Photo by Nest Labs

Check out Nest’s smart gondola

It's a home away from home, shuttled above the snow.


Selena Larson


Published Dec 29, 2014   Updated May 29, 2021, 9:27 pm CDT

There’s nothing worse than climbing into a ski lift, only to have your backside frozen to the metal seats while your limbs tighten up from the cold mountain air and lack of movement as you travel thousands of feet across a frozen tundra.

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Anyone who’s experienced the plight of travel time between the moment your skis or snowboard leave the icy ground and hit the snow on other side will welcome a trip in Nest’s new Nest Express, a completely redesigned gondola ski lift.

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Connected home company Nest Labs turned one lift at Squaw Valley into a tiny house, complete with Nest products including the Nest Learning Thermostat and a Nest Protect: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarm. The Squaw Valley park is located near Lake Tahoe in northern California, just hours away from Nest Labs’ headquarters in Google’s Palo Alto, Calif. offices.

The lift is a cozy mode of transportation, featuring wood-patterned walls, curtained windows, and framed photos for a welcoming ride across the snow. People are already climbing into the Nest Express and sharing photos from the revamped gondola.

While the redesigned lift is simply a nifty advertisement for Nest, it’s also a creative way to shuttle people back and forth, ditching the older, uncomfortable ski lifts for what could potentially be the future of transportation for winter sports. Nest’s embedded products won’t be super useful as it’s unlikely a fire will break out or that Nest’s thermostat will learn everyone’s temperature preferences, but the company will probably get a few new customers thanks to its cozy and creative mountaintop makeover.

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Photo by Nest Labs

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2014, 2:47 pm CST