Since 2015 has just been around for a few days, we thought we’d look back at the highlights of 2014. What a year it was up here on Iron Mountain in Glenwood Springs, Colorado!
Our sixth season of Music on the Mountain kicked off with a twist and shout on May 23 with Beatles tribute band Doctor Robert. This was the second season opener for the band and, like last year, they had the audience on their feet and singing along.
The new Glenwood Canyon Flyer opened on May 23 as well. The ride, which was constructed in Venice, Italy, is perched on the edge of Glenwood Canyon, right between the Giant Canyon Swing and the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster. Our guests loved flying out 1,400 feet over the Colorado River and gave it rave reviews.
The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride was completely redesigned. It begins at the same spot as in the past, but nearly everything else about it is new. Guests now board at ground level near the Alpine Coaster — there are no longer any stairs to climb — and are then carried backwards, 600 feet up the mountain. At the top, they reverse direction for a thrilling zip ride back down to the ground.
We added live music to our schedule every day during the summer, along with more entertainers to keep you smiling during your visits to the park. Alongside the Nature Trail, which leads to the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster and the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, the new Cowboy Camp provided a perfect spot to sit down, kick back for a while and enjoy live Western music. In the plaza area just outside the General Store, the Harmony Sisters made guests laugh, dance and sing with their funny and engaging musical shows.
Doc Holliday and Kid Curry lookalikes were back this year to stir up some trouble and pose for photos in the plaza. Our own Bob Koper, who was the very first employee hired by our owners back in 1999, roamed the park as the Roving Rock Ranger, sharing his knowledge of geology and park trivia, mixed in with science tricks and optical illusions. Our new Blacksmith Shop, complete with a working coal-fired forge and anvil shop, was a hit with guests of all ages.
We enjoyed national attention when the crew from The Travel Channel’s popular series, Hotel Impossible, came up to the park for a visit. Host Anthony Melchiorri toured the caves with Steve Beckley and local hotel owner Josie Fit, and even faced his fear of heights by riding the Giant Canyon Swing!
In June, we were thrilled to receive three Locals’ Choice Gold Awards — Best Local Attraction, Best Place to View a Sunset and Best Music Venue — and a Bronze Award for Best Local Event for Music on the Mountain. What an honor! To show our appreciation for our loyal locals, we kicked off Friday Afternoon Club on the Mountain, with free tram rides and live music during July and August.
Our owners, Steve and Jeanne Beckley, along with Mogli and Coop Cooper, announced plans to redevelop the historic Iron Mountain Hot Springs on the bank of the Colorado River in August. The plans received unanimous approval to proceed from the City of Glenwood Springs on Oct. 16 and a groundbreaking ceremony a few days later received media coverage across the country. The Iron Mountain Hot Springs will be operated by Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and is expected to open summer of 2015.
We enjoyed even more national attention on August 29, when USA Today and Park World editor Paul Ruben named our Alpine Coaster as one of the 10 Best Roller Coaster Rides of Your Life!
Music on the Mountain wrapped up a record-breaking year in September. The community donated 12,427 cans for the LIFT-UP community food pantry during 2014, exceeding our goal of 10,000 cans by almost 25 percent. The total since the series started in 2009 is 43,598. We are so fortunate to live and work in such a caring, supportive community.
On November 1, which is typically a pretty quiet time in Glenwood Springs, we kicked off the first Winter on the Mountain. Our guests have enjoyed a dazzling display of more than a half million lights, a warming hut, fire pits, a new 4D movie and lighted, nighttime rides on the Alpine Coaster and Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, visits from Santa and local caroling groups and a giant Christmas tree with a light show choreographed to music. Winter on the Mountain continues through March 1.
Internally, we had also had an exciting year. Tessa Ebert, a 2014 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, was the recipient of this year’s employee scholarship. To help us accommodate our growth on the mountain and at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Nancy Heard was named general manager, several of our supervisors were promoted to manager, Heather Austin joined our team as sales and marketing manager, and Bret Pfost, who spent the last 30 years as a senior leader at Disney Parks and Resorts, came on board as assistant general manager of the park and the hot springs.
Thank you for helping us make 2014 one of our best years ever. We wish you and your family a happy, healthy and joyful 2015.