SUMMIT COUNTY - Keystone skiers and snowboarders
enjoying the great early season conditions right now can look forward
to next season, when the resort will offer a new and deluxe ride to the
top of Dercum Mountain.
The Dec. 21 announcement that Vail
Resorts' biggest on-mountain project in 2008 will be the installation
of a state-of-the-art eight-passenger gondola at its Summit County area
came as an early - and welcome - Christmas present for many loyal
"It's about time," said Texan Jesse Durbin, who
said he's been skiing at Keystone for 15 years. "This one is too slow,"
Durbin said, wiping his goggles during a Christmas Eve ride up the
mountain. "I hope what they put in is like Vail," he said.
wish will be answered, as the new gondola will transport twice as many
people up the hill per hour as the existing lift. The bottom-to-top
ride (climbing 2,307 vertical feet) will be cut to 12 minutes, carrying
up to 2,400 passengers per hour, winter and summer.
gondola is designed with passenger comfort in mind, including
floor-to-ceiling windows and room to accommodate skis and snowboards
inside the passenger cabins. Level, heated loading and unloading
stations will be redesigned and offer convenient access for
wheelchairs, mountain bikes, strollers, sight seers, mountaintop tubing
hill guests and night-time dining guests, reflecting the fact that
Keystone Mountain has evolved to offer much more than just skiing and
The new River Gondola represents the first step in some
significant new developments planned at Keystone. The resort recently
announced plans to redevelop the Mountain House Base, and there are
also plans to reconfigure services at the summit, with the potential
for a new restaurant and lodge at the top of Dercum Mountain to replace
some of the services currently offered at the Outpost.
mission at Keystone is to provide our guests an exceptional
experience," said chief operating officer Pat Campbell. "The new River
Run Gondola will represent the most significant on-mountain project at
Keystone since the opening of the Outback Mountain in 1990," Campbell
The new gondola will be 30 to 40 percent more energy efficient than the existing one, Campbell said.
New lift, new development
Although many locals have great stories to tell
about gondola rides up Keystone Mountain, few will be sorry to see the
vintage conveyance replaced by a more modern and functional ride.
been fun," said a local ski tuner who only identified himself as
"Gravy" Davy. "We've done some crazy things in here over the years.
There's a lot of memories in these cars," he said, wiping the frost off
the window to get a glimpse of some friends on the trail below. "But
it'll be nice to get up here faster on powder days and for sure, the
lines won't be as long," he said.
The bottom terminal of the
gondola will be relocated across the Snake River and into the River Run
base area complex, easing gondola access both for resort guests and day
skiers flocking in from the remote parking areas.
second phase of this project, a new skier bridge will be constructed to
replace the current pedestrian bridge, enabling guests to ski directly
from the mountain into a newly enhanced skier plaza and skier services
area in the River Run Village.
The upgraded River Run Gondola
will follow the same alignment as the existing gondola with the top
terminal located in the same location at the summit of Dercum Mountain.
A new mid-station will be constructed halfway up Dercum Mountain with
loading and unloading in both directions, giving skiers and
snowboarders an option to access the upper trails from mid-mountain and
to download at the end of their ski day.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
-- Albert Einstein
looking to meet anyone who enjoys long, fast turns on sweet groomers, big hits or deep pow in the glades!! Must love the outdoors and not be afraid of cold temperatures or adverse weather conditions.