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Peak to Peak Gondola construction resumes

Spools of cable being shipped from Europe

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Work on the Peak to Peak Gondola resumed last week, with the closing of Whistler Mountain and work crews punching a road up Blackcomb Mountain, which is still open for skiing and snowboarding until June 8.

Crews are clearing up to 10 feet of snow around the lift terminals. The steel for towers one and four has also arrived and will be carried into place.

Halfway around the world, five spools of gondola cable weighting over 100 metric tonnes, plus four smaller reels, were loaded onto a ship in Belgium and will begin a journey across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast to Vancouver, Washington. They are expected to arrive on May 31, and it’s estimated that it will take 12 to 14 weeks to string the cable across the valley.

The gondola is scheduled to be completed by December 2008 at a cost of $53 million, and will break several records, including the longest free span (3.024 km) between towers, and the highest vertical point (415 metres). It will take cabins 11 minutes to cross the Fitzsimmons Creek watershed, from a terminal outside the Roundhouse Lodge to a terminal outside the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb.

Whistler-Blackcomb has already offered an Edge Card package with Peak to Peak access included. The cost is $309 for a five day pass, and $564 for a 10-day pass until April 30. Renewing an Edge Card pass before April 30 also entitles the buyer to a summer Peak Adventure pass and one extra early season day in the 2008-09 season.

Season pass and day pass holders will also be able to access the Peak to Peak Gondola for an extra fee.

Access to Blackcomb has also been disrupted by maintenance to the Wizard and Solar Coaster chairs, as well as road construction. Chairs operating include the Excalibur Gondola, Excelerator Chair, Jersey Cream Express, 7 th Heaven Express, Glacier Express and Horstman T-bar. Crystal Chair will be open on weekends.

The terrain park on Blackcomb is closed, but another park has been added in the Jersey Cream area with a mix of small, medium and large obstacles.

On June 9, Blackcomb will open for summer glacier skiing and sightseeing, through to July 27.

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