Posted on 23 Nov 2019

New Steamboat Gondola Update

The new Steamboat Gondola carries you quickly to the mountain top



The Steamboat Gondola is back in action, and just in time for a snow day! Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding as we worked through the issues. And thank you to Doppelmayr for being a great partner and quick to act in solving the problem.




Statement from Mark Bee, Doppelmayr President:
Doppelmayr would like to apologize to the Steamboat community for the interruption in service on the gondola, which was caused by a failure of the main gearbox after only two days of public operation. The backup systems functioned properly and the Steamboat team reacted quickly and appropriately after the gearbox failure. Our technicians and engineers worked around the clock with Steamboat personnel and technical experts from Germany, Austria and Canada, to replace the failed gearbox and associated components. We also took additional steps to improve the overall design and brought in a technical expert to eliminate vibration that contributed to the original failure. We have conducted numerous tests and are happy to report that the gondola will return to service on Thursday. We offer a sincere thanks to Rob Perlman, Dave Hunter and Kurt Castor, and to the Steamboat community for their patience and support. We are confident and proud of the Steamboat gondola and look forward to years of use for skiers and snowboarders.


During assembly, Doppelmayr identified one additional part needed, which is in transit and expected to arrive tomorrow. That adaptor is the last piece of a complex puzzle. Immediately following the assembly completion, the gondola will begin running for two days for testing, alignment and vibration analysis. We anticipate the gondola will be ready for skiers and riders this weekend.

We are getting closer! All parts are in and being assembled. We anticipate assembly to be completed tomorrow afternoon. Once that happens we will fire up the gondola and take the necessary time for testing, aligning and vibration analysis. We’re hoping you may see the gondola running for testing purposes as early as tomorrow late afternoon. We will continue to run the gondola for observation as needed, and once Doppelmayr and our team are confident the issue is behind us we’ll have skiers and riders back on the lift. We appreciate your patience as we go through this process.

DECEMBER 1, 2019
The first phase of new parts has been installed. This required very intricate, and very heavy, rigging to get more than 17,000 pounds of gearbox into place. The Doppelmayr technical specialist onsite will align, verify and get the new gearbox into service. This will likely take all day today and into tomorrow. The second phase of parts have arrived and the crew will begin to install tonight and tomorrow.

Once all these parts are in place, the Doppelmayr specialist will begin to align the Gondola motors with the new equipment. The next 24 hours will be very busy, very productive and will help us have a better understanding of when we can have the Gondola back in action. Stay tuned for daily updates and thanks for your patience!

What a challenge yesterday was! I-70 (the main road from Denver to Steamboat) was closed for about 8 hours due to rock slides. But despite road closures, snowstorms and everything else- the part we’ve been waiting for arrived in Steamboat late last night. We transported the part to the top terminal of the gondola after it arrived. Now the Doppelmayr expert technical team will begin the process of assembling the part. Meanwhile, the Doppelmayr design team in Austria continues to problem solve why this issue happened.
We’re getting closer and will continue to update you as we form a timeline of when the Gondola will be back up and running.

The new parts have shipped and are scheduled to arrive in Denver today. They’ll be transported by a specialized company and are expected in Steamboat late tonight. We also have a new highspeed drive heading our way- first, it is being balanced in Salt Lake City today and then is expected to arrive in Steamboat late tonight. The Doppelmayr technical team is onsite and preparing for these parts to arrive. Once everything has arrived Doppelmayr will begin to reassemble the new parts (we expect this to begin tomorrow). This is extremely technical work and will take time. We’ll continue to update as we get close to having our Gondola back open.


The custom replacement parts are now built and Doppelmayr is coordinating the logistics for transport to Denver over the next few days. Doppelmayr technical teams are on-site to prepare for the arrival of these parts.

We will continue to provide updates as we have them. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday!

The replacement part we need is currently being custom built specifically for us in Europe. The remaining members of the Doppelmayr mobilization team will arrive in Steamboat tomorrow along with other technical experts from the manufacturers. The Doppelmayr design team continues to look into all possible reasons for this and we continue to work together to find the root cause.

We will continue to update as we know more information. In the meantime, enjoy the fresh snow.

Late Sunday afternoon the Steamboat Gondola experienced a mechanical malfunction on the driveline to the gearbox that requires additional assessment. As we work with Doppelmayr to identify the problem over the next several days, we will be taking precautionary measures and the Gondola will not be running. Thunderhead Express lift will operate while the mechanical issue on the Gondola is being fixed. We will update when more information, including a gondola re-opening date, is available.

November 23rd, 2019

To much fanfare and a waiting crowd of first-time wannabes, the new Steamboat Gondola opened successfully on time today. Since the mountain closed in April work has progressed around the clock, with all new towers, hi-tech cabins with wi-fi, and everything that makes a gondola state-of-the-art in today's fast-moving world, being installed in record time.

First reports suggest that after clocking a ride time of just under eight minutes, that it’s the speediest eight-person gondola in North America. At that rate you will barely have time to check your email or post a picture to Instagram before you reach the top of the mountain.

Opening ceremonies included champagne, donuts and free t-shirts to the first 100 riders. Ceremonial dances performed to a drumbeat circle by the Northern Ute Tribe beckoned the snow and gave a nod to the original residents of the Yampa Valley. 

With 12 additional cabins and the speedier ride time, the lift will increase uphill capacity by 38%, significantly reducing wait times on busy weekends.

ToNew Gondola Wrap

(photo: Derek Maiolo - Steamboat Pilot)

November 6, 2019

Christmas came early as Steamboat Resort unwrapped the new gondola last week. Safety tests were completed on Halloween with 54 cabins put to the test. Each cabin was loaded to capacity at 1600 pounds. Who were the lucky crash test dummies? Rumor has it, it was a trashy bunch.

More specifically, plastic trash containers were filled with water to simulate passengers. Eight barrels of water weight were loaded into each gondola and carried across the finish line without issue.

The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board inspector was on the scene at Thunderhead Lodge, checking off hundreds of safety measures as the garbage cans safely made it to the top.

This new $15 million gondola not only boasts a faster ride time by about 2 minutes, 38% increased capacity with 12 additional cabins, and many added safety measures. Not only that, lift operators will be able to diagnose and fix problems faster than ever, reducing wait time for guests.

With all of the new features, we’re most excited that the successful weight safety test obviously means we can eat that extra brownie at lunch!

Did you snag that favorite historical ski sign? We hope so, as the online auction of 31 retired trail signs is now over raising at least $23,000 for the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

We’ll be testing out the new gondola ourselves on Steamboat’s opening day, November 23, 2019

October 22nd, 2019

The Gondola Construction Crew is making steady progress although the early arrival of winter will be seen as both a blessing and a curse.  It’s no fun working outside when the temps are in the teens and the snow is already piling up.

 A lone Gondola Car made its maiden voyage down Mount Werner on October 10th over a blanket of fresh snow from the previous night. The cabin descended from its storage area in the upper gondola terminal to test the lift’s alignment and heights.

 Additional cars have been placed on the haul rope in preparation for load testing.  The pristine new Gondola Cars are being kept wrapped in preparation for the grand reveal on Opening Day slated for November 23rd. Dave Hunter, vice president of mountain operations at Steamboat resort explained: “That way they maintain that new Gondola smell”.

 The cabin test comes two weeks after a Missouri family visited the resort to splice the 78-ton haul rope. Justin Knight, one of just a handful of specialized wire rope splicers in the country, hammered together both ends of the 3.4-mile-long steel gondola cable. The delicate, painstaking process makes the rope strong enough to bear the weight of all 137 cabins and their passengers. 

 With most of the construction completed, the next major step is getting the gondola commissioned by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, which Hunter expects to happen by the end of the month. 

New Steamboat Bullwheel

September 25th, 2019

Haul Rope Install

Over the past few weeks, teams have been focused on various deliveries of large equipment including the first shipments of gondola cabins and the bullwheel. This week, haul rope installation will begin which will result in the south area of the base area to be closed to all pedestrians including the plaza pavers from the Kids’ Vacation Center to the Steamboat Stage under the gondola line. Closures are expected to last for the next week. We are also expecting the second delivery of the new gondola cabins this week and work will continue on the Thunderhead building.

September 10th, 2019

As you may have heard, the big buzz for this coming ski season is that Steamboat is getting a new $15 million Gondola. This mammoth infrastructure project is on track with all new towers already in place. We were excited to see that new gondola cabins arrived at the mountain top last week to be staged in preparation for loading while crews continue work on adding the new bull wheels and haul rope.

Representing the very latest in gondola technology, the 137 new level-walk-in-cabins (an increase of 12) will offer Wi-Fi to passengers so you can reconnect with the outside world as you ride to the top.  However, you will have to move fast because the journey time will take two minutes less bringing you to the top of Mount Werner in less than 10 minutes. 

The Steamboat Gondola is just one step in a significant capital investment program being implemented over the next five years by Alterra Mountain Company across all the family of 41 ski resorts represented by the Ikon Pass.

steamboat gondola update

(Photo: Larry Pierce from Steamboat Pilot)



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