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Red Pine Gondola renovations planned to accommodate new cabins

The Red Pine Gondola has stopped spinning for the summer season, and is expected to resume operations for the winter with 55 new cabins.
Connor Thomas

The new Red Pine Gondola cabins will be ready to go this winter after Park City Mountain updates the gondola’s towers and terminals.

The new Red Pine Gondola cabins are heavier than the old ones, so a few adjustments are needed before the lift operates this winter.

The gondola used to have 60 cabins, which are slated to be replaced by 55 new cabins; half of those were installed for the 2023 summer season.

Crews determined the added weight of the new cabins made them hang at a 2-degree angle when they’re empty.

“Visually, it might be slightly noticeable. In the cabin, it won't be noticeable,” Utah Department of Transportation Ropeway Safety Engineer Brian Allen said. “The reality is that when a group of five people go and jump in a cabin, they're going to swing that far more than that 2 degrees, either way.”

When a lift hangs at an angle, coming into the terminal is bumpy.

The temporary solution this summer was to put blue water jugs under the gondola’s seats to balance the cabins. Park City Mountain Spokesperson Emily McDondald said the solution met required safety standards.

“Approximately half of the new cabins were installed in June for summer operations in cooperation with the manufacturer’s engineer and with the approval of the state inspector,” she said.

Connor Thomas
The blue jugs of water serving as ballasts can be seen beneath the benches of the Red Pine Gondola's new cabins.

The jugs were for comfort, not for safety. Allen said the gondola could have operated without them.

“Without the counterbalance, [the cabins] would go through the terminal safely without tearing up any equipment or or anything. It just wasn't as comfortable of a ride for the passenger,” Allen said.

He said Park City Mountain will adjust the gondola’s terminals during the shoulder season, allowing for a smoother ride without the jugs.

McDonald said the resort doesn’t plan to use the water ballasts this winter when the Red Pine Gondola is expected to operate at full capacity.

The resort will also install the planned reinforcements for the gondola’s towers before adding the rest of the cabins for the coming ski season.