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Whistler Blackcomb to get new gondola for 2018-19 season

Vail Resorts will invest $66 million in gondola and lift upgrades



Vail Resorts is doubling down on on-mountain infrastructure for Whistler Blackcomb.

The resort can expect a new gondola and upgrading of two popular lifts for the 2018-19 season.

The $66-million plan represents the largest single-year capital investment in Whistler Blackcomb's history, according to Vail Resorts.

The new, 10-person gondola will run from the upper village to the top of Blackcomb Mountain, where it will end next to the Peak 2 Peak gondola.

It will replace the Wizard and Solar chairlifts.

Whistler Mountain's four-passenger Emerald Express chairlift will be replaced by a new six-passenger lift.

And Blackcomb's ancient, triple-passenger Catskinner chair will be replaced by a four-passenger, high-speed lift, a boon to terrain park users who use it regularly.

The upgrades aim to increase capacity and shorten wait times. The new gondola alone will move 4,000 people per hour, according to Vail.

Vail said the upgrades are in the spirit of Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance, an ambitious, $345-million plan that was first announced in April 2016.

Vail, according to a press release, has decided to accelerate the mountain improvement portion of the plan, "while deferring consideration of the new water park" — a more controversial element of the plan.

"We are incredibly excited to bring to life the spirit of the Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance with a focus on the on-mountain experience that lies at the heart of our resort," said Pete Sonntag, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb.

"We intend to continue to pursue other base area and village improvements that were part of the Renaissance, but we believed it was critical to start at our core, on the mountain."

Check back with Pique for more.