Gondola – Stratton, VT

Covered cabin parking at the base terminal.
Departure side at the base.
Leaving the drive station.
View up the line.
Upper lift line.
Lower line.
Top terminal building.
Poma towers and a new Sigma Diamond cabin.
Top return station.
Another look at the lift line.
Bottom station with vault drive below.
Tower 3 and new Sigma Diamond 8 cabins.
Depression towers 1 and 2.
Cabins in the top station.
Unique station architecture.
Middle part of the lift line.
Another view down the lift.
Tall towers.
Upper lift line.
A tower with 16 sheave depression assemblies.
The first few towers.
View up from near the top of American Express.

25 thoughts on “Gondola – Stratton, VT

  1. somebody... January 27, 2019 / 3:17 pm

    Wonder what the future holds in store for this lift. The upper half seems poorly designed, as the lift outclimbs the trees at points, which seems fine on days with no wind, but even average east coast winds shut this lift down. On top of that, this lift turned 30 years old last year, and the original equipment likely will cause issues in the coming years. A small capacity bump would also probably shorten lines dramatically on crowded days.


    • skitheeast January 30, 2019 / 6:07 pm

      They basically replaced everything (rope, cabins, motor, etc.) in 2014 similarly to what Steamboat seems to be going to do this summer, so it should be fine to run for the next 25+ years without an issue. The one thing they did not change was the towers themselves, which does cause issues with them being above the trees and causing frequent wind delays. Although the new cabins are slightly more wind resistant, the towers need to be lowered (if clearance allows it) to really make a big change.

      The capacity listed here may also be off because it may be with the old cabins and I think it might have slightly increased with the new cabins.


      • somebody January 30, 2019 / 7:36 pm

        I think I heard they actually had to have the lift re-evaluated, and the state decided to lower the wind speed the lift was allowed to run in. These wind delays existed a lot less before 2014. It has came to a point where the gondola is on wind delay more than half the time it supposed to be running. Never remember this happening 10 years ago.

        Believe it or not, the new cabins actually hold less people than the old ones. The old cabins were regulated for 12, and typically filled with 9 or 10 on peak days. The new cabins very rarely see 9, and are pretty much never loaded with 10.


      • Collin Parsons January 30, 2019 / 8:04 pm

        The old cabins were originally standing only. When they put in the mini seats it reduced the number of people that could fit in them. The new cabins are rated for 10 with 8 sitting and 2 standing, but I’ve never been in one with more than 8.

        I’m not sure what the state has to do with the wind the lift can operate in. There’s no set number. It depends on how the cabins are swinging and whether they have enough clearance on the line.

        This lift, like URSA is rarely run at full speed. I think on this lift it’s more wind related than anything as they completely rebuilt the drive during the upgrade. Fastest I’ve ridden it is at 925 feet per minute but it’s usually much slower.


      • skitheeast January 26, 2022 / 10:44 am

        Adding to my prior comments regarding the wind issues with this lift:

        The only way to really make a difference with the wind would be to realign the lift to follow the looker’s left side of the trail on Upper Standard and terminate around where the Hubert Haus is (accompanied with lower towers). Lower towers alone in the existing alignment would allegedly not do enough. When Stratton needed to gut and replace much of the lift in 2014, they looked into this, but Intrawest balked at the price tag and settled for the cheaper option of keeping the same alignment, towers, and terminal foundations and only pursuing more aerodynamic cabins.


  2. Tijsen December 24, 2019 / 7:48 am

    This year this lift is seeming to be running faster and in windier conditions than before. Of the 20 days I’ve skied here already I’ve only seen one wind hold, and it’s constantly running between 900-1000 fpm on weekends, sometimes even on weekdays


  3. Sam Altavilla December 31, 2019 / 9:11 am

    The gondola was running at 990-1000 FPM this weekend according to the display in the lift shack.


  4. Tijsen January 15, 2020 / 2:33 pm

    They run it at that speed very regularly now on weekends. Stratton this year has really changed their lift operating strategy this year. Today they still ran this lift in 40+ mph winds at the top, and still at a decent speed of around 800 fpm.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Knight January 15, 2020 / 2:54 pm

    The reason for the lowers mountain towers being so high is because they had to compensate for the Lower Standard Lift. I can agree that upper mountain towers are a bit high for windy days.


    • Teddy's Lift World January 15, 2020 / 4:05 pm

      What do you mean they had to compensate for the Lower Standard Double? It ran on the skier’s right side of the trail whereas the gondola runs on the skier’s left side of the trail. Here’s a picture of it and the gondola: http://www.chairlift.org/pics/stratton/str55.jpg


  6. Tijsen January 23, 2020 / 12:39 pm

    On tower 19 (combination tower) I believe that it was originally a normal tower and when they replaced the cabins the top part was added because I believe the new cabins are lighter than the old ones.


  7. Knight May 13, 2020 / 7:53 pm

    They indeed were. With all the faded, cracked fiberglass and scratched windows the cabins were ready for retirement. Not to mention these cabins did not offer modern seating. There was only a little side stool lining the perimeter of the cabin to lean against. The new cabins have modern seating arrangements.


  8. gavin May 24, 2020 / 10:24 pm

    What is the reason for vault drives on lifts?


    • Sam Altavilla May 25, 2020 / 7:41 am

      There can be many different reasons for a lift to have a vault drive. Space constraints, location of power source, or even overall noise factor are some examples. I would guess that the reason this lift has a vault is because the interior of the terminal doesn’t hold enough space for the drove equipment on top of all the driveshafts for the tires, chain contour, etc.


  9. Bnob Miller November 29, 2020 / 10:16 am

    I think they should replace this lift with a fixed grip. It is just not needed to have a gondola at a resort like this. They shouldn’t have any detachibles here. No resort should have detatchibles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif November 29, 2020 / 1:27 pm

      Detachables serve a purpose of getting people up the mountain faster, and so do gondolas.


      • Bnob Miller November 29, 2020 / 5:02 pm

        Nononono you dont get it gondolas are more trubble then they are worth. I would know


        • Donald Reif November 29, 2020 / 5:30 pm

          Are you here to troll or are you just misinformed? Gondolas at amusement parks are different from gondolas at ski resorts, and the same goes for detachable chairlifts.

          Liked by 4 people

      • Bnob Miller November 29, 2020 / 5:04 pm

        Nononono you dont get it gondolas are more trubble then they are worth. I would know because I work at cedar point


        • Phoenix November 29, 2020 / 5:34 pm

          While gondolas certainly are maintenance hogs, they also make for a more premium guest experience, so a lot of resorts decide they’re worth the trouble. A new gondola with heated seats and wifi helps people justify a $210 ticket ;) People are willing to pay more to ski at areas with gondolas and those areas attract more skiers, so often it makes financial sense for a resort to invest in a gondola. Gondolas also are great for summer tourism and sight seeing.


        • Utah Powder Skier November 29, 2020 / 6:47 pm

          Skiing in Ohio is very different than skiing in the Northeast and in the West. The gondola at Cedar Point is relatively old compared to most gondolas at ski areas. Gondolas (not pulse gondolas) usually have a higher capacity than most chairlifts. I agree that Ohio ski areas shouldn’t have monocable gondolas for skiing purposes. There isn’t a chairlift that I know of at an Ohio ski resort that has a length greater than 2500 feet.


    • adrskier787 March 16, 2022 / 1:54 pm

      well i think that not everyone thinks it should be 20 minute ride up if you pay 100+ dollars.


  10. VTONNY March 5, 2021 / 4:26 pm

    Wow, Stratton has a ridiculous number of lifts running in parallel. Who ever heard of more than one double chair per mountain?*

    (*this comment obviously made by a Smugglers’ Notch pass holder)


    • ne_skier March 5, 2021 / 7:19 pm

      In terms of redundancy, the only truly redundant lifts are Solstice and South American. If you wanted, you could also throw Shooting Star and Snow Bowl in there, however the resort would be a nightmare without them, as no Shooting Star would lead to massive lines at Ursa and no Snow Bowl would lead to massive lines at the Gondola and overall poor lift service to the area. All of the other lifts pretty much have their own purpose (Sunrise serves the Sun Bowl, American Express serves lower mountain, Ursa serves upper mountain, the gondola provides base-summit service, and Tamarack and Villager serve beginner terrain and real estate access). I’m a passholder at another indy mountain (Magic) and I can understand lol


    • Tijsen March 18, 2021 / 1:35 pm

      Stratton trails are able to handle a lot more skiers, which allows them to have so many lifts going to similar spots, especially the lower mountain. As far as im concerned, Smugg’s trail acreage is around 300 while Stratton’s is around 500. Smugg’s also, of course, has much more advanced terrain than Stratton, but comfortable skier/rider density is much less for blacks and double blacks than blues and greens (less than 1/3 of blue and less than 1/5 of green).

      Liked by 1 person

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