Whistler Blackcomb unveiled its new state-of-the-art gondola on Saturday, just in time for the holiday season.
The resort’s chief operating officer, Pete Sonntag, said the 10-person capacity lift is the highest-capacity gondola in North America.
“We started with Emerald, then we opened Catskinner – two new lifts: one on Whistler, one on Blackcomb. But this is really the big piece that puts it all together,” he said.
The Blackcomb Gondola is part of a $66 million investment, with an aim to cut down on wait and travel times, while increasing capacity by way of three lifts at Whistler Blackcomb.
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The project has been in the works since 2016, back when Vail Resorts first announced plans for a multi-million dollar investment. Initially, those plans included a water park, but that idea was shelved and the gondolas rose to the top of the list.
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The gondola was set to open, along with the resort, at the start of its winter season in November, but was delayed for additional work.
Despite the delays, there was plenty of excitement on Saturday as skiers and snowboarders boarded the gondola for the first time.
Among the first to take the lift was Canadian Olympic snowboarder and North Vancouver native Mercedes Nicoll.
Sonntag said the gondola has opened at the perfect time, as the resort is finally getting close to seasonal levels of snow after a limited opening day with few runs able to operate.
“We’re feeling blessed with all the new snow we’ve had recently, but today is all about the [gondola].”