The most unique public transportation system of its kind in North America will be going Platinum this year. The beloved Telluride-Mountain Village Gondola system will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on December 20, 2016. In true Telluride fashion, the destination will start the party early and kick-off the Gondola’s Platinum Anniversary this summer with a branded gondola cabin, contests and promotions that will engage guests and locals alike. A series of events and a festive gala will take place during the Anniversary month in December 2016.
“How amazing is it that a transit system is the number one rated attraction in our region on TripAdvisor,” said Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen. “The Gondola is an essential part of our communities, connecting the towns in a stunning way.”
Owned and operated by the Town of Mountain Village, the Gondola opened on December 20, 1996, one year after the Town of Mountain Village was incorporated, to provide free transportation between Mountain Village and Telluride while reducing the area’s carbon footprint. The electricity used to operate the gondola comes from on-site solar energy and wind power purchased from San Miguel Power Association; LED lighting throughout the terminals ensures it is used efficiently. With roughly 2.5 million passenger rides each year, the Gondola offers an effective mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions resulting in cleaner air for the region. It also adds to the guest experience, giving visitors ease of access to both towns without needing a vehicle, making the destination one of the most pedestrian-friendly mountain resorts in the country.
Green transportation is not the only perk the Gondola provides. It also gives riders access to hiking and biking trails in the summer and ski terrain in the winter. Guests have a front-row seat to view the striking scenery from 10,500 feet on the Gondola. The ride from Mountain Village to Station St. Sophia has an elevation gain of 960 feet, which then takes an exhilarating 1,750 foot vertical foot plunge down in to the Town of Telluride. The entire two-mile journey takes about 13 minutes. The Gondola runs daily from 7 a.m. to midnight during summer and winter.
Since 1996, the Gondola has remained a free mode of transportation. The Town of Mountain Village owns and operates the Gondola, and the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association funds operations, maintenance and capital improvements.
“The Gondola has played a vital role in our community over the years,” said President and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board Michael Martelon. “It has become an icon for the destination, and we look forward to honoring its importance and celebrating 20 years of operation in the coming year.”
Look out for the celebratory Gondola cabin, and stay tuned for further details on 20th Anniversary contests, promotions and events.