WATCH: RCMP investigate unsanctioned Whistler stunt
A video posted to YouTube of a BASE jump from the Whistler PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola has RCMP investigating a report of mischief.
A spokesperson for Whistler Blackcomb says on Thursday, Feb. 6 at about 3:45 p.m. someone accessed the gondola and BASE jumped from the moving cabin at the highest point above Fitzsimmons Creek.
This is approximately 436 metres or 1,427 feet.
WATCH: The YouTube video of the BASE jump
The video begins with a shot of the doors of the gondola forced open and a man making sure his GoPro camera is positioned correctly. There is also a woman sitting inside the gondola on the bench.
The video then appears to show the man exiting the moving gondola, hanging on to the outside, and then BASE jumping and landing on the snow below.
“The gondola doors have multiple locks, [three], and safety systems to ensure that when a cabin leaves a terminal the doors are securely locked,” said Wayne Wiltse, Lift Maintenance Manager at Whistler Blackcomb.
It’s estimated that it will cost about $10,000 to repair the cabin doors.
Wiltse said they were not alerted when the doors were first open. “We knew this cabin had been compromised since the operations staff noticed when it came into the terminal that the door was open,” he said. “However, there are multiple safety checks that occur each time a cabin enters the terminal at either end that prevent the cabin from leaving the terminal if there is damage or malfunctions in the locking system. So, in its present state, even if the lift operator wouldn’t have visually noticed the door issue, the cabin would not have left the terminal.”
Another spokesperson for Whistler Blackcomb said “brute force” and some knowledge of the mechanics of the door were used to open it.
Once crews noticed the cabin had been tampered with, a patroller for Whistler Blackcomb and the RCMP travelled to the landing zone with the intent to arrest the individual who had jumped, but he was not apprehended despite an extensive search.
“This is a highly uncommon situation but we are very concerned about the complete disregard the jumper had for the safety of our guests and the property that he blatantly damaged,” said Wiltse. “We are pursuing legal action against the jumper.”
The video is called ‘McConkey Reborn’, which is a nod to Shane McConkey, a professional skier and BASE jumper who died in 2009.
When the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola opened in 2008, McConkey BASE jumped from the cabin at its highest point. It was a jump sponsored by Red Bull.
McConkey was born in Vancouver but was based in California. He died after trying to execute a stunt while skiing in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy.
The two people featured in the video have not been charged with any crime at this time. We have tried to reach out to them for comment but have not yet heard back.
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