You don’t have to be a skier or a snowboarder to enjoy a scenic gondola at a ski resort. Just buy a ticket and climb aboard for a unique way to see the mountain. What’s more, many ski resort gondolas run during both the winter and summer. In some cases, you can take the gondola up and then ski, hike, or bike down. Take a picnic and make a day of it.
Keep reading for some of the great gondola rides at ski resorts across North America.
Scenic gondola rides at North America ski resorts
Stratton Mountain, Vermont
Southern Vermont’s highest peak can easily be reached via a scenic 8-passenger, family-friendly (which includes Fido) gondola with views that stretch across four states. On a clear day you’ll see the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Adirondacks in New York, Berkshires in Massachusetts, and Green Mountains in Vermont. Hike to the historic fire tower with a picnic during the summer or explore any of the ski trails during the winter. Note that Stratton Mountain’s gondola predominantly operates during the summer on weekends from mid-May to mid-October. Check your season pass to see if your ride is complimentary. Among the unique summer experiences is the mountain top yoga on Stratton’s wooden yoga deck on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sunday River, Maine
Take a ride up to the top of Sunday River’s North Peak on the Chondola, a condensed version of a gondola holding four passengers, for panoramic views of the Sunday River Valley and Mahoosuc Mountains. Ride on an open chair or in an enclosed gondola cabin, and then head back down in the Chondola or stroll down one of the hiking trails. The Chondola is kid, grandparent and dog-friendly. Sunday River’s Chondola runs during the summer from early July until mid-October on Saturdays and Sundays.
Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota
Lutsen’s Summit Express Gondola, rising 1,000 feet above Lake Superior, glides from summit to summit, providing scenic views from the Poplar River Valley and the rugged north shore of Lake Superior to the surrounding peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains. Keep your eyes wide open to spot the occasional moose, timber wolf, eagle or bear. Lutsen’s gondola operates daily during the summer from early June until mid-October, while rides are available for scenic views all winter, of course, too.
Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana
Choose from an enclosed gondola or an open chairlift, then sit back and enjoy the views of Whitefish Lake, the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park on the ride to the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort. Make a day of it during the summer by enjoying lunch at the top, where dining is available until 3 p.m. Enjoy the ride (weather permitting) weekends only early on and then 7 days a week from early June until mid-September. Visit the Summit Nature Center, or access hiking or mountain biking trails from the summit. Winter season pass holders are entitled to unlimited scenic lift rides (no bike park access) at no additional cost.
Silver Mountain Resort, Idaho
Silver Mountain Resort is home to North America’s longest gondola ride, a 3.1-mile-long journey from downtown Kellogg to high up onto Silver Mountain, a year-round resort. Once to the top, guests have access during the summer to Kellogg Peak Fire Lookout trail and lift-served biking. Enjoy a scenic gondola ride, live music, and savory mountaintop BBQ at a Ride & Dine every Friday during the summer. Dinner is served from 3-8 p.m., with local musicians performing at 5 p.m. The lift ticket is included in the price, but note that reservations are required.
Silver Mountain’s gondola runs daily during the winter, and operates weekends and many midweek days during the summer.
Telluride’s gondola was originally built in 1996 to improve air quality in the region by keeping cars off the road. It has been shuttling approximately 2.8 million skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers, festival-goers and commuters annually up and over the 10,500-foot Coonskin Ridge. Telluride and Mountain Village are linked by the 13-minute ride, the first and only free public transportation system of its kind in the United States. Passengers can load in either the Mountain Village or Telluride, and ride to the midway point, Station St. Sophia. Here, you can access hiking, biking and ski trails. The Gondola runs between 6:30 a.m. and midnight beginning in May.
Aspen’s Silver Queen Gondola, a 6-passenger, 14-minute gondola, ascends more than 3,000 vertical feet from the base of Aspen Mountain to the summit. The Silver Queen is open to sightseeing passengers during the summer from June to September, as well as during the winter months. A winter sightseeing ticket lets you view all four mountains (Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk). Summer sightseeing tickets can be purchased for 1 day, 3 days or as a season pass. Kids six and under ride free. Unique dining experiences and on-mountain events, like the Aspen Music Festival, happen regularly during the summer.
The Heavenly Mountain Gondola is a stunning 2.4-mile ride in South Lake Tahoe. Enjoy stops at the Observation Deck for photos, a latte at Cafe Blue or a fun souvenir at Gondola Sports. Once you arrive at the top, head up the Tamarack Express chairlift with your scenic gondola ticket for some of the best views of beautiful Lake Tahoe and access to a series of hiking trails. You’ll also find the Tamarack Lodge up on the hill for food, drink and views of both the California and Nevada sides of Heavenly.
Crystal Mountain, Washington
Crystal’s 8-passenger gondola, just two hours from Seattle, is the only scenic gondola ride in Washington. Located at 4,400 feet, the gondola rises to an elevation of 6,856 feet over a 10-minute ride with beautiful views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range. Summer operation is from mid-June to mid-September, and is dog-friendly, too. The Summit House Restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating in summer making it the highest dining experience in Washington state.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
The Peak 2 Peak gondola connects Whistler and Blackcomb in just 11 minutes over a distance of 2.73 miles. This is the longest unsupported lift span in the world at 1.88 miles, and is the highest lift of its kind at 1,361 feet. Views along the ride take in the village, glaciers, mountains and lakes, while the stunning views continue at the top with miles of hiking trails. Whistler Blackcomb’s gondola can carry 2,050 people per hour each way and is open to visitors year-round.
Grouse Mountain, Vancouver
Grouse Mountain’s Skyride takes you above towering Douglas firs, with views of the city of Vancouver, Pacific Ocean, islands, and mountain peaks. North America’s largest aerial tramway system is the gateway to the Peak of Vancouver. The Skyride Surf Adventure is available during the summer season as you ascend 2,800 feet from the Lower Terminal to the Peak Chalet on the rooftop of the Grouse Mountain Super Skyride. The Skyride operates year-round, departing every 15 minutes from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. A mountain admission ticket includes round-trip travel via the Skyride and access to mountaintop attractions. Visit Altitudes Bistro on the upper floor of the Peak Chalet for a stunning dinner with a view.