The gondola, the first and only free public transportation of its kind in the United States, officially opened December 20, 1996 and was originally built to help improve air quality while expanding the ski area. Since then, it has become a popular attraction for both our residents and visitors as it offers them a front row seat with Mother Nature at 10,500 feet and access to a copious amount of biking, hiking and skiing trails as well as shops, restaurants and watering holes.

The Numbers

  •  Approximately 2.25 million passengers ride the gondola annually – and safely - and over 26  million riders have been transported since opening day.
  • The gondola operates roughly 287 days each year with routine maintenance scheduled during our off-season months.
  • It takes about 13 minutes to get from the Town of Telluride to the Town of Mountain Village.
  • A cabin travels 11 miles per hour at full speed, which means each cabin travels over 52,000 miles per year.
  • Approximately 25% of our cabins are pet accessible. We also have wheelchair accessible cabins.
  • The trip between the two towns is eight miles long whereas the gondola travels three miles between the two towns. This saves you money on gas.
  • If we relied on rubber transportation, it would take 18, 50-passenger buses to maintain a 900-people per hour capacity. This would translate to more people on the road and more pollutants in the air.
  • Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association purchases renewable energy credits from San Miguel Power Association, which funds the development and operation of regional renewable energy resources.
  • The gondola is funded by a number of financial resources with the majority of funding coming from TMVOA’s Real Estate Transfer Assessment revenues

Gondola Hours

  • 6:30 a.m. to midnight, daily during the winter and summer seasons … about 285 days per year and 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
  • In some instances, gondola operational hours are extended. When this occurs, the extended hours are posted on the Town of Mountain Village web site. Expect long lines during peak times; your patience is appreciated.
  • Without notice, the gondola may close temporarily due to weather, a power outage, or something else that is beyond our control. When this occurs, a specific operating procedure is followed.
  • During off-season months when the gondola is closed, bus service is provided to and from the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride. View the schedule here.

TMVOA is the primary funding source for the gondola that connects Mountain Village to the town of Telluride, providing approximately $3.5 million annually for operations and maintenance alone. In addition, TMVOA has funded significant improvements to the Gondola, including $6 million in 2007 and 2008 for a complete system upgrade.

The Mountain Village-Telluride Gondola is the first of its kind in the United States and is open 275 days per year from 7:00 am to midnight, providing free transportation to residents and visitors. The gondola is 2.5 miles long and the complete trip from Mountain Village to Telluride takes approximately 13 minutes. Cabins arrive almost every minute into the terminal, carrying up to eight passengers with additional capacity to carry skis, snowboards and bikes.

While the gondola also transports ticketed skiers and snowboarders to and from the mountain, it is primarily a free public transportation system and provides our residents with an easy commute to Telluride for work, school or other needs, and allows guests to avoid the need to rent a car when visiting Mountain Village. Most remarkably, it is more convenient and timely than vehicular transportation, while offering incredible vistas and a unique transportation experience.

To view copies of the Gondola Agreements, please click the below links:

First and Amended Gondola Operating Agreement, dated July 12, 1999 Chondola Operating Agreement, dated December 12, 1999 Chondola Transfer and Funding Agreement, dated June 24, 2004 TSG Expansion Agreement, dated_August 13, 1999 TSG Expansion Agreement, dated August 26, 1999


Gondola Overhaul Project

Spanning two years, the Gondola Overhaul Project entailed replacing almost every moving part of the entire system. And while the town owns and operates the gondola, the $6 million project was funded entirely by the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association. The end result: a smoother ride to Mountain Village.