Wild Blue Gondola I – Steamboat, CO

This gondola connect Steamboat’s village with a new learning center.
Relatively flat lift line.
A very tall tower with combination assemblies.
View up at tower 6.
Lower station and the first three towers.
Side view of the bottom terminal with a large maze area.
Lower station overview.
View up from the bottom.
Towers 1 and 2 adjacent to the base area station.
Cabins turning around during the first season without section 2.
Downhill loading area.
View from the middle station.
View up the middle part of the line.
Return terminal in the village.
Cabins only load in the straight sections.
D-Line terminal.
Downhill side of the bottom terminal.
Downloader unloading point.
CWA Omega V cabin with 10 seats.
Top terminal with cabins turning around.
For the first season, only half of the upper section’s bottom terminal was installed.
Drive station next to the existing Bashor lift.
Tower 10 and the top terminal.
Conical tower.
Upper part of the lift line.
Another tower.
Tower 9.
View down the line.
Side view of a support tower.
Assemblies with 16 sheaves.
View down at tower 6.

26 thoughts on “Wild Blue Gondola I – Steamboat, CO

  1. jcartergibb December 24, 2022 / 11:01 pm

    wholly smokes! you got every angle of every part of this beast! so cool meeting you today also

    Liked by 2 people

  2. OttawaSkier December 25, 2022 / 11:20 am

    A monster lift! This will be huge once stage II is built.


  3. Donald Reif December 25, 2022 / 11:55 am

    Until Stage II opens, this is kinda a gondola to nowhere. Sure, beginners and ski school can access Greenhorn Ranch, but for intermediates and higher, I think they’re better off continuing to use Christie Peak to get to the Thunderhead Express.


    • pbropetech March 19, 2023 / 6:15 pm

      I disagree. I jumped on this today, had a cabin to myself, and it took me directly to Thunderhead Express. I thought it was pretty slick as the line on CPX was decent-sized.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Calvin December 25, 2022 / 11:57 am

    Why the sheaves of different sizes? Doesn’t that make maintenance/part supply harder?


    • Myles December 25, 2022 / 3:19 pm

      I think it has to do something with weight and wind forces on different parts of the line. From others in the lift industry I’ve heard that the 500 mm ones are for PTO and the 740 mm ones are for deflection.


      • pbropetech February 28, 2023 / 3:10 pm

        These assemblies appear to have the 500 sheaves in support and the 401s in compression. For comparison, the 401 sheaves are standard on fixed-grips and detach quads, as well as some sixpacks. The 500s are used in larger installations where the rope diameter is bigger. This rope is a monster at 64 mm!

        Myles- the 740s were indeed for deflection, but they haven’t been used for years. We have them in our UNI, they may have been used in the Spacejet, but then they disappeared. Yes, the 500s were for PTOs originally. The UNI-G and -GS terminals used the 500s for everything. The 740s may have been resurrected for the D-Line terminals, I don’t know for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

    • pbropetech February 28, 2023 / 3:15 pm

      Not really, as both sizes are standard on various installations.


  5. Ryan December 25, 2022 / 1:36 pm

    Looks like someone decided to spend Christmas at one of my favorite spots in Colorado.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. bigskymtskier December 26, 2022 / 5:04 pm

    where are planning to extend this to


    • bigskymtskier December 26, 2022 / 5:05 pm

      where are they* sorry


      • OttawaSkier December 26, 2022 / 6:02 pm

        Stage II will go to the summit of Sunshine and Sundown.


  7. Werner December 31, 2022 / 10:37 pm

    When completed will this gondola be able to operate through the lower stage only? Seems like the upper portion will have some significant wind exposure. If so, is this going to be essentially two lifts (like Killington/Blackcomb) or something else?


    • ShangRei Garrett March 8, 2023 / 7:10 pm

      Yes, this will be able to spin as two lifts or one. Interestingly, the upper section will run 7 m/s while the lower will run 6 m/s.


  8. No January 20, 2023 / 8:01 am

    Suggestions for Steamboat:

    Storm Peak and Sundown are major arteries and are getting long in the tooth – upgrade them to HS6
    Upgrade Burgess Creek to a high speed lift
    Either put another lift in Morningside back to Sunshine (would love to be able to lap Cowboy Coffee) or put in a surface lift so that there is a way out of Morningside besides a short hike or Buddy’s Run
    Now that there are two gondolas, rename the first one “Thunderhead Gondola” or something


    • William February 18, 2023 / 5:22 pm

      I would agree on everything but for Morningside, upgrading the existing lift to a HSQ and adding another from the base to the top of Sunshine would be very beneficial since the alignment of the existing Morningside is a little bit out of the way, especially if you are trying to go to sunshine. The line can also get backed up very long, I went and I waited 25 minutes. I would also add upgrading Sunshine to a HSS or building the Sunshine II lift.


  9. kaden01m February 28, 2023 / 1:32 pm

    Why would they only partially build the mid station last summer? looks like 80% is there. Seems silly to now have to partially take it apart to build the rest when they could have just built it all, and then focused on tower install and the upper terminal next summer


    • pbropetech March 19, 2023 / 6:12 pm

      Skied there today. If you weren’t aware, modern detach terminals are built in modular sections, trucked to the site, then lifted into place and bolted together. Looks to me like the angle section was necessary to complete the lower stage, and the end panel was simply bolted onto the existing stubs. It should be relatively easy for them to remove it this summer and then put it on the end of the newly-completed section.

      Liked by 3 people

      • ShangRei Garrett March 19, 2023 / 8:13 pm

        I don’t have all of the technical knowledge you have, but when I was up inside of the terminal, it didn’t look like the angle part was necessary to finish the first stage. My thought was that it was just so that they could get as much of it done as possible so that they have less to do this summer.


        • pbropetech March 20, 2023 / 7:36 am

          Could be- I’m sure they wanted to get as much done this past summer as they could.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Muni March 8, 2023 / 4:02 pm

    These appear to be the first cabins in NAMER with those articulated seats.

    Interestingly, we got a chance to ride the Kumme Gondola at Zermatt this year, which has very similar seats (and is probably the nicest mono-cable gondola I’ve ever seen). Those cabins also had these amazing slots for your skis *inside* the cabin … way more efficient to load:

    I’d be curious if US lifts can order those floor slats (and why they haven’t already done so). It’s so much more convenient than messing around with the exterior racks, and a bunch of resorts seem to be dropping the racks anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everett March 8, 2023 / 5:35 pm

      The main issues with these floor slats (they are officially called TWISTIN racks) is they do not accommodate wide or twin tipped skis all that well. They also obviously don’t fit snowboards. A full cabin with these mounts feels very crowded, and it also leads to more damage to the cabin from all the extra equipment being brought in.

      The extra loading efficiency is definitely a big plus, however given the types of equipment American skiers and riders like to use they don’t improve on the external rack as much as it may initially seem.


      • Ryan Murphy March 18, 2023 / 2:12 pm

        Just to build on this, we see a lot more wide skis in the Western part of North America. I ski a 112mm underfoot twin tip ski as my daily ski and I’m not the only one using something that wise consistently. The racks are a nuisance, but once you get used to how to load the ski, it isn’t that bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Muni March 19, 2023 / 9:42 pm

        those slats run diagonal, and it looks like there is some room to widen them. I bet they could be adjusted to handle powder skis. The interior of the slats have these ratchet-style plastic zig zags, so skinnier skies aren’t sliding around. Overall I think it’s a super clever design that could be extended further.


  11. icefaceny March 20, 2023 / 11:54 am

    It looks like the foundation for towers 1 and 2 is heated, how else does it have no snow on it with no shoveling evidence?


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