Thunderhead Express – Steamboat, CO

Doppelmayr Spacejet top station.
The breakover.
Side view of the top station.
Unloading area.
The breakover.
Looking down the steep lift line.
Towers 1 and 2.
Chair parking rail.
Return station side view.
Riding up on a bluebird day.
Doppelmayr tower head.

27 thoughts on “Thunderhead Express – Steamboat, CO

  1. Donald M. Reif February 28, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    A typical day at Steamboat will entail a ride on this or the Gondola since Thunderhead Restaurant is the gateway to the rest of the mountain.


  2. This is a lift that really could use 2,800 pph instead of 2,400 since it’s the only other way to Thunderhead besides the gondola. I’ve seen the lines that can grow when the Gondola is down for whatever reason (though only the Gondola upgrade will tell us how traffic patterns will change).


  3. Somebody February 10, 2021 / 12:57 pm

    Alterra should HSS this already and relocate it to another Alterra resort before it gets too old to bother relocating.


    • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 1:20 pm

      It doesn’t need a HSS it will barely need 1,800 because barely anyone who is skiing except expert skiers will not be able to ski new Pioneer terrain. You need to know what your doing to ski the Middle Rib as that’s what locals call Pioneer. It will need 1,800 if Pioneer lift is built but that’s 10 years out.


      • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 2:04 pm

        Oops sorry I was talking about wrong lift. This lift needs to be upgraded to HSS and I assuming that will come sometime Around wild blue.


    • skitheeast February 10, 2021 / 2:20 pm

      The new Steamboat master plan has them upgrading this lift to a high-speed six-pack. I agree that it warrants this because it has long lines which will likely get even longer after Wild Blue is constructed.


      • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 3:04 pm

        I’m guessing we will see Doppelmayr build both lifts since they have strong relations with steamboat, they built the other gondola and installed Elkhead Express.


        • skitheeast February 10, 2021 / 5:17 pm

          Perhaps, although I would definitely not say Steamboat is a solid Doppelmayr mountain. Before the new gondola and Elkhead Express, Steamboat’s three newest (not relocated) lifts were all LPA.


        • Utah Powder Skier February 10, 2021 / 5:29 pm

          @Skitheeast All of those upgrades were during ASC era. I think Alterra has done Doppelmayr only since.


        • skitheeast February 10, 2021 / 5:38 pm

          Alterra buys from both. The two lifts at Winter Park and the new Sugarbush T-Bar have all been LPA. Plus, Alterra’s sister company, SkiCo, purchases exclusively LPA these days. Given that Steamboat has a mixed fleet, I could see it going either way.


        • Utah Powder Skier February 10, 2021 / 5:44 pm

          I wouldn’t call those two examples manufacturer loyalty. Winter Park has never gone Doppelmayr and it makes sense for them go Leitner-Poma for parts. I’m sure the T-bar at Sugarbush went up for bid and Doppelmayr never wins the bids. They tend to go Doppelmayr at mainly Doppelmayr mountains and Leitner-Poma at Leitner Poma mountains.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 6:12 pm

          It would make more sense to go with Doppelmayr for Wild Blue because they built the new Gondola and they have more experience with long two station gondolas. That could be arguable with Village gondola at Whistler being a Poma Gondola and showing their construction abilities there. There is also Europe but let’s not talk about that.


        • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 6:46 pm

          We could see either skytrac or leitner-poma for the new Bashor lift and the other new fixed grips in the new learning center.


        • Donald Reif February 10, 2021 / 7:09 pm

          And look at Copper. Doppelmayr built Kokomo, but Leitner Poma built the American Eagle, American Flyer and Three Bears.

          Even Vail Resorts isn’t brand loyal, with each resort making the decisions. Beaver Creek only builds Doppelmayr lifts; Breckenridge only builds Leitner Poma lifts; and Vail Mountain used Leitner Poma for Gondola One, then Doppelmayr for the Mountaintop Express and Avanti Express, then back to Leitner Poma for the Sun Up Express and Northwoods Express.

          Steamboat has two Poma detachables. The Sunshine Express was a reinstallation, and the Christie Peak Express was under Intrawest, not ASC. Plus two Leitner Poma fixed grips in Burgess Creek and the Wildhorse Gondola.


        • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 8:00 pm

          I don’t think Alterra owns the Wild Horse gondola. Also, Burgess Creek was only built as a fixed grip because ASC had basically no money.


        • Utah Powder Skier February 10, 2021 / 8:10 pm

          I wonder if the reason Steamboat went Doppelmayr on their gondola was because only Doppelmayr could do a phased replacement on existing Doppelmayr equipment. It also helps on getting Leitner-Poma to drop their price.


      • Myles Svec February 10, 2021 / 3:06 pm

        I’m guessing we will see a Doppelmayr contract for both Wild blue and Thunderhead because steamboat has a strong relationship with Doppelmayr. Doppelmayr also built Elkhead Express and the new Gondola.


    • Myles Svec February 11, 2021 / 1:46 pm

      It has been having more and more mechanical issues in recent years. Hopefully it gets replaced soon maybe in next year’s announcement.


      • Ryan February 12, 2021 / 12:40 pm

        Great job to the crew for getting her back up and running. 17 of 18 lifts are now turning at Steamboat with Priest Creek being used as needed/Secondary. Pony Express opened today for the season now that we got some decent snow over there.


  4. michael martin February 18, 2021 / 8:57 am

    Curious-I’ve been stuck on Thead several times as I have on Timberline Express at Copper, sometimes topping 30 minutes. What’s interesting to me is that Storm/Sundown are older and reside in a tougher climate, yet seem to be more mechanically sound.

    Did Dopplemeyer have a bad run in the mid 90s with these type of lifts? Seems odd that these relatively newer versions have more issues than the early 90 era Storm/Sun. I can see that Thead’s season is longer, but not 5 years worth. Thoughts?


    • pbropetech February 18, 2021 / 11:41 am

      I’m curious when you were stuck on TEX at Copper. In all the years I’ve worked here I don’t recall any stoppages of that length. There have been some issues, all electronic, but nothing approaching half an hour. We blew the electric motor a few years back but even that wasn’t too long as we were able to fire up the aux fairly quickly.


      • michael martin February 22, 2021 / 3:20 pm

        It was either late March 2018 or 2019. They ended up giving us lift ticket vouchers for the next day.


  5. Myles Svec March 6, 2021 / 5:07 pm

    This lift was down for the whole day because of mechanical issues. It’s starting to get common now. I’m guessing this lift or Sundown will be replaced in 2022.


    • Donald Reif March 6, 2021 / 5:12 pm

      Thunderhead is the bigger chokepoint, since when it goes down, the Gondola is the only way to get to points above Christie Peak.


  6. Donald Reif October 21, 2021 / 8:40 am


  7. Ryan April 29, 2022 / 1:19 am

    Anyone know if the previous Thunderhead Telecar double was vault drive? The top terminal seems like it sits on top of an older vault.


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