Whistler Blackcomb Hosts Summer Projects Open House

The new two stage Blackcomb Gondola will feature 184 Omega IV 10 LWI cabins from CWA.

Monster Doppelmayr UNI-G XXL terminals are headed to British Columbia for the first time.  Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Resorts held a community open house last night to detail plans for what will be a packed summer building four new lifts on both iconic mountains.  The largest component of the $52 million project is a new Blackcomb Gondola announced in December.

The beastly gondola will load where the current Wizard lift does before continuing to a very large mid-station located below the current Solar Coaster base.  An even larger cabin parking facility will be built in the trees to the west of the dual terminal.  The second stage of the gondola (separate haul ropes and drives) will continue after a slight angle change to Rendezvous just below the current Solar Coaster unload.  10-passenger cabins will depart every nine seconds yielding a 4,000 passenger hourly capacity – second highest ever in North America.


Also on Blackcomb, a new, longer Catskinner four place detachable will start to the southwest of the existing Yan triple chair.  This lift will have 97 chairs reused from Emerald Express and 14 new towers.  Emerald’s Spacejet-style terminals will also come over from Whistler.


On Whistler Mountain, Emerald will become a six place with UNI-G M terminals and a chair model called EC95 featuring child-friendly restraint bars.  The alignment is unchanged.  Detailed stats for all four new lifts are below.


This is by far the largest lift construction project in North American skiing since Peak 2 Peak and the timeline is aggressive.  All three lifts are slated to be commissioned by early November.


I look forward to following this impressive project at one of my all time favorite resorts!


22 thoughts on “Whistler Blackcomb Hosts Summer Projects Open House

  1. Brian March 16, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Damn that’s an aggressive schedule!


  2. Skier March 16, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    What’s happening to the existing Emerald Terminals? Seems like it would have made sense to just move the whole lift over, but I guess it is about 23 years old. Also, the stats picture says the towers and tower heads are going to be galvanized. Currently they’re painted gray. I wonder how much it will cost to take them off the mountain, ship them to get galvanized, and then bring them back.


    • Billy B March 16, 2018 / 4:53 pm

      I wonder if this is because Emerald was built on top of Yan HSQ terminal masts. It seems to me like this might make the terminal relocation process challenging, thus WB just using new UNI-G terminals instead. Just a guess though


    • Peter Landsman March 17, 2018 / 7:08 am

      I checked and they are still using Emerald’s terminals. Also heard Catskinner has been sold whole but Wizard/Solar Coaster will be scrapped with chairs sold to benefit the WB Foundation.


    • Rob Withey March 17, 2018 / 11:47 am

      The old Yan towers on Emerald will be scrapped. The new Catskinner will have new towers.


  3. Collin March 16, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    The gondola speed is 1200 fpm. Nothing was over 1000 in 2017.


  4. Peter Landsman March 16, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Some comments sent to me via email:

    “Note there is also a mtn still operating whilst all this going on, and trail work and the bike park stuff. As well as the suspension bridge at the peak chair and a bunch of other stuff. Its going to be quite the project.

    Nothing following on sounded years away. Seemed very upbeat about going bigger and better,.and quickly. Aka this is this year’s project only, and the implication was there that $$$ to follow next year as well.”

    Also here’s a closer view of the new Catskinner load. Sounds like a new approach will follow in 2019.


  5. RaflW March 18, 2018 / 9:07 am

    Any rumblings about Creekside? Sure seems like a lift out of base up (near) Peak to Creek would be well used and woulhelp spread skiers around the mountain more.


    • Collin May 15, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a terminal torn to pieces like that. Usually even if the lift is being scrapped its taken down a bit more methodically and carefully.


    • AM May 16, 2018 / 5:37 pm

      Will they do that with Catskinner too? This type of demolition seems unusual, usually, they keep it intact.


  6. Robert Withey May 16, 2018 / 7:18 am

    All the steel is being recycled so no point being nice to it. We removed all the components first. What was left was the shell. Top of Solar coming down today.


  7. Cooper May 16, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    I rode both lifts in the summer and the bubble chair was very cold downloading. Also we were on wizard and the lift emergency-stopped and the chairs went flying up and down while we were going over a big span. I will miss Wizard and coaster. I cannot wait for the new gondola!


  8. alex July 3, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    117% pure speculation, but assuming the Blackcomb Gondola is successful, I could see WB installing a similar two stage Gondola to replace Creekside and Big Red. Its possible that they could run this new lift to the Roundhouse instead of current top of Big Red similar to what they are doing with the new Blackcomb Gondola. This would also more tightly connect Creekside with Peak to Peak. They could then use the former Big Red Chair to install the Franz’s Express Lift which would be interesting. Thoughts?

    I also feel like six pack upgrades for both Glacier and 7th Heaven are in the near future.


    • Thomas Jett July 3, 2018 / 10:58 pm

      Creekside and Big Red are not on the chopping block. Instead, they’re going to build a gondola to the top of the Chic Pea, and then upgrade Franz’s to a detachable quad that runs from the current base of Franz’s to the top of the T-Bars.


    • Peter Landsman July 4, 2018 / 2:28 pm

      I think Vail should seriously consider your idea Alex. Broomfield has shown already they aren’t following the previous plan to a T. There are so many possible alignments on that side of the mountain, some of which were used in the past. The T-Bars and Franz’s are so underutilized while Big Red is always crushed. At the very least, Creekside Gondola needs new cabins soon.
      I would add Jersey Creme to your Blackcomb six-pack list. We’re only 5 months away from learning Vail’s 2019 plans and I hope WB is on the nice list again.


      • Thomas Jett July 5, 2018 / 1:57 am

        Seeing how Vail Mountain has gotten a lift in more years than not, I would expect more investment at Vail. I would expect them to put new lifts next year at Vail, Whistler, Beaver Creek, Stowe, and one of the Tripple Peaks resorts that they bought.


  9. alex July 4, 2018 / 10:35 am

    Right that is what was in the latest master plan. But we should note that the Blackcomb Gondola was not on the master plan either so that is why I raised it.


    • Thomas Jett July 4, 2018 / 12:15 pm

      It was on Whistler Renaissance (https://liftblog.com/2016/04/05/news-roundup-3/), which includes the same Creekside plan that was seen on the 2013 master plan. I’d expect that either a double installation of Orange and Franz’s, or an installation of Bagel Bowl are next.


  10. Max July 4, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    I agree with Peter on Jersey Creme being upgraded soon, I feel like its just going to get even busier now with Solar gone. I could also see them upgrading 7th to a 6 person with a chair parking barn like Harmony.


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