will benefit from additional Ikon Pass app features, significantly streamlined booking and packaging options, new RFID gate technology at most resorts, and a more connected experience on and off the mountain.
Commitment to Employee Housing
With its employees experience top of mind, Alterra is committed to doubling its portfolio-wide employee housing capacity over the next five year investment period. In 2023, the company will add almost 500 workforce housing beds with significant expansion at Palisades Tahoe, Stratton, Tremblant, and Winter Park Resort, which will mark the opening of a brand new premier housing facility that will house over 300 employees on resort grounds. The company is also in the planning stages for nearly 1,000 additional affordable workforce housing beds across Palisades Tahoe, Blue Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Sugarbush, and Deer Valley Resort.