Adventure Park to debut new Glenwood Gondola |

Adventure Park to debut new Glenwood Gondola

Glenwood Springs Post Independent staff report
WIth all 44 cabins now on the line, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will celebrate the grand opening of the new Glenwood Gondola at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 20.
Kalli Peze

There’s a new gondola in the Roaring Fork Valley, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is ready to celebrate its completion. The Glenwood Gondola, which replaces the park’s former Iron Mountain Tramway, has been under construction since October.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, the theme park high atop Iron Mountain will roll out the red carpet to introduce its newest attraction, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicking off the festivities at 10 a.m.

Paying homage to the grand opening of the Iron Mountain Tramway in 2003, owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley have invited two of the people who played important roles in that ceremony to come back for repeat performances.

KMTS news and sports director Ron Milhorn will once again be the emcee for the event. Melissa Miller Matis will sing the same two songs she sang when she was 15, “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “A Moment Like This.”

After the Beckleys take the first ride, the Glenwood Gondola opens to the public. The park saved the original tram cabin No. 1, which is located at the base for photo opportunities. Cake will be served on the stage in the plaza area beginning at 11 a.m. Silk’s Saloon Olde Tyme Photos will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well.

According to park general manager Nancy Heard, “Everyone at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is really looking forward to the grand opening,” 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 kickoff 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 from Basalt to Glenwood and from Eagle to Parachute. More than 17,000 people signed up, a much larger number than anticipated.

“Wow, the response was just incredible,” Heard added. “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.

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.

Park co-owner Steve Beckley said, “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 multimillion-dollar investment in the park is the largest since its inception. 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.”