The Peak To Peak Gondola At Whistler Blackcomb

The Whistler/Blackcomb Peak to Peak gondola is not only setting world records, it's connecting two of the greatest ski mountains in the world in spectacular fashion.

Personally, I love to ski both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. What type of skiing I am in the mood for, who I am skiing with, and/or where we are staying in Whistler, will often be the determining points in deciding which mountain I ski. And for the most part, I tend to pick one mountain and ski the entire day there.
Callum hamming it up on the peak to peak gondola
Our Son Callum "Hamming It Up" On The Display Gondola, Roundhouse Day Lodge, Whistler BC
Before the Peak to Peak gondola came along, it was a bit of a journey to get from Whistler Mt. to Blackcomb Mt. Not "undoable" by any means, but a bit of a hassle. If you were on top of Whistler Mountain and decided that you wanted to go over and ski Seventh Heaven on Blackcomb for instance, you would have to ski all the way down to the Village and then upload on the Blackcomb Gondola. This would be at least an hour trip.

Now, starting in December 2008, you can just jump on the peak to peak gondola and in 11 minutes time your on a whole new mountain. OK, that might be a bit of stretch. It's 11 minutes of "riding" time on the gondola, but I am sure the line-ups will stretch that time out considerably. We'll see...

Nonetheless, the construction of this gondola is nothing short of incredible. When it's finished it will stretch from The Roundhouse Day Lodge on Whistler Mountain to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain.

From Blackcomb (right) to Whistler (left)
Peak to peak gondola from sign at Roundhouse Lodge Whistler Mountain

Sketch Plan By Ecosign
Ecosign sketch of peak to peak gondola

The creek that runs in the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb is called Fitzsimmons Creek. At the gondola's highest point above the creek you could fit 4 Ω Statues of Liberty underneath. (That's a distance of 1430 feet or 436 meters.) And you can bet that distance will look even greater if you happen to ride the one of the two gondolas that have a glass bottom!

And it's not only high, it's long too!

The crossing distance (in a straight line) is 3 Ω times that of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (2.73 miles or 4.4 km)

3D model of peak to peak gondola looking towards Whistler Village
Google Earth 3D Model Of The Peak To Peak Gondola Looking Towards Whistler Village (Roundhouse Lodge, Whistler Mountain On Right, Rendezvous Lodge, Blackcomb Mountain On Left) - image taken from Google Earth

3D image of peak to peak gondola looking from Whistler Mt to Blackcomb Mt
Google Earth 3D Model Looking From Roundhouse Lodge, Whistler Mountain, Across The Valley To Blackcomb Mountain - image taken from Google Earth

What's In A Name?

Actually, the name "Peak to Peak Gondola" (The official name is actually Peak 2 Peak) is a bit misleading, as it will not actually travel from the peak of Whistler Mountain to the peak of Blackcomb Mountain.

On the Whistler Mt. side, the gondola will start/finish at the Roundhouse Lodge, which is located at the top of the main Whistle gondola. Here is a look at the construction taking place on Whistler.
Construction outside Roundhouse Lodge Whistler MtThis photo was taken during the 2007/2008 ski season. The concrete platforms will eventually be enclosed by a new structure where all of the passenger loading and unloading will take place.

As you may of noticed in the images above, there are only 4 support towers for the entire lift. Two on each mountain. The towers will rise up to 213 feet (65 meters) into the air.

Peak to peak gondola tower looking towards Blackcomb Mountain
One Of The Towers Under Construction On Whistler Mountain Looking Towards Blackcomb Mountain

Peak to peak gondola tower rising from the mist on Blackcomb Mountain
A Support Tower Under Construction On Blackcomb Rises From The Mist

The loading/unloading station on Blackcomb will take place at the Rendezvous Lodge, the main day lodge on Blackcomb.
Callum in front of Whistler gondola construction with couloir extreme behind

Here is the concrete platform as it looked during the 2007/2008 ski season. Straight behind the platform is the Couloir Extreme, one of the toughest and most exciting runs on Blackcomb Mountain.
Gondola construction outside Rendezvous Lodge Blackcomb
Working On The Concrete Platform, Rendezvous
Lodge, Blackcomb, Winter 2008

Just The Specs Ma'am (Technical Details of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola):

Speed - the gondola will travel at 7.5 m or 24.6 feet per second

Callum falling from peak to peak gondola cabin
Callum "Falling" From The Display Cabin

Ride Time - once you're on the lift it is an 11 minute ride

Number Of Cabins - there will be 28 cabins (leaving ever 49 seconds), one of which will have a glass bottom. Each cabin will hold 28 people, 24 seated and 4 standing.

Capacity - 4,100 passengers per hour


World Records:

- longest unsupported (free) span for a lift of its kind in the world

- world's highest lift of its kind

- world's longest continuous lift system

- only gondola installation of its kind in North America

The Peak to Peak gondola is scheduled to open in December 2008 and represents just one more reason to visit Whistler Blackcomb.


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