One of Whistler's most exclusive neighbourhoods will get a little more accessible this winter with a dedicated gondola serving the area.
The towers are already in place for the Kadenwood Gondola and the remaining components - lift lines and lift huts - should be assembled before Christmas.
The $3.5 million project is being paid for by Intrawest Placemaking through the sale of lots in the Kadenwood neighbourhood. The cost of operating and maintaining the lift will be covered by strata fees. Only residents and guests of the neighbourhood will be able to use the lift.
The project was announced in 2007 with the goal of having it up and running for the 2008-2009 season. But construction was delayed as logistical plans for the Olympic Games came together.
The gondola climbs roughly 228 metres from the Creekside base, covering 925 metres in distance. The travel time has been estimated at 6.1 minutes.
To keep costs down, the gondola will be served by two clusters of two lift cabins placed on opposite ends of the line, with enough room for eight people and their skis in each cabin. It operates on a fixed rope "pulse" system, where the entire line slows down while the cabin clusters pass through stations at the base and top of the system.
There are a total of 60 lots in the Kadenwood neighbourhood that have been released in three phases. According to the latest update by the RMOW, there are still 42 lots in Kadenwood yet to be developed - although many have been sold. Lots are priced from $1.5 million.
Whistler Blackcomb is overseeing the construction of the gondola and will staff it on a contract basis with the homeowner's association. There have been discussions of Whistler Blackcomb renting the lift for resort operations, such as children's ski school programs, but to date nothing has been announced. However, with just four cabins on the line the capacity for the lift is just 160 people per hour.
The homeowner's association will determine the hours of operation for the gondola, as well as whether the lift would be open in the summer months.