JACKSON, Wyo. — The historic tramcar that became synonymous with the early days of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for nearly four decades beginning in the 1960s has found a new resting place since being retired from service in 2005.
“Big Red” has been refurbished with new paint, windows, flooring and wiring in an effort to preserve and share the history of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). After being mothballed for over a decade, the second-generation Jackson Hole Aerial Tramcar debuted this holiday season as a permanently sited gallery at the base of the resort where it is being used as an exhibition space to support historical education.
That first tramcar started operation on July 31, 1966. Back then, the tram took 10.5 minutes to carry 62 skiers and one operator to the top in the winter, and 45 passengers and one operator in the summer. It was retired in 2005 after nearly 40 years of service taking enthusiasts to the top of Rendezvous Mountain.
As part of the restoration of the tramcar, the interior was updated to support audio and video presentations with the goal of creating an inviting gathering space and interactive experience where visitors can learn historical information about the tramcars and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. In addition, artists will be invited seasonally to install exhibits in the rotating gallery space.
The first featured exhibition in the historic tram will showcase a documentary by local filmmaker and photographer Peter Pilafian, called Cable to the Sky. This 46-minute film takes a close look at what it took to build the new tram system, designed to operate in 70 mph winds at sub-freezing temperatures, and meant to last a lifetime.
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