A sneak peak at the Whistler Peak-2-Peak
The spectacular views at Whistler are about to get even better with the launch of the long-anticipated Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
The gondola, which opens to the public on Friday, will connect the subalpine areas of Whistler Mountain with Blackcomb Mountain.
It will take just 11 minutes to go between peaks.
The most expensive lift ever constructed in North America, coming in at $52 million, and is meant to benefit downhill ski fans in the winter and hikers in the summer, as well as being a draw during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Hugh Smythe, senior vice president of Intrawest Mountain Resorts, the owners of Whistler-Blackcomb, was proud of the new attraction.
"It's unique, not only unique for North America but unique in the world. It's the longest, the highest, and all of that. It's going to be very special for our resort," he said.
Two of the gondola cars will have glass panels in the floor, showing off the another amazing aspect of the gondola: It will be the highest such journey in the world, stretching a dizzying 436 metres above the Fitzsimmons Creek valley.
This makes it almost as tall as the CN Tower.
And the cables for the gondola cabins will stretch 4.4 kilometres between just four towers, from the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb.
The stretch of cable between the second and third towers will be the longest unsupported span in the world at just over three kilometres.
The resort hopes it will prove a new draw for visitors in the troubled economic climate. Bookings are down by 12 per cent so far this season.
"The economy is a big concern for everyone," said Doug Forseth, senior vice-president of operations with Intrawest.
But the Peak 2 Peak is already proving a draw.
Judy Bronka came all the way from England to try it when it opens.
"We've come a long way to get on it. We've watched some of the building online. Yeah, it will be really good to get on it - Exciting."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan.