Sundown Express – Steamboat, CO

Lower lift line.
Return station.
Loading area and lift shack.
View up the line.
Maintenance/parking rail.
Turnaround at the bottom.
Middle lift line.
Riding up the lift line.
The breakover.
Arriving at the drive.
Side view of the top station.
Lower part of the lift line.
View up the line.
Drive bullwheel.

27 thoughts on “Sundown Express – Steamboat, CO

  1. Collin Parsons February 27, 2019 / 8:47 pm

    I hope Alterra replaces this lift with a bubble-8 as it has some of the longest lines on the mountain. They could also remove the Priest Creek Double which rarely runs anyways. Come to think of it, Storm Peak is the same age and could also go bubble-8 and then the Bar UE lift could be removed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GreatEight February 27, 2019 / 10:21 pm

      What about sunshine and thunderhead.

      When alterra goes bubble-8 for sundown they should relocate the old HSQ to Morningstar and give it the Shedhorn upgrade.


      • Collin Parsons February 27, 2019 / 10:44 pm

        Here are my thoughts. Sundown–>Morningside, Storm Peak–>Pioneer Ridge 2, Thunderhead–>Sunshine 2. Sundown and Storm Peak become bubble 8’s, Thunderhead becomes a 6-pack (no bubble for wind resistance as it’s the only backup to gondola).

        Liked by 1 person

        • GreatEight February 27, 2019 / 11:18 pm

          I think Sunshine should also become a bubble-6 and burgess creek a HSQ using thunderhead equipment.

          Storm peak really only needs to be a bubble-6… A 8 would be overkill.

          Sundown is the only lift with the need for a bubble-8 in my opinion.

          Thunderhead should be a chondola to help with the beginner traffic there.


        • skitheeast February 28, 2019 / 1:41 am

          I agree that Sundown and Storm Peak should become 8s (while also removing Priest Creek and Four Points). However, I think Thunderhead should also go 8 if they are serious about the Bashor gondola project. The Bashor gondola will bring a lot more traffic to that area of the mountain and I think a lot more people will either lap Thunderhead of take the Bashor gondola to Thunderhead as a way of getting up the mountain and avoiding the crowds at the main gondola.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald M. Reif February 28, 2019 / 8:36 pm

          The Storm Peak Express and Sundown Express lines at most just need a high speed six pack.


        • powderforever45 October 9, 2019 / 4:23 pm

          @GreatEight Burgess creek won’t become a HSQ anytime soon. It was installed in 2004 and barely ever has lines.


    • Donald Reif May 26, 2019 / 2:12 pm

      A six-pack would probably suffice. It’s hard to say what Steamboat’s forecast is on skier movements is, since I think one of the original proposals for Elkhead had a high speed six pack replacing it, and not a high speed quad.

      Eight-packs honestly seem like overkill.

      Liked by 1 person

      • powderforever21 September 13, 2019 / 5:59 pm

        I agree with @Donald Reif. Storm peak has some pretty short lines usually, Sundown could be a 3,600 PPH lift while Storm peak could be a 3,000 PPH


        • Donald Reif September 13, 2019 / 9:10 pm

          Alternately, upgrade the Sundown Express to a 3,600 pph six pack, and use some of the Sundown Express lift’s chairs to upgrade the Storm Peak Express to a 2,800 pph capacity (the two lifts were built the same year and have the same terminal model and DS-104 grips). It’s something that’s perfectly doable, since Keystone did that in 2014 when they added 24 chairs to the Outback Express lift to increase that lift’s capacity from 2,400 to 2,600 pph (by moving 7 chairs from the Peru Express and 17 chairs from the Montezuma Express). That’d result in a combined uphill capacity of 9,200 pph to the top of the main peaks between the Storm Peak Express, Sundown Express and Sunshine Express.


  2. New England Chairlifts & Skiing November 1, 2019 / 2:07 pm

    Why did Steamboat choose to replace the newer Yan Triple rather than the older Heron-Poma double? I know the heron is a really classic lift, but it would’ve made more sense to keep the triple as backup since it has more capacity and it was newer. Did it have anything to do with Killington wanting parts for the Canyon Quad?


    • Donald Reif November 1, 2019 / 2:53 pm

      Hard to say. I suspect maybe it had to do with them thinking the Sundown alignment had better load and unload points than Priest Creek. Perhaps someone with more knowledge on Steamboat history can lend some expertise?

      This is different from a situation like the Storm Peak Express lift, where it made sense to shorten the existing Storm Peak triple and make that Four Points, take out the original Four Points and WJW lifts, and have the new lift start at the bottom of WJW and end at the top of the original Storm Peak. In that case, the Storm Peak Express made it so that top-to-bottom laps on Storm Peak were possible on all of its trails and there wasn’t a lift to nowhere you had to take if you missed the Storm Peak triple.


      • Myles Svec January 1, 2021 / 6:06 pm

        Sundown has a better load point because you have to take an extra turn to get to priest creek and sundown has a lower load point making it easier to make up your mind about going up Elkhead or Sundown and Sundowns unload point is to the left more of priest creek making it easier to access Storm Peak while providing the same quality of accessibility as priest creek to Sundown trails and Sunshine.


  3. Donald Reif November 12, 2019 / 7:40 pm

    The current red and gray paint job on the terminals is much nicer looking than the older blue paint job:


  4. Tyler January 24, 2021 / 9:41 pm

    For early-90s Doppelmayr experts out there: nowadays Doppelmayr mounts sheave trains are on the underside of the crossarms in all cases. On Sundown and a few others from this era, some towers are mounted below and others are above (compare pictures 9 and 12). On other Doppelmayrs from this era I’ve only seen them all mounted above (for example some of the old CLD-260s at Vail). What’s the reason for this? Both of these are 8-rockers with around the same angle change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif January 24, 2021 / 10:41 pm

      I think a lot of it has to do with lift profiles. Crest Express (to name a lift of the same vintage) has one tower with the sheaves under the crossarms because its on a rather steep climb.


  5. pbropetech January 25, 2021 / 9:36 am

    It’s mainly due to chair swing clearance. Earlier EJ carriers had longer goosenecks than current models, and it didn’t matter where the assemblies were mounted. On our S-lift, we had to put the assemblies underneath when we replaced the original Yan carriers as the CTEC models didn’t have as much clearance. There could be other factors but that’s what I’ve seen here.


    • Donald Reif January 25, 2021 / 5:06 pm

      It’s easiest to see what you mean about the goosenecks when you compare detachables with the DT grips built in the era of Spacejet terminals, and those built after the UNI-G replaced the Spacejet:



    • Donald Reif January 26, 2021 / 6:57 am

      What you’re talking about is also easiest to see when you look at the Avanti Express lift when it was upgraded to a high speed six pack. To maintain the same profile while reusing all of the lift’s old towers, it was necessary to put small extensions on the tower tubes.


  6. Miles Gately March 13, 2021 / 8:55 pm

    I have seen this lift go backwards for about 10 seconds, i wonder if it can go backwards for a full loop?


  7. Myles Svec April 25, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    It makes me wonder, is there enough space to fit the future Wild blue gondola top station, a 350 seat restaurant, a six pack replacement for Sundown, and Sunshine on this peak? I guess the Wild Blue top station may be in the building or to the left of where Sundown unloads aa you are riding up Sundown.


    • xlr8r April 25, 2021 / 2:33 pm

      I really do not like the placement of Wild Blue. Wild Blue is really going to make the resort a lot uglier. I think it would be better to build the summit lodge on the saddle between sunshine peak and storm peak. That way people arriving from both peaks can access the lodge. But these days summer sightseeing and weddings are more important than skiing when it comes to lift and lodge placement.


  8. Donald Reif October 21, 2021 / 8:44 am


  9. Myles Svec December 31, 2021 / 2:26 pm

    After the line fiasco at Sundown today, Steamboat really needs to address upgrading this lift. The lines went all the way to the priest creek bottom terminal at one point.


  10. Werner December 31, 2022 / 10:41 pm

    Originally this lift was slated for upgrade in a master plan from a few years ago, I am surprised to see it not included in “Full Steam Ahead.” Seems like some capacity increase might be in order given the new base output and popularity of this side of the hill with blue skiers.


    • gettheyoyo December 31, 2022 / 11:21 pm

      I’m guessing with the new Wild Blue gondola will provide at least a little bit of relief for people who aren’t looking to ski on the sundown pod.


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