Grouse Mountain to Replace Blue Tram with a Gondola

Northland Properties has announced a CA$30+ million investment to transform the arrival experience at Grouse Mountain. If approved, a modern eight passenger gondola would replace the 1966 jig back affectionately known as the Blue Skyride. The state-of-the-art gondola will provide continuous loading and a more comfortable experience for up to 2,000 guests per hour (1,000 per direction). The lift is planned to cross under the Red Skyride, which today provides the only public access from the parking lot to the mountain. The 100 passenger Garaventa-built tramway will remain in service for additional capacity and redundancy.

Northland, which also owns Revelstoke Mountain Resort, has partnered with Leitner-Poma to supply the gondola. The 27 cabin, 13 tower machine would travel at 5.1 meters per second, achieving a ride time under six minutes. Gondola cabins would be parked when not in use beneath the upper terminal. The estimated CA$30-35 million project also includes a reconfigured drop off area and 193 new parking spaces. Visitors would see reduced wait times and Grouse would be able to operate year round with no maintenance closures.

“Grouse Mountain is proud to be an integral pillar of the North Vancouver community since 1926 and we look forward to upgrading our facilities leading up to our 100-year anniversary,” notes the project website. The public is invited to learn more about the plan via a virtual public meeting taking place now through September 27th. The District of North Vancouver welcomes public comments as it considers approval. If given the green light, construction on the gondola is expected to last 18 months with an opening targeted for December 2023.

15 thoughts on “Grouse Mountain to Replace Blue Tram with a Gondola

  1. Ryan September 16, 2021 / 4:59 am

    The blue Tram has served well.

    Like

  2. jaytrem September 16, 2021 / 5:52 am

    Do they not use Blue for the crazy crowded days anymore? Upgrade is definitely needed. I turned around one morning after seeing the tram line. Came back later in the day when the line was gone.

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  3. icefaceny September 16, 2021 / 10:51 am

    27 cabins seems low for a lift intended to relieve a choke point at a super popular mountain. Will they add more in the future?

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  4. Matt September 16, 2021 / 10:57 am

    I’m not sure why they wouldn’t replace both trams with a gondola of 2400 p/h or more. Seems rather expensive to just have 27 cabins.

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  5. Donald Reif September 16, 2021 / 11:37 am

    They really need more than 27 cabins.

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  6. Ryan September 16, 2021 / 12:36 pm

    so many “needs” but only so much $$$. Patience.

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    • Peter Landsman September 16, 2021 / 2:32 pm

      Agree with the sentiment but Northland presumably has lots of access to capital. They own an NHL franchise, 50 hotels and 200 restaurants in addition to the ski resorts.

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      • Ryan September 16, 2021 / 9:36 pm

        Well.. there is that… :( The little cheapskates!!

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  7. skibumbarnes September 16, 2021 / 7:45 pm

    Great improvement, hoping to see them add more cabins in the future

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  8. Eric G September 17, 2021 / 9:34 am

    Only a 1,000 pph in each direction! Wouldn’t they have been better off returning the Blue Tram to service? This project seems excessive for very little benefit.

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  9. Doug September 17, 2021 / 8:22 pm

    OK, the number do not add up here. From the video, the claim is that as a result of Blue not being used, capacity is reduced by 50%. I used to ski at Grouse and have ridden the Blue more than a few times. Some numbers to the best of my memory.
    – Blue has a capacity of about 45 people and can do a trip in about 12 minutes. So, 225 pph each way.
    – Red has a capacity of 100 and at peak speed and with good loading management, can do a trip every 6 minutes. So 600 pph each way.
    With these numbers, not using blue only is a reduction to about 70% of original.
    To those saying 1000 pph each way for the new lift is not much, that is true but more or less, this is only taken once a day by anyone at the mountain, so mornings up and evenings down are the crux. On top of that, the mountain only really has 2 HSQs, a FGQ and a beginner lift. The Cut is a quick ski, so can be done by an average skier in 15 minutes max (my record as a teen was about 2 minutes). The other chair has more difficult terrain so perhaps 20 minutes on average, (though 5 minutes is easy). Throw in a few tourists and staff and parents on weekends and I would be surprised if the mountain needed to upload more than 2400 people to be stuffed up top. With Red alone that would be 4 hours, which is a long time, though of course not everyone shows up at the same time. My guess is with the red being already 40 years old, more cabins could be added when Red is retired.
    In the end, I do hope they build it as it would help.
    To those who may not know, the original lift access to the mountain was an old chair with wooden towers from North Vancouver to the bottom of the Cut run. The Blue tram opened in about 1965 and Red in about 1980. A YT video of the old chair is here:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gavin Lee September 17, 2021 / 11:48 pm

      6 minutes on Red? That would mean it would be running at about 8-900 ft/minute. I’ve ridden it multiple times in the winter and summer and it’s never been more than 3.5 minutes for me. Do you mean wait time?

      Like

      • martin6711 September 20, 2021 / 11:06 am

        Top speed on Red tram results in a 4 minute trip. With 2 minutes for loading / unloading that’s 6 minutes for 100 people, or 1000 per hour. Most of the time when there are no crowds it’s an 8 minute trip.

        Like

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