Best New Gondola - 2009
River Run Gondola
Let's face it: Except for those elite few who hike for fresh tracks, most of us skiers and riders who prefer to stay in the lift-served inbounds can be a pretty lazy bunch. That's why we've chosen a sport that lets us ride up the hill while sitting in a chair and then coast downhill. The most physically taxing part of the day is the walk from the parking lot to the first chair and back. And this season, Keystone made that walk a little easier. Its gondola used to require a hike over the bridge and up a short hill before loading, but not anymore. The new eight-passenger River Run Gondola uses the same footprint, except that it stretches a little bit farther so that skiers can load in the village, right across from where lift tickets are sold. Not only is the new gondola faster, but it encourages people to download at the end of the day rather than ski down River Run, where the entire resort used to funnel out in one massive 4 p.m. traffic jam. Now those who want to get in that last, crunchy run don't have to weave through an obstacle course of stalled beginners.