By Andrew Mitchell
With the aid of a dual rotor helicopter, Whistler-Blackcomb put the last eight towers of the Symphony Express into place on Tuesday, ensuring that the new chairlift will be up and running at the start of the 2006-07 winter season.
The new chair will run from the bottom of Flute Bowl, below the groomed track that snowboarders and skiers used to hike to get back to the Burnt Stew Trail, and follow the ridge to the top of Piccolo.
The lift line is 2,100 metres long, which is similar in length to the Garbanzo Express, and will open up about 1,000 acres of terrain that in the past was difficult to access. A trip to the top will take between seven and nine minutes.
The cost is approximately $9 million, or over a third of Whistler-Blackcomb’s $22 million budget for improvements this year. Other improvements include upgrades to snowmaking and reservoirs, summer grooming, and creating new runs in the newly named Symphony Amphitheatre area.
“Offering legendary vast bowls, deep snow, inspiring gladed sub-alpine skiing, and unmatched views, the Symphony Amphitheatre, which is accessed by the Symphony Express, is the stuff that makes skiers and riders of all ages and abilities salivate for the start of the season,” said Stuart Rempel, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Whistler-Blackcomb.