Best of the Boat: Best Place to Propose/Get Married — Top of the gondola | SteamboatToday.com

Best of the Boat: Best Place to Propose/Get Married — Top of the gondola

Julia Ben-Asher

Jennifer and Lucas Sherman celebrating their nuptials at Thunderhead Lodge. Photo courtesy Andy Barnhart

It's official: The top of the ski mountain tops the charts as the best place to tie the knot — and alleviate stomach knots by popping the big question.

The views are what first draw many couples to the setting of Mount Werner, whether the nuptials are surrounded by the white of winter, greens of spring, subtle shades of summer, or foliage of fall.

"I picked the most picturesque location I could find," says Janessa Rinaker, who got married on the lawn of Thunderhead Lodge with a reception at Four Points.

"We wanted someplace that would really showcase the beauty of Steamboat," adds Kristen Gornell, who married her husband in a similar mountaintop wedding. "We thought that from the top of the mountain, people could really see what drew us here to live and work."

The gondola rides to and from the wedding are also a consistent hit, especially for guests coming from out of town.

"A lot of them had never been on a gondola; they absolutely loved it," Gornell says. "We just had to keep reminding them to drink water."

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Summertime on the mountain — the most-booked season for brides and grooms — generally hosts about 60 weddings; this summer, with the gondola's maintenance work, saw about half of that. But even when the gondola was closed, weddings still took place — using shuttles and sometimes even the Thunderhead chairlift to transport guests.

It's all about the views behind the bridal veils. "Whether it's a destination wedding or a locals' wedding, the feeling of being up there is such an experience," Rinaker says.

Ceremonies are usually held on the lawn or vista-filled overlook. After cocktail hour on the third-floor deck, receptions, which sometimes last until midnight, are often held in the Champagne Powder Room, which can handle up to 250 people, or the more intimate setting of Hazie's, which can accommodate parties of 60.

"It's a great spot for a wedding," says event planner Lindsey Yochem. "Everyone loves the full experience, from riding the gondola to the spectacular sunsets from the deck."

The resort offers all-inclusive wedding packages including various menus, bar options, scheduling and planning services and more. "We generally plan everything around what time the sun sets," says Rachel Radetsky, banquet manager for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Combined with the setting, it's this attention to detail that makes the location shine. "Everyone at the mountain went above and beyond to make sure all our guests were happy," Gornell says.

And at the end of each wedding, the newlyweds ski, ride or take the "Just Married" gondola cabin — an idea credited to the gondola mechanics — down the mountain and into their married lives.

See the complete list of 2017 Best of the Boat winners here.

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