Avon gets its own gondola | AspenTimes.com

Avon gets its own gondola

Matt Terrell
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Virginia residents Andrew Glisson, left, and Brandon Cocke unload from the Riverfront Express gondola Thursday at Beaver Creek Landing. (Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily)

AVON, Colo. ” If you’re ready to ski, the new gondola in Avon is a fast way to get to Beaver Creek Mountain, says Bobby Allerton, a visitor from Tennessee.

It took five minutes for Allerton to walk from his friend’s apartment in Avon to the gondola, and it took a three-minute ride on the gondola to reach to Chair 15. From bed to chair lift, eight minutes isn’t bad, Allerton said.

“That was pretty handy, I must say,” Allerton said. “That wasn’t there last year for sure.”

Thursday was the first day of operation for the Riverfront Express gondola in Avon. By around 1 p.m., about 50 people had taken the ride up, said David Ogier, one of its operators.

The gondola is part of the $500 million Riverfront Village development, which is centered around the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, expected to open next summer.

The gondola is being advertised as the fastest way to get from Avon to Beaver Creek Mountain. A three-minute gondola ride delivers skiers to Beaver Creek Landing, where two high-speed quad chairlifts deliver skiers and snowboarders to the main mountain in in 16 minutes.

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For those who need to get to Beaver Creek Village, buses make regular stops at the landing.

The gondola is a short walk from Avon Station, the new transit hub on Benchmark Road which is the main stop for town, county and ski shuttle buses.

Avon leaders have said the gondola will play an important part in the planned revitalization of the downtown area. Planners are hoping to make downtown Avon a bustling core of shops, restaurants, hotels and homes, all anchored on a new “Main Street.” The idea is to have a mini downtown Denver in the mountains, a place where everything is within walking distance.

“It will motivate a lot of the redevelopment we hope to have,” Mayor Ron Wolfe said. “It will be a neat place for guests and full-time residents who don’t mind living in a more urbanized neighborhood where they can walk around, hop on the gondola and ski.”

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