Work on new Gondola started at Whistler

Wed 23 May 07

Whistler Blackcomb has commenced construction on their $51 million, world record-breaking Peak to Peak Gondola

Work on new Gondola started at Whistler

Work on new Gondola started at Whistler © Photo: Mike Douglas

Whistler Blackcomb has commenced construction on their $51 million, world record-breaking Peak to Peak Gondola. This incredible feat of engineering will connect Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and is set to be completed by December 2008.

Whistler Peak-to-Peak gondola startedGroundbreaking took place on May 15 and excavation for each lift terminal will take place until mid-June. “There’s lot of action on the ground and behind the scenes and we are looking forward to a successful production season this summer,” says Rick Temple, Peak to Peak Project Manager for Whistler Blackcomb. “While we work to ready the mountain, crews are busy in Austria and Quebec in full production for the steel tower components to be erected this summer.”

Whistler Blackcomb will install Towers 2 and 3 this summer. Tower 2 will be located on Whistler and Tower 3 will be located on Blackcomb, with a span of 3.024km/1.88 miles between them.

“The Peak to Peak Gondola construction project is the largest of its kind in North America,” said Doug Forseth, Senior VP of Operations at Whistler Blackcomb, “yet it occupies the smallest ecological foot print of any project we’ve done yet on the mountain. The estimated 2.5 hectare foot print requires a significant logistical command of our existing resources for transportation and construction.”

“We are committed to working with Whistler Blackcomb in minimizing the ecological impact,” said Stefan Huter, Doppelmayr Project Manager, “We have engineered the project to limit construction activity to the terminals and tower locations only.”

Whistler Peak-to-Peak gondola startedESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION MILESTONES

May 15, 2007 Groundbreaking
June 15, 2007 Excavation compete
September 14, 2007 Terminal foundations & construction complete
Mid September 2007 Lift tower 3 installation complete
October 15, 2007 Lift tower 2 installation complete
Mid June 2008 Lift towers 1 & 4 installation complete
Early November 2008 Comprehensive lift & load testing
October 2008 Evacuation training
December 2008 Grand opening


WEIGHT OF STEEL TOWERS approx 400 tons, 20 truck loads
BULLWHEEL SIZE Drive: 4.8 metres; Return: 4.0 metres
CONCRETE POURED approx 3160 cubic metres
INSTALLED POWER 667Kw continuous
WEIGHT OF TRACK ROPE 4 x 88 tonnes
MOBILE CRANES 2 x 100 tonne cranes for terminals (one on each side), 1 x 120 tonne crane for towers, 1 additional crane to move buildings and grading
TOTAL WORK CREW 80- 100 employees for summer 2007 (crew of 10 for towers; 7 from Garaventa and 3 from Doppelmayr, crew of 60 from Timberline, 8- 10 for tower foundations)
EXCAVATION WORK 6-10 employees
CIVIL WORKS 25 employees (foundations, terminal buildings)
CONSTRUCTION 20-25 employees (steel work, electrical, painting and roofing)
PROJECT LEADS 6 employees from Whistler Blackcomb 6 employees from Doppelmayr
ACCOMMODATION approx 4,300 staff room nights
MEALS SERVED 12,900 meals for project duration


LIFT MANUFACTURER Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, Wolfurt, Austria (
RIDE TIME 11 minutes
SPEED 7.5 meters / 24.6 feet per second
CABIN CAPACITY 28 people; 24 seated, 4 standing
TOTAL CAPACITY 4,100 people per hour (2050 pph per direction)
TOTAL DISTANCE 4.4 kilometres / 2.73 miles (straight line)
LENGTH OF FREE SPAN 3.024 kilometres / 1.88 miles (straight line between two towers furthest apart)
HIGHEST POINT 415 - 436 metres / 1,300 – 1,400 feet over Fitzsimmons Creek (depends on load)
HEIGHT OF TOWERS 30.5-65 metres / 100-213 feet

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Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada

Snowboard Guide rating 10 out of 10 “Major riding for all styles and all levels, especially backcountry and amazing park and pipes.But take note: lift queues can be very long, especially at Easter and Christmas. Avoid major holidays if an option and Sundays are quieter than Saturdays, especially on Blackcomb. Great summer riding on Blackcomb Glacier.”