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Peak 2 Peak leaves an impression on first passengers

Record-breaking lift between Whistler and Blackcomb opened today

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"I think it will be great for skiing. At the beginning I didn't know what to think of it, but now I can see the potential. I can see that it is really going to make a big difference."

The gondola has the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind in the world at 3.024 kilometres. It is also the highest lift of its kind off the ground.

Even Dan Doyle, the head of venue construction for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games, came to the resort to take a ride.

"It was phenomenal," he said.

"What a great thing to bring to Whistler. I wanted to come to see it because I am an engineer, and this is a phenomenal feat. Look at the towers, look at the cables, and the cars. It is fantastic.

"We think the Games are going to show the world what Whistler-Blackcomb is all about, and now we will be able to show them this as well. It will be great."

Whistler-Blackcomb's Dave Brownlie could hardly contain his excitement in announcing the opening.

With an ear-splitting smile he told the huge crowd that when he first heard of the idea from Hugh Smythe he just smiled and went back to work.

But once the 2010 Games were won and the mountains consistently drew over two million skier visits staff knew the mountains had to look to the future.

"At Whistler-Blackcomb we have always dreamed big, and we have always been bold, and the Peak 2 Peak is all about that," he said to an appreciative crowd.

"Building on the top of two mountains after two big snow years in what can only be described as an overheated building environment to deliver this project on time and on budget has been a huge, huge accomplishment.

"The Peak 2 Peak gondola is about inspiration, and it is about dreams. It will take our guest experience to an entirely new level, and it will inspire people to come from around the world and enjoy our playground."

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