Glenwood Caverns Hosts Caving Rescue Seminar

The Colorado Cave Rescue Network (CCRN) holds a caving rescue seminar roughly every two years in Colorado, alternating between Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs and Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves, located at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The most recent seminar took place April 13-14 in Glenwood Springs, with one day at the Glenwood Springs Community Center and one day in the caves at Glenwood Caverns. The two-day event catered both to cave explorers wanting to learn the basics of rescue and to rescue personnel wishing to increase their knowledge in the field.

“The seminar is really to update cavers on how to rescue people,” said Ken Headrick, a tour guide at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and a volunteer during the seminar. “We spend one day at the community center with a classroom setting to learn about cave rescue, and then we actually perform a real rescue on the second day. They hide people in the cave, and the scenario this year was four lost people we had to find. It took a few hours, but it was overall the best rescue we’ve had.”

This year’s seminar attracted 34 participants from around the state, in addition to 22 volunteers, ranging from locals such as Headrick to caving experts and speakers from the Front Range. A number of volunteers were also required to handle the logistics of the seminar, such as caving gear. One of the key areas of focus during the seminar was evacuations involving extreme injuries, such as broken backs, which prevent cavers from crawling out themselves. A large portion of the weekend was dedicated to packaging cavers onto litters, which were then carried out of the caves by other members of the group.

“For the search and rescue personnel, it gives them the experience to actually practice a cave rescue,” said Marty Reames, director of the CCRN as well as an instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC). “From the caver’s perspective, it provides an education on what it really takes to get someone out. We end up creating safer cavers by helping them realize the ramifications of getting hurt.”

The next major cave rescue seminar in Colorado will be held in May of 2014 in Divide, CO. This weeklong session will be an NCRC event.

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2013 Glenwood Springs’ MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN
Summer Schedule

2013 Glenwood Springs’ MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN
at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: Summer concert & band lineup

Breaking News! Glenwood Springs’ MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN Summer 2013 kicks off May 24 so mark your calendars. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is proud to present the fifth season of its popular Music on the Mountain concert series. Enjoy summer evenings filled with music, drink specials and a free tram ride up and down the mountain in exchange for a canned food donation to benefit the LIFT-UP food pantry.

The exact music line-up was recently finalized and here are the concert dates:

  • May 24, 2013 Summer Kickoff Concert
    Dr. Robert
    A Beatles tribute band
  • June 1, 2013
    Already Gone
    American resort rock
  • June 8, 2013
    Night Plane
    Acoustic rock
  • August 10, 2013
    Classic Rock
  • August 17, 2013
    Little Friday
    Blues oriented, straight up groove
  • August 24, 2013
    The Rock Dogs
    High-energy rock n’ roll grooves
  • September 7, 2013
    Lizard Skinner
    Eclectic mix of classic and California surf rock
  • September 14, 2013
    Acoustic Mayhem
    Folk, rock, bluegrass, cajun, irish and more
  • September 21, 2013
    Missing Link Band
    A blend of dance, rock, funk and groove tunes
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New Cabin Cars For Glenwood Caverns Tram

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be adding new tram cabin cars to the existing tram cable system Monday April 29 through Wednesday May 1. The Park will be closed during that time. For more details on the project I spoke with the Park’s Tram Manager Wade Beattie.

a group of tram cabin cars leave the Glenwood Caverns tram base in Glenwood Springs

Tram cars at the Adventure Park Tram Base in Glenwood Springs.
                                                              photo by Doug Davis

Wade explained that he and a crew of four or five other Adventure Park staff will work together with a similar-sized team from Leitner-Poma of America to carry out the job at the Glenwood Caverns tram base in Glenwood Springs. Leitner-Poma, located in nearby Grand Junction, Colorado, and their parent company, Poma, is a world leader in tramways & chairlifts, with close to 8000 installed world-wide.

The tram line currently has four pods (groups) of three cabin cars per pod for a total of 12 cars attached to the tram cable. The new addition entails adding two more pods of 3 cars each, for six additional cars, which translates to a 50% increase in tram seating capacity.

Wade reported that the new cabin cars were shipped from Switzerland, and have been traveling towards the west coast via ocean freighter.

Wade added that there are some logistics involved with the new cabin car installation. Because the cabins are very sturdily built and are not lightweight, a small long-arm crane is required to support the cars while they are being attached to the cable line.

“When the work is completed an Acceptance Test will be performed by a registered professional engineer from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board,” Wade states. “We do tram maintenance all the time, and the state does surprise inspections, so they’re a very safe form of transportation.”

“In the meantime we’ve been re-upholstering all the seats in the existing tram cars. We will also be polishing the cabin windows, and replacing some windows… in effect all tram cabins are getting a facelift. If all goes according to plan, the work should be completed and 6 new cabins will be installed by May 1.”

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Seven Steps for a Fun Family Colorado Spring Break

Families who travel together reap a lot of benefits: better health, reduced stress, renewed bonds and shared memories. Whether traveling a long distance for an extended trip or staying closer to home for a long weekend, spring break is the perfect opportunity for families to escape their daily routines of work, school, homework, chores, practices and carpools, and have some good old-fashioned fun. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers families a sure-fire plan to get rid of the doldrums:

1. Gain a new perspective from Mother Nature: The Adventure Park is nestled in the Rocky Mountains above Glenwood Springs, Colorado. After a scenic 10-minute gondola ride with views of snow-capped mountains, two rivers and the Roaring Fork Valley, you will feel nature’s calming effect kick in.

2. Learn something new to spark creativity: A guided tour of Glenwood Caverns provides the chance to learn about the area’s rich history and geology in a beautiful underground setting. Who knows what ideas might be triggered by a visit to the most highly decorated cave room in Colorado, filled with glittering formations?

3. Pump up the adrenaline: Get the heart pumping with a race down the mountain on the state’s longest Alpine Coaster. Unlike most thrill rides, you control the speed and can fly screaming around the curves and over the bumps, or use the brakes and go at your own pace as you wind through the trees.

4. Yuck it up: Laughter really is the best medicine. Throw in a few surprises and a scream or two, and the 4D Motion Theater can be a real mood-changer. Featuring three films: “A Night at the Toy Store,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

5. Take out frustrations with a laser: A game of laser tag, that is. A little healthy competition in an Old West setting, using the latest in wireless laser tag technology, can help get everyone laughing again.

6. Break bread together: Talk about the day over a meal. What was each family member’s favorite part? What did they learn? What was the funniest thing that happened? An impromptu awards ceremony with silly photos can be turned into a memory book for the family to share.

7. Start planning: Now’s the time for a family time-out. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of travel: travelers rate their health higher while on vacation and report that they sleep better upon return; employees are more creative and productive after a vacation; and couples who travel together strengthen their relationships.*

Our mission is to make people smile — so our employees are dedicated to helping you have a good time. The Funday Pass this winter is just $30 per person and includes the gondola ride and unlimited access to the Alpine Coaster, Laser Tag Arena and 4D Motion Theater. Guests can add the guided Cave Tour for just $5 more.

The mountain-top Lookout Grille has a cozy fire and menu choices that include nachos, bratwursts, hot dogs, salads, soup, sandwiches, wraps, chili and Colorado-raised hormone-free burgers, ranging in price from $5.95 to $9.95. Kids can choose mac and cheese, a hot dog or a cheese quesadilla, with chips and a small drink for $5.95.

Conveniently located on I-70 midway between Aspen and Vail, the Adventure Park is close to many of Colorado’s top vacation destinations: three hours from Denver, four hours from Colorado Springs and 90 minutes from Grand Junction. Vail, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Beaver Creek, Snowmass and Buttermilk are located within an hour of the park. Breckenridge, Winter Park, Powderhorn, Steamboat, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Ski Cooper and SolVista are within two hours.

Glenwood Springs features the world’s largest hot springs pool, hiking and biking trails, fishing, a vaudeville show, shopping, award-winning restaurants and affordable lodging options. The local Sunlight Mountain Resort offers downhill skiing and riding, trails for Nordic and snowshoeing, and snowmobile tours.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is currently open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, but will extend its hours for spring. Beginning March 8, the park will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Follow us on Facebook for more information.

* More information about the benefits of travel is available from the U.S. Travel Association.

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Learning from the Best

With shorter hours and smaller crowds during the late fall and early winter, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park management team takes time each year for team building, professional development and celebrating! They traveled to California in November for a team-building trip and as a reward for another successful year.

The team met with executives at some of the world’s top theme parks: Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farms, Magic Mountain and Disney California Adventure — including the new Cars Land.

They spent two days with Disney executives, learning about guest services, safety, quality audits, hiring and training. Nancy Heard, mountain operations manager, was very impressed by Disney’s impeccably maintained facilities and guest services, but her biggest “wow” moment was learning that they not only wash the streets every night, they dry them! Special projects manager Shiela Kendall’s biggest surprise was seeing the crew washing and polishing the trash receptacles. As you can tell from the photo, business development manager Eric Brotherson really enjoyed the pancakes.

After taking rare behind-the-scenes tours, experiencing the rides and attractions, and having in-depth discussions about the parks’ operations and best practices, the team brought back lots of ideas to enhance the customer experience here in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

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A Very Caverns Christmas!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Twelve Season Passes … Eleven Caving Helmets … Ten Gemstones Gleaming … Nine Dollies Dancing … Eight Crystal Candies … Seven Children Grinning … Six Cavers Caving … Five Caverns Rings … Four Wild Cave Tours … Three Big Pens … Two Warm Gloves … And a Pucker Powder Candy!

Need help with your holiday shopping? Head to the General Store gift shop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in scenic Glenwood Springs, Colorado!

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Winter at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure ParkWe got our first taste of winter in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, last night as snow made its way through the state. That doesn’t stop the fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is open year-round.

During the winter months, you can spend a day at the Adventure Park for $30 with a Funday Pass. That gives you a round-trip ride on the Iron Mountain Tramway and unlimited access to the Alpine Coaster, 4D Motion Theater and Laser Tag Arena. You can add a guided Cave Tour for just $5 more. That means a family of four can play at the park and have lunch at the scenic Lookout Grille for less than $200.

The Alpine Coaster, which is the longest one in the state, is fun all year long — even in the snow. (This picture is from last winter; we don’t have that much snow on the ground yet this year!) At the 4D Motion Theater, you can enjoy three films: “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Night at the Toy Store.” The Laser Tag Arena offers the latest in wireless laser technology in an Old West setting, and is great for groups and birthday parties.

Our winter hours take effect on October 30: Open Friday through Monday each week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Tuesday through Thursday. The Adventure Park will offer extended hours over the holidays. During Thanksgiving, the park will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Nov. 16 to 26, except for Thanksgiving Day. It will be also be open daily Dec. 21 to Jan. 7, except for Christmas Day. For more information about the park, visit or call 800-530-1635 or 970-945-4228, ext. 0.

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Flash Mob Invades Music on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

Flash Mob Dancers

The fourth season of Music on the Mountain concerts came to a close on Saturday night with a knock-out performance by The Missing Link Band and a first for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: a flash mob! Community Banks of Colorado sponsored this concert, and employee Michele Diamond decided to have some fun with it and spice things up a bit.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a flash mob, so I decided to plan one myself,” Michele explained.

Flash Mob Dancer at Glenwood Caverns Adventure ParkShe worked with Christina Brusig, a dance teacher at Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, to choreograph the dance to the song, “It’s a Beautiful Day” by U2, and then coordinated it with The Missing Link Band. The dancers included Michele and other Community Banks employees, along with most of Christina’s dance class.

The Missing Link Band, the only band to perform each of the series’ four years, put on a great show that brought in 906 cans of food for the LIFT-UP food pantry. This year, there were 11 “cans-for-a-tram” concerts, including a special July 4 event to benefit the victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs and a Christian Music on the Mountain evening. Altogether, the community donated 7,606 cans of food and personal care items.

In addition to Community Banks of Colorado, this year’s sponsors were Bighorn Toyota, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, KSPN, Coors, Swire Coca-Cola, Glenwood TV, Glenwood Insurance & Pinnacol Assurance and the Hotel Glenwood Springs. They helped make this the best year yet for Music on the Mountain!

Photos by Ashtyn Naylor

Flash Mob Dancer at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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Confessions of a Glenwood Caverns Tour Guide: Kathy Miller

by Kathy Miller

Glenwood Caverns tour guide Kathy Miller on the job

I have been with Glenwood Caverns for almost six years now. I was looking for a part-time job and, having visited the Caverns, I felt that being a tour guide could be a weird, fun thing to have on the resume. Little did I know how weird and fun it would be! When I was hired the current cave manager was leaving and another was starting. I had the privilege of training with both and learned a lot from each of them.

Today I get to help with training new guides. My manager, Bob Koper, and I help guides with learning all the information and how to handle groups of people. Bob is a retired science teacher and he teaches all the science. I walk through the cave with trainees, teaching them how to navigate the caves, help the guests, and stay on schedule.

I also go over guide etiquette; for example, the guide going down the stairs must move in a quick and timely manner so the guide going up the stairs can have use of the platforms as needed.

Some times our guests are not acclimated to our altitude and can have trouble catching their breath. We learn to pay attention to everyone. For example, if someone is breathing heavily, you keep showing things and telling stories until they are ready to climb more stairs. As guides we are there to protect the cave, take care of our guests and, as our mission statement says, “Make People Smile”.

For four years now I have led the “wild tours”. A wild tour is a crawling adventure on your belly, working hard, and getting filthy dirty for 2–2 ½ hours. You spend 4–5 hours crawling with guests. When you lead walking tours, depending on your shift you will walk 3 ½ miles and climb up and down 400 stairs, or 5 miles and climb over 500 stairs. Needless to say, at the end of the day you are definitely tired!

I am often asked which is better, leading wild or walking tours. They are both great
in different ways. When you are walking through the cave with a wide-eyed five year old
full of excitement and questions, that experience is priceless. You know you are
creating a memory for that family and child. Seeing things through a child’s eyes
can be very refreshing!

Wild tours are a great way to build confidence. When we get to where we are about to turn around and head out, we pick a guest to lead us out. When someone starts out scared and timid, and in the end leads the group out of the cave with a big smile on their face, that is priceless. I especially like working with scout and youth groups. Caving is an activity that can build confidence in individuals and camaraderie amongst strangers. You rely on each other and encourage each other. Many times guests are swapping e-mail addresses afterwards. I joke that it is the only job where you can kick dirt in your boss’s face and step on the owner and it’s okay. I did both on the same day!

My favorite things about being a tour guide are the people, especially children, and the cave itself. I have had the opportunity to see and experience things that I would have never dreamed of. There are places in Iron Mountain that are jaw-droppingly amazing and I have sat there thinking, wow, I can’t believe I am here.

I have met all kinds of interesting folks from all over the world. It is our job to make people smile, but many of them have done the same for me. Last December, I took a Navy Chaplain stationed in San Diego and his grown son on a wild tour.  We had a blast! I mentioned to him that I was going to San Diego in a few weeks with my 78 year old mother-in-law. I told him that she was fascinated with the San Diego Navy culture because her brother was stationed there during WWII. He gave me his card, and once there he took us on base and we toured his ship. Mom was so thrilled, like a little kid. Chappy had some payback time for me from the wild tour.  After many stairwells and long hallways he asked me if I knew where we were. I had a good guess. He then showed me how to read the letters and numbers on the wall to figure it out.

This would not be complete without mentioning my co-workers. I work with a very fun and creative bunch of people. In following online reviews and our in-house surveys, when describing our guides we hear over and over again that they are friendly, knowledgeable, unscripted, funny, patient, helpful, courteous, good with kids, and they make learning fun. I am proud of our guides and glad to be part of that team.

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6 Tips for Enjoying a Family Trip to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park this Summer

Family posing for photo“We came to Colorado for the winter, but stayed because of the summer,” is a popular saying with people who’ve moved to the state. And summer in the mountains is truly spectacular. That’s one of the reasons it is our busiest time of year. The other reason, of course, is because that’s when kids are out of school. Here are some tips to help you plan and make the most out of your summertime visit.

  1. Mid-June to mid-August is our busiest time, so plan to stay at the park a little longer than you might at other times of the year because there will be lines for our most popular attractions.
    • Insider’s tip: Arrive at the base by 8:45 a.m. When you get to the top, go straight to the Alpine Coaster or Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, since they tend to have the longest lines. Then you can head to the other attractions.
    • Insider’s tip: Visit in the evenings after 5 p.m. when the temperatures are cooler and the lines are shorter, and enjoy beautiful mountain sunsets from our decks.
  2. It can get hot up here in the summer. Arrive early, we open at 9 a.m., and enjoy the outdoor attractions during the morning when it’s cooler outside. Even though it can be hot outside, it’s always 52 degrees inside the caves! A light jacket or sweatshirt is a good idea. There’s air conditioning inside the General Store gift shop and a giant fan right outside the door. Both feel pretty good on a hot afternoon!
    • Insider’s tip: Schedule a mid-afternoon Cave Tour, then try out the 4D Motion Theater and Laser Tag Arena afterwards.
  3. Weather in the Rocky Mountains is unpredictable, and it affects the availability of our attractions. Our highest priority is the safety of our guests and employees. We use state-of-the-art technology to track storms and when lightning or high winds are in our vicinity, we take immediate steps to protect you. This can include temporarily shutting down the Iron Mountain Tramway and switching over to use buses to carry guests up and down the mountain, as well as closing down our outdoor attractions until the storm has passed.
    • Insider’s tip: July and August are considered monsoon season in the mountains. More often than not, this includes an afternoon thunderstorm. The storms are usually brief. Head indoors for a cold drink or snack, or to try out the Laser Tag Arena or 4D Motion Theater. The line for the bus can be long if you head down right when the storm hits, but often the weather is beautiful after the storm and you can enjoy the cooler temperatures and shorter lines.
  4. The summer sun is strong. Wear sunscreen, reapply it often and don’t forget your ears, lips and the tops of your feet if you’re wearing sandals. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing made of natural fabrics.
    • Insider’s tip: Forget your sunscreen? Head to the Guest Services Shack right outside the General Store gift shop and use ours!
  5. The dry air and the elevation can cause dehydration. Make sure you drink lots of fluids throughout the day. You can buy a refillable souvenir cup at the Lookout Grille, and bring it back anytime – even during another visit – for a free refill. If you feel lightheaded, find a shady spot to sit down and have a cold drink, preferably one that does not contain caffeine or alcohol.
    • Insider’s tip: you can get free ice water inside the Lookout Grille anytime.
  6. Set expectations with your kids. We’re parents, and we know how exciting it is to spend a long-awaited day at a favorite destination. We also know that emotions can run high and can impact your visit. To make your day fun for the whole family, involve your kids in the planning process. Compare our pricing options before you arrive; that will get you on the tram and up to the park quicker. Many of our attractions have age, height or weight restrictions; check these on the website before you arrive so that there are no surprises. Explain that there are often summer thunderstorms, and talk about what you’ll do if the weather impacts your visit.
    • Insider’s tip: Ask which rides and attractions your kids are most excited about, and let everyone pick two or three must-do activities for the day. Try to hit each person’s top choice early in the day.

Our website has a lot of information to help you plan and make the most out of your visit. You can also send us an email or give us a call at 1-800-530-1635, ext. 0, if you have any questions.

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