Gondola - Chondola

One of the most unique forms of public transportation connects Mountain Village to Telluride offering stunning 360-degree views of the San Juan Mountains that extend as far away as Utah.

The gondola, the first and only free public transportation of its kind in the United States opened in 1996 and was initially built to help improve air quality while expanding the ski area. It is entirely free to commuters and sightseers.

Since then, it has become a popular attraction for residents and visitors alike, giving them a stunning ride that caps out at 10,540 feet above sea level.

The gondola is currently closed for required fall maintenance from Monday, October 18 through Thursday, November 18. It will reopen at 6:30 a.m. Friday, November 19. A free bus runs between Mountain Village and Telluride during this time. View bus schedule.

The following protocols are in place to ensure passengers and staff safety:

  • No mask, no ride: per federal requirements, masks are required on all public transportation at this time for those over the age of 2. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering, please let operators know. Masks are available for passengers who do not have one.
  • Ventilation: Leave windows open to maximize ventilation.
  • Cabin occupancy: up to 8 people will be loaded per cabin.

To see gondola lines live, view our webcams!

Chondola Operations

In addition to operating the gondola, we also provide a high-speed chairlift referred to as the chondola in the winter only. The chondola is a condensed version of a gondola cabin supporting four passengers at a time during the ski season months and providing access between Mountain Village Center and the Meadows neighborhood. The closest parking lot to the bottom of the chondola is the free Meadows parking. From this lot, walk down Adams Ranch Road and through Big Billie’s Apartments driveway and past Big Billie’s Restaurant. The cabins are free to the public whereas skiers and boarders are required to have a lift ticket.

Please Take Note

  • Without notice, the gondola may close temporarily due to weather conditions, a power outage, or something else that is beyond our control. When this occurs, we follow a specific operating procedure, which includes erecting closure signs and running our bus service. This usually transpires when the gondola is down for a prolonged amount of time – usually 30 minutes or more.
  • Gondola hours are extended at various times throughout the year, usually for a special event or holiday. Do expect long lines during peak times. As always, we appreciate your patience.
  • During the months when the gondola is closed, we provide free bus service between the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride.
  • If you accidentally leave a personal item in a gondola cabin, please call (970) 729-3435 to speak to a gondola operations supervisor. Our procedure for handling lost items can be accessed via our lost and found web page.
  • We will do our best to accommodate passengers who wish to ride alone. To do so, please inform the gondola operator on duty.

The Numbers

  1. Approximately 3 million passenger rides annually – and safely – and more than 50 million passenger trips have been provided since opening day.
  2. The gondola operates roughly 287 days each year with routine maintenance scheduled during our shoulder season months.
  3. It takes about 12 minutes to get from the Town of Telluride to Mountain Village Village. It takes 3 minutes from Mountain Village Center to Market Plaza.
  4. A cabin travels 11 miles per hour at full speed, which means each cabin travels over 58,000 miles per year.
  5. Approximately 50 percent of our cabins are pet accessible. We also have wheelchair-accessible cabins.
  6. The trip between the two towns is eight miles long whereas the gondola travels three miles between the two towns.
  7. If we relied on rubber transportation, it would take 21 passenger buses to maintain a 1,070 – people per hour capacity. This would translate to more people on the road and more pollutants in the air.
  8. The Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association purchases renewable energy credits from San Miguel Power Association, which funds the development and operation of regional renewable energy resources.
  9. The cost to build the gondola was $16 million, and revenues to support the operational cost, which exceeds $3.5 million annually and requires over 82,000 man-hours, are realized from a number of sources with the majority of funding from the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride make a monetary contribution, and the Telluride Ski Resort contributes one percent of lift ticket sales.