Adventure Park to celebrate Glenwood Gondola grand opening
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 of last year.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, April 20, the theme park on Iron Mountain will roll out the red carpet to introduce its newest attraction, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony and other events.
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 for repeat performances.
KMTS news and sports director Ron Milhorn will be the emcee for the event. And 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 for the public. The park saved the original tram cabin number one, 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., and 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.”
The park and gondola have been open for a few weeks, but with only 17 gondola cabins to start. The new gondola has 44 cars.
“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,” Heard said in a news release.
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.
“We had to make a special order of the plastic cards used for the passes to accommodate so many people,” Heard said. “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,” she said.
With the increased capacity of the Glenwood Gondola, that should no longer be an issue, Heard said.
The new gondola 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, she explained.
“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,” he said. “We can’t wait to hear what our guests have to say.”
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