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Whistler Village Gondola closed indefinitely

Gondola undergoing maintenance review; all other gondolas open


By Jesse Ferreras and Andrew Mitchell

Whistler Village Gondola is still broken and skiers and snowboarders are being advised to use other lifts at this time.

A representative at Guest Relations said on Tuesday morning that the gondola, which provides access to midstation and to the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain, is "still in maintenance" and there is no time frame on when it will be operating again.

The Gondola broke down on Monday, forcing crews to do an emergency evacuation after skiers and snowboarders were stranded for hours. The biggest issue was cold. It was -14 C at the Roundhouse elevation when the lift shut down, stranding an estimated 300 guests, of which 28 of which were sightseers.

Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, as well as mountain hosts and food and beverage staff took in guests at the top of the gondola and gave them free lift tickets, a free lunch voucher and hand/toe warmers.

"At no time was safety a concern for guests on the Whistler Village Gondola," the statement said.

At this time people can use lifts such as the Fitzsimmons Chair to get up Whistler Mountain, or if they wish to go to the Roundhouse they can upload on the Excalibur Gondola to get up Blackcomb and then take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to Whistler Mountain. They can also use the Creekside Gondola and the Big Red Express.

Spokespeople with Whistler Blackcomb were not available for comment on Tuesday morning. A representative who answered the phone said they were in a meeting. There was no news release issued on the company's website.

On Facebook this morning the company posted: "Please note, that the upper half of Village gondola will be closed today, but there will still be access to Olympic station. Fresh Tracks breakfast is also canceled for today."

The site also stated that the gondola would remain closed until a full maintenance review is completed. A Whistler Blackcomb statement blamed mechanical issues.

Amber Turnau, the company's media relations and social media strategist said on Facebook that the gondola experienced a bearing failure in its main gearboxes. A technician for the gearbox manufacturer has to be flown in from Europe to attend to the problem and Whistler Blackcomb is also waiting on parts coming in from the USA so repairs can begin.

Whistler Blackcomb Facebook followers are anxious the gondola is up and running by the weekend with fresh powder expected.

Said one Facebook user: "We've got some serious pow coming, but the lineups at Creekside could be catastrophic."

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