Peak-to-peak gondola hits milestone
On top of Blackcomb Mountain, the steel cables are now tightly wound around the massive gondola spool.
The shiny new cabins have arrived -- some are already hanging. Each car will seat 24 passengers. Another four will fit if they stand in the center.
A bit crowded perhaps, but many think it's worth it to connect the mountain peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb with a world record breaking gondola -- by December 12.
"We think what we've created here is a tourism icon for both Canada and B.C. and something that will differentiate Whistler from our competition around the world," says Whistler Blackcomb CEO Dave Brownlie.
The cables stretch more than three kilometers, creating the longest unsupported span for a lift of this kind anywhere in the world, not to mention the highest -- reaching 436 meters above the valley floor.
"This will set the bar higher than it's ever been set before and this will be a lasting legacy," says Brownlie.
It will also provide a competitive edge in a very competitive industry.
"It will be a must do, must see experience," says Brownlie.
So far, the first 12 gondola cabins have been strung to the cables and now the next step involves moving them along those cables over the valley and to the Whistler station where they'll be stored.
That is expected to happen first thing Friday morning.
Once on Whistler, workers can begin stringing and hanging the remaining cabins.
"We've fully tensioned the ropes, so everything is in running condition the way it is now," says construction manager Rick Temple. "So we just have to do some final set up electronically and mechanically and then we can load them up with full weight and go from there."
Daily access to the 11 minute ride will cost an extra seven dollars for skiers and snowboarders, possibly less for those using special passes. The only question now is who gets the first ride.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan