News » Whistler

Decision on gondola expected soon

Province approves peak-to-peak lift



It’s so far so good for Whistler-Blackcomb’s proposal to build a gondola connecting the alpine areas of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and spanning the Fitzsimmons Creek valley.

The project received provincial approval almost two weeks ago, and Whistler-Blackcomb has made progress in finding a partner for the venture.

According to Christina Moore, the public relations and communications manager for Whistler-Blackcomb, there are “several” companies that have expressed an interest in building and operating the gondola as joint partners. The cost of the gondola is estimated between $40 million and $50 million.

A final decision on a partner was expected by the end of November. It could be delayed slightly, but Moore says it’s likely that there will be an announcement within the next few weeks.

“We’re still working to broker a deal, and to come to an agreement on terms, but it’s moving along quite quickly,” she said. “The hope is that we can still order the gondolas by the end of December, which was our goal for this year.”

The infrastructure includes terminal stations, four towers, 26 cars capable of carrying up to 30 passengers each, and enough cable to span the distance between the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler and Rendezvous on Blackcomb.

The Peak to Peak gondola will also break several records. For one, it will offer the longest continual loop lift service with a 4.4 km round trip. It will also be the world’s highest, suspended 450 metres over Fitzsimmons Creek. It also involves a 2.9 km free span between towers.

Whistler-Blackcomb is hoping the Peak to Peak will attract people to the resort, while providing a needed service to visitors — especially beginner level skiers, who will be able to access more terrain in a day.

Whistler-Blackcomb is also concerned by recent global warming trends and snowpacks at lower elevations, and look at the Peak to Peak as a way to make the most out of the alpine areas.

It will also be open in the summer for sightseeing.

Add a comment