Monday, December 9, 2013

I hate Gondolas. (Rant)

Warning, Rant incoming -

Why is it that the ski world has an obsession with Gondolas? It seems to me, that at least here on the Beast Coast, all of the really, really popular mountains have gondolas. Killington, Jay, Cannon and Loon all have them, and are arguably some of the most popular mountains in the Northeast. Now obviously these mountains are popular due to their terrain, not their gondolas, but what is it that makes resorts think they are a good idea?

The argument for them, is clearly that they get you out of the elements. This seems like a good idea, but really, outside of truly extreme weather conditions, I do not see how that is necessary. Consider the equipment you are wearing when skiing. Generally something extremely warm, coverings all of your body. When I get into a gondola and I am all layered up to deal with sub-zero (f) temperatures and biting cold 40 mile an hour winds, the last thing I want to do is to have to get into a small box where there are no winds and the temperature is mid 50s by the end of the ride. I now have to unzip/unlayer, or sweat my ass off riding up the gondola, so when I get out at the top I am now sweaty, and in a extremely cold environment. That is not a particularly good combination, and I would argue more detrimental than sitting on an exposed chair where my outerwear is properly regulating my body temperature for 10+ minutes.

On top of this, the whole gondola process steals valuable time from your skiing as well, and when a ticket cost 90+ dollars at some of these resort destinations, you really want to get your monies worth out of the day. Consider a normal chairlift, and for my example purposes, we will assume there is no line. You simply ski up, sit down and be whisked on your way up the mountain, total time spent? None, you skied to the chair and sat your ass down.

Now think of the best case solution gondola, the 4-8 seat enclosed gondola, like the kind Loon or Killington has. You get to the base of the mountain, have to take your skis off, clip them together, walk to the loading platform throw them in the side of the gondola, awkwardly get in the thing in (made so much better by being in ski boots), then be enclosed in a tiny room with a bunch of sweaty ass people for the duration. Total time spent? Like 5 minutes and a bunch of awkwardness on each end.

The other gondola solution, is the hell that is one of the large Gondolas that Cannon or Jay has. These things are truly miserable, and yet for some reason, people seem to love them! Not only do you still have to take all your gear off and deal with overheating, now they make you stand the entire time with 80+ other people who generally don't know how to competently hold any of their equipment. Theres nothing I can imagine that is more enjoyable than standing in what is essentially a subway car, with a horde of other people holding long, heavy objects covered in sharp metal edges as it rises suspended from a cable hundreds of feet off the ground that is exposed to high winds. If you manage to walk in the door and catch the thing, it doesn't take much longer than a chairlift (although it doesn't give your feet a chance to rest, as you get to stand in your boots for the duration.), but if you say, just miss one of the two cabins, you now have to wait 10-15 minutes before you even get to start moving. Nothing like taking 30 minutes to get to the top of a mountain once. Talk about a waste of your money with today's ticket prices.  On top of that, because you are sitting less, you are almost guaranteed to take more breaks in the lodge so you can sit down and rest your feet. Even more time spent off the slopes.

It seems to me, like the perfect chair is one of those regular chairlifts that has the plastic bubble over the top that pulls down when you pull down the safety bar. I personally have never seen one around here, but I have seen them in pictures and they look amazing. You get a good amount of protection from the elements, but not so much that you start overheating, and you get the comfort of a regular chairlift without any of the extra wait time associated with any type of gondola.

Anyway, that is my rant on gondolas. Feel free to argue in the comments about why they do or don't suck.

Charlie out.

Copyright Charles Boulanger and Skiing, Gaming and Guns, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Charles Boulanger and Skiing, Gaming and Guns with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

1 comment:

  1. to be fair cannon has a tram that is 75 passeneger and was there before any of the chairlifts and it is probally like a 7 min ride to top and i think is good cinsidering cannon has a 69 dollar lift ticket