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Retired Red Pine gondolas donated to raise funds for childcare centers

Retired Red Pine gondolas are for sale with proceeds benefiting nonprofits around town.
Parker Malatesta
Retired Red Pine gondolas are for sale with proceeds benefiting nonprofits around town.

Park City Mountain will upgrade the Red Pine Gondola this summer with all new cabins. The resort has donated 30 of the 60 gondola cars to the Park City Community Foundation which will then offer up the cars to raise funds for early childhood care and education.

Sixty Red Pine gondola cabins have been moving people up and down the mountain at Canyons Village since 1997. It was the only way to access Canyons’ terrain until 2010 when the Orange Bubble Express was installed.

This summer the iconic cabins will be retired and replaced with 55 new ones.

Christine Coleman is vice president of communications and marketing with the Park City Community Foundation. She said 30 of the 60 gondolas have been donated to help fund the Early Childhood Alliance.

This initiative supports early childhood education and care to ensure that families have access to reasonably affordable, high-quality care for their children. The gondolas are being sold for $25,000 per cabin with the proceeds directly subsidizing childcare centers.

“It's a crisis right now with early childcare providers in Summit County; families needing support for kids because federal funding is going to stop and the childcare system is just, it will fall apart unless we get funding for this,” Coleman said. “So we have donors and nonprofits that have been coming together and also so local government is hopefully considering providing public funding to help alleviate this issue.”

Coleman said if a donation of $25,000 for a cabin is not in the cards, there are other opportunities to donate to the Community Foundation’s initiative and possibly walk away with a gondola.

“You can enter a drawing to win a gondola cabin and purchase a ticket, a drawing ticket, so one ticket $100,” she said. “And I think it's 10 tickets for $500.”

Coleman said there will be an event on June 23 at Canyons Village to announce the winner of the drawing as well as an auction for the remaining gondolas.

“So it's going to be a fun family-friendly event where we'll announce who wins the drawing, the opportunity drawing, and have an auction for I'm not exactly sure how many of the gondolas yet, will be up for the auction,” she said. “But there's a lot going on with this. And we're really excited to see the excitement that has been building.”

Sara Huey is the senior manager of communications for Park City Mountain. She said the remaining 30 cabins will be sold to benefit other nonprofits.

“Among the remaining cabins, five will be auctioned to benefit the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History to support their efforts to preserve mining structures here in Park City," Huey said. "And another 15 will be auctioned later to benefit the Epic Promise Employee Foundation, which offers grants and financial support to help Vail Resorts employees in times of need. We also have a few earmarked for our own employees as well as internal partners, such as the Canyons Village Master Association.”

So what do you do with a gondola? Coleman said she’s heard of several inspired ideas.

“I mean, we've heard everything from somebody creating, you know, the little backyard office to creating a sauna to creating a playhouse,” she said. “There's some amazing photos of a place that redoes gondolas where they turned a gondola into a coffee bar, like an actual business.”

Coleman said the gondolas are cumbersome and heavy. They will be delivered for free to their final resting spot as long as it’s within a 25-mile radius of Canyons Village.

Get more information on buying a gondola here.