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
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
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.