The gondola is an understated gem, an incredibly unique mode of transport accessing a plethora of activities, and an experience in itself.
The gondola from the Town of Telluride carries its passengers to a 10,540 foot summit before dropping back down to Mountain Village. The views are sweeping and dramatic. The snow capped mountains in the winter, the waterfalls in the spring, the aspen leaves on fire in the fall, the wildlife meandering below. The first time is simply breathtaking and most can hardly believe something like this exists.
The Oxford Dictionary places the origin of the word “gondola” to mid-16th century Venetian Italian, from Rhaeto-Romanic gondola, meaning….“to rock and roll.”
By definition, a gondola is flat bottomed Venetian rowing boat, it is open railroad freight car, it is an enclosed compartment suspended from an airship or balloon and, as in our case in Telluride, it is a cabin suspended on a ski lift….which rocks and rolls us to the top of a mountain and back down.
This gondola is a connection between two towns, which share in proximity to its surrounding mountain and outdoor playground, but have plenty of differences. One side of the line, historic Telluride retains its old mining town look and feel, and you can mingle amongst long time locals and revert to simpler times. On the other side sits Mountain Village, a newer ski resort community which is the main base of the Telluride Ski Resort and has a contemporary mountain vibe.
At its core intent, the free gondola is transportation, meant to provide a simple and clean commuting option (all the electricity used to operate the Gondola comes from wind and solar power). It is an access point to skiing, mountain biking, hiking and restaurants. In its semi-annual period of rest, its lack of operation is certainly noticeable.
Upon deeper reflection, the gondola means so much more.
Not all of us are capable of hiking to the top of a mountain to gain a bird’s eye panoramic view of Telluride, Mountain Village and its surrounding mountain ranges. The gondola is inclusive. It shares this opportunity with the masses who yearn for that experience.
Come celebrate the Gondola’s 20th year of enhancing our connectivity with us and expand your own perspective!