There’s a new gondola in the Roaring Fork Valley, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is ready to celebrate its completion. The Glenwood Gondola from Leitner-Poma, which replaces the park’s former Iron Mountain Tramway, has been under construction since October 29, 2018. On Saturday, April 20, the mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, rolled out the red carpet to introduce its newest attraction. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley took the first ride. The Glenwood Gondola then opened for the public. The park saved the original tram cabin number one, which is located at the base for photo opportunities.
“Everyone at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is really looking forward to the grand opening,” park general manager Nancy Heard explained. “Even though the park has been open for a few weeks with 17 gondola cabins, this is really the big kick-off for us. We have a lot of great things planned for this summer, so this is just the first of many fun events coming up, including our 20th anniversary celebration on May 18 and 15 Music on the Mountain concerts throughout the summer.”
To thank the community for its patience while the park was closed, free annual gondola passes were offered to residents in the area. More than 17,000 people signed up, a much larger number than anticipated.
Heard added, “Wow, the response was just incredible! We had to make a special order of the plastic cards used for the passes to accommodate so many people. We continue to be humbled by the loyalty and enthusiastic support of our community.”
At $38 per annual gondola pass, that’s a $650,000 goodwill gesture to encourage locals to come up and see what’s new and to bring back those who may have stopped attending the Music on the Mountain concerts because of the lines to get up and down the mountain. With the increased capacity of the Glenwood Gondola, that should no longer be an issue. In the past, the majority of customer complaints were related to getting up and down the mountain. The new gondola is designed to be much more customer-friendly. It features 44 detachable cabins that move continuously, so the ride is faster and smoother than the former Iron Mountain Tramway. It’s also less susceptible to weather-related closures.
“When you combine the gondola, the capital improvements made throughout the park and compensation to keep our year-round, full-time employees on the payroll during the closure, this multi-million-dollar investment in the park is the largest since its inception,” Steve Beckley said. “Jeanne and I are really pleased with the dedication our managers and staff members have shown to improving our customer experience. We can’t wait to hear what our guests have to say.”
The park’s year-round attractions are open, including the Alpine Coaster, Haunted Mine Drop, both walking cave tours, the laser tag arena and 4D Motion Theater. The Lookout Grille is open with a variety of new options on the menu, and the General Store gift shop is open and also has a lot of new items.