Around The Hoop

Sound of silence on a stealth powder day

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenDecember 7, 2010
The red gondola cars vanished from Aspen Mountain for "routine maintenance" Tuesday.
Troy Hooper
The red gondola cars that ferry snow junkies up Aspen Mountain are super cool not just because they provide a colorful contrast to the sleek black cars that dominate the Silver Queen Gondola cable. They are super cool because they are touted as the only gondola cars in the world equipped with a solar-powered musical system.

Passengers can either play their own music on an iPod docking station in each of the red cars or they can simply choose to listen to the Aspen Skiing Company's playlists.

The company playlists cross generations and are generally quite good. (Aspen native Mike Nakagawa, aka DJ Naka G, had a hand in the song selections.) Inside sources tell me company officials poured gallons of ice-cold water on the iPod docking stations to ensure they could withstand the winter season. The speaker is perfectly positioned so that all of the passengers can enjoy the same quality of sound.

Alas, trouble has come to paradise: On Tuesday, the red gondola cars vanished from the Silver Queen.

Locals note that the ground-breaking gondola stereo system didn't exactly live up to expectations all the time. On some of the cars the system works to perfection. On others, there have been problems.

A couple of lift operators said the cars would be back and they believed the systems needed tweaking.

Here's the company line:

“Just some routine maintenance. No big deal. Back online soon,” Aspen ski company spokesman Jeff Hanle wrote.

Let's all hope so because the red gondola cars are fun. Just like the skiing today.

Five inches fell on the local ski slopes over the past 24 hours. Back of Bell and the Dumps were full of powder stashes. The west-facing slopes were trickier with snow transitioning from powder to crud with little warning. Visibility proved challenging in the morning but the skies cleared up when the afternoon hours took hold.

Light snow is in the forecast sporadically for the next several days. See you on the mountain.

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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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