Best Chairlift — Best of Vail Valley 2019
1. Gondola One
2. Northwoods Express
3. Eagle Bahn Gondola
Gondola One opened in 2012 with Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer smashing a bottle of champagne against a steel support on the lift, and was celebrated as the fastest gondola of its type in the world, creating a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity over the previous Vista Bahn Express Lift. The gondola was the first of its kind in North America, with 10-passenger cabins featuring heated, cushioned seats and Wi-Fi access. It has a speed of 1,200 feet per minute and a ride time of just under eight minutes.
The opening of Gondola One coincided with Vail’s 50th anniversary. While 110 of the gondola’s 111 cabins were designed with a silver finish and full-length tinted windows, cabin No. 50 was painted gold as an ongoing reminder that the lift is an integral part of Vail’s 50th anniversary celebration.
More than 70 percent of the lift was manufactured just two hours west of Vail at Leitner-Poma’s Grand Junction plant. The cabins and other portions of the gondola were constructed in Europe.