Public gondola planned for 2009

Wildhorse project moving forward


— The developers of Wildhorse Meadows have formalized plans to link their multi-phase residential project with the base of Steamboat Ski Area via a new gondola.

Resort Ventures West President David Hill announced last week that Wildhorse Meadows has entered into an agreement with Leitner-Poma to engineer the public gondola that will ferry passengers from the new Trailhead Lodge to an upper terminal near the ski area's gondola building.

"The gondola will come in two phases," Hill said. "You've got to design it and then final price it."

Resort Ventures West Vice President Brent Pearson said his company has provided Leitner-Poma with a $3 million letter of credit that assures owners in the development that the gondola will be completed.

Leitner-Poma also is building the ski area's new Christy Peak Express chairlift. The company has a manufacturing plant in Grand Junction.

Construction on the Wildhorse gondola will begin next summer, but it will not be ready to carry passengers until the beginning of the 2009-10 ski season. Completion of the gondola must be timed with the construction of another project under separate ownership because its upper terminal will be located in a public plaza that will be part of the One Steamboat Place resort-style development.

"Initially, we'll do the bottom terminal and the towers in Wildhorse Meadows and perhaps the towers on the knoll," across Mount Werner Circle, Hill said. "The upper terminal can't be built until the parking structure for One Steamboat Place is built. The city has to sign off on the plaza area for the gondola to be ready."

Construction that takes place next summer will help to ensure completion of the gondola in time for the winter of 2009-10, Hill said.

"If all we have to do (the second summer) is that upper terminal, that's great," he said.

When the complex process is complete, it will dramatically change the appearance of the lower ski base, with groups of enclosed gondola cars rising out of a new resort village and spanning a public street on their way to the lifts that take skiers to the slopes.

"It's a public lift," Hill said. "But it will not handle the (passengers generated by) the whole Meadows Parking Lot. It's not designed for that."

Hill said ski area surveys reflect that the skiing public enjoys the convenience of having its shuttles meet them at their car in the parking lot. Members of the general public on foot in the Wildhorse plaza, or pedestrians wishing to travel to the lower ski base, are welcome to ride the gondola.

The new Wildhorse gondola will be distinctly different from the ski area's gondola, which features cabins that detach from the haul cable as they come through the terminals.

Wildhorse's "fixed-grip pulse gondola" will have four groups of three cabins, each cabin accommodating six people. Each group of three cabins will leave the terminals in a pulse and then slow down upon arriving at the next terminal. The two groups of cabins at the midway point when others reach the terminal also will slow down because they are fixed to the haul cable.

The gondola will travel at 1,000 feet per minute and produce trip times of about 4 minutes, 30 seconds, Hill said. A detachable gondola might make the same trip in 2 minutes, 30 seconds, he added.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail


pghsteamboat 9 years, 5 months ago

this is a real shame. My understanding was that the town would receive a free gondola for the meadows parking lot in return for approving the wildhorse plans. Now, they've weaseled out - Town Council - stand up to these people - NOW - before it's too late.


Hill_S 9 years, 5 months ago

Seems like a real waste of time, resources, and an oppurtunity to build this pulse style gondola. Why bother?


fisher 9 years, 5 months ago

you have got to be kidding me!!! So we will do NOTHING to alleviate the congestion on Mt Werner circle?? Increase traffic, do away with parking (1 steamboat place), and build a gondola that will not serve anyone..... are we really on the right track? Council members.. please stand up, this project seems to get worse by the day.....


spukomy 9 years, 5 months ago

Any guesses on what they will charge per ride?


2007 9 years, 5 months ago

When the developer indicates that it will be a public gondola, does he mean truly public, in that Steamboat's elected officials will maintain control as they do with the bus system or does he mean it is a private enterprise that will be open to the public at a cost? These are very different things. Then the article indicates that "When the complex process is complete, it will dramatically change the appearance of the lower ski base" my concern is that this private gondola will be unsightly, will go over a major road into the ski area and will remain under the control of private individuals. This appears to be a big benefit to the developer, but I don't see that the residents of Steamboat will really see as much benefit, compared with the sacrifices we will make to the landscape. If a developer bought pieces of property on opposite sides of the Lincoln Street and wanted to make a walkway/bridge over Lincoln Street, why would he be allowed to do it? All benefit to him, but a blight on the landscape for the town.
I seem to recall that this gondola was pitched to the community as a good idea as it would offer a means for the public parking lot to move people to the slopes without busses. Now this isn't the case. Once this is built it will be there forever. The town should tread carefully and have details about access and passenger costs sorted out - and committed to- before proceeding.


Lovesteamboat 9 years, 5 months ago

Public Gondola from Wildhorse AND Meadows Lot is a good concept

...but it needs to have adequate capacity to carry the public. Not just 72 condo owners. (3 x 4 x 6)

My kids and I would ride the Gondola instead of the resort shuttle. Use a few resort shuttles to continue picking people up at their cars throughout the meadows lot, but deliver them to the Wildhorse gondola terminal. The Shuttles stay in the lot instead of making the sketchy left turn by Pine Grove Road. This would reduce shuttle vehicles around the base area / gondy transit center, and would not compromise guest service.

The "Fixed Grip" design is a MAJOR FLAW. You'll see an empty cable with occasional groups of 3 cabins. You don't see very many of these as a result of their impracticality.

So why would they build this style lift??...because it's cheaper.

If City Council & Planning allows this to be built, they MUST require a detachable, high-speed design, with 8 passenger cars evenly distributed along the cable that provides an adequate capacity to the Steamboat public.

Make RVW build us a REAL lift with REAL value to our community.


ijustlookhi 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree c'mon can we make a decison that really is for the community and not just developers pockets! PLEASE this is maddening!


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