Whistler, BC – After a snowy six month hiatus, construction on Whistler Blackcomb's Peak 2 Peak Gondola has commenced, with completion of the record breaking lift slated for this December, just before the busy winter season swings into high gear.
Phase one of the two-year construction schedule concluded last November with the two tallest towers completed, and concrete poured for the foundations of the remaining two towers. Phase two has kicked off with the clearing of over 10 feet of snow around the lift terminals to prepare for construction. Access roads have been cleared of snow on Whistler and Blackcomb, and the steel for the towers is being moved into place.
"We couldn't be off to a better start as this second phase of construction has got underway," says Rick Temple, Peak 2 Peak Gondola Project Manager. "The site is cleared and prepped, the Doppelmayr team has arrived from Europe, and we've just placed the first piece of steel on the Blackcomb Terminal, which is a major milestone."
While formwork crews have begun work on the lift terminals, a very important shipment has begun its journey to Whistler from across the Atlantic Ocean. Five spools of cable, weighing close to 100 metric tonnes each, as well as four "smaller" reels, were loaded onto the Rhine Barge "Pecaro" at the Basel Rhine Port on April 10.
The barge connected with the ocean-going vessel "Star Indiana" in Vlissingen, The Netherlands on April 23 and has begun its trans-Atlantic journey to the Port of Vancouver in Washington State. This US port has a heavy-lift mobile harbour crane and was the closest port with the ability to handle the extremely heavy spools. The cable is estimated to arrive in the US on June 5, when it will be transferred to rail cars to make the journey across the border and up to Whistler. When the cable reaches Whistler, the spools will be lifted onto a special low-bed truck and transported up the mountain.
Once the cables are at the top of the mountain, the cable stringing process begins. The entire process is scheduled to take 12 to 13 weeks. The plan is to fly a small cable across the valley by helicopter. After that cable is strung, progressively larger and larger cables – five in total – will be pulled across the line until the actual cable is finally pulled across.
Upcoming major milestones for the spring construction phase include final concrete pours, construction of the tower head for Tower 3, erection of Towers 1 and 4 and building of the winch platforms on Towers 2 and 3. Watch it all happen at whistlerblackcomb.com/peaktopeak with webcams, construction updates, photographs and videos.
Consistently ranked as North America’s top ski and snowboard resort, Whistler Blackcomb continues to raise the level of mountain excitement for its guests. With the landmark Peak to Peak Gondola project underway, the return of the popular Symphony Amphitheatre, and a host of other on-mountain improvements, this winter promises to be one of the most exciting yet. Located a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver up the spectacular ‘Sea to Sky’ Highway, this resort is home to the continent’s two greatest vertical-rise ski mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. With over 17 alpine bowls, four glaciers, 200 trails, 8,171 acres of skiable terrain and a one mile vertical rise, the choices of where and what to ski/ride at Whistler Blackcomb from beginner to advanced terrain are staggering. Joined at the base by a vibrant pedestrian village filled with restaurants, patios, cafes, shops, galleries and spas, and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, this four season resort is spectacular. Check it all out at whistlerblackcomb.com.
Intrawest is a world leader in experiential destination resorts. The company has interests in eleven resorts at North America's most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Intrawest network also includes Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida and Club Intrawest—a private resort club with nine locations throughout North America. In addition, Intrawest develops real estate at its resorts and at other locations across North America and in Europe. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit intrawest.com