Last season, Steamboat introduced a virtual waiting room that allows ticket and pass holders to join the Steamboat Gondola line remotely. This virtual line exists alongside the lift’s normal, physical line, and guests can add themselves to the queue each day through their ticket or pass product. The system is free to use for all paying guests.

Sources within the resort have confirmed to PeakRankings that the mountain plans to bring back the program this winter with an algorithm similar to the one used on the mountain coaster this summer. Timing issues experienced last winter have been patched up; the resort says it is now better able to estimate the flow of customers rolling through, with available queue slots adjusted accordingly. Additionally, the reservation system now features a message telling customers to just get in the lift’s physical line should it be shorter than the virtual wait time.

Additionally, Steamboat removed its Priest Creek double chair over the summer. At this time, the lift will have no direct replacement. The resort says the lack of available replacement parts contributed to the decision; the lift was Steamboat’s oldest at the time of its removal, having been installed in 1972.

The resort has also relocated the gondola base terminal this winter. This change comes as part of a redesign of Gondola Square, and was done in preparation for a series of transformative upgrades in future seasons.

PeakRankings Take

Steamboat suffers from one of the worst crowd flow setups of any resort we’ve been to, with a lack of desirable lift alternatives to the base gondola playing a substantial role in the problem. We strongly praised the virtual queue idea when it was announced last year, and while new base lifts are under construction, we’re glad the system is returning. There were a few hiccups with the rollout last season, but we’re excited to assess the promised tweaks to save customers time. Other resorts with major base chokepoints—take note on this program.

Theoretically, the Priest Creek lift existed to provide backup for the popular Sundown Express lift on busy days. However, the lift ran so rarely—even on peak days when waits for the Sundown lift were protracted—that its existence had little practical benefit. In the majority of recent seasons, the lift didn’t even operate once. We imagine most returning guests won’t even notice the lift is gone when they arrive this season.

Considering a trip to Steamboat? Check out our comprehensive mountain review, and check out how the resort stacks up in our Colorado rankings.

Additionally, Steamboat’s ambitious master plan is on track to revamp the mountain’s overall experience. See what’s on track to change in our master plan deep dive.

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