New Whistler Lifts Delayed due to Supply Chain and Labor Challenges

The top executive at Doppelmayr Canada apologized Friday for delays in completing the new Big Red Express and Creekside Gondola on Whistler Mountain. While both new lifts were originally scheduled to be commissioned before the resort’s November 24th opening day, Big Red is now expected to open in early December with Creekside’s timing to be determined. The new 10 passenger gondola’s 13,000 foot haul rope has not yet arrived in Whistler.

Doppelmayr agreed to build the new six passenger chairlift and 10 passenger gondola at Whistler in November 2021. The ambitious project is the largest in the Epic Lift Upgrade initiative to build new lifts across a dozen Vail Resorts. Contracts for all 18 lifts were split roughly evenly between the two largest manufacturers, both of which face supply challenges amid high demand. “We would like to apologize to all who plan to visit Whistler Blackcomb and the impact they may experience as the result of the delayed opening of both Big Red and the Creekside Gondola,” said Luc Guy, CEO of Doppelmayr Canada. “We experienced significant global supply chain and shipping challenges, and did not anticipate delays to this degree. We understand the importance of these projects, and how this delay will impact uphill access and the overall guest experience out of Creekside. We are doing everything we can in partnership with the Whistler Blackcomb team to complete the gondola as safely and quickly as possible. We will move with urgency and align to all safety protocols once the haul rope arrives, and we are confident that the new Creekside Gondola will truly provide an improved experience for visitors to these beautiful mountains.”

In addition to supply chain delays, Doppelmayr also faces a labor shortage. Whistler Blackcomb employees have been providing extra support to the installation team and Vail Resorts is bringing in additional lift mechanics from its recently-closed Australian mountains to assist. “We appreciate Doppelmayr’s commitment to this project and their partnership,” said Whistler Blackcomb Chief Operating Officer Geoff Buchheister. “We are disappointed that these projects are delayed and I want to reiterate my gratitude for the incredible Whistler Blackcomb team and all they have done – and continue to do – in service of these projects and the guest experience. We are focused on what we can control and remain resolute on finishing these projects as quickly as possible, while still providing a great start to the season for everyone who joins us.”

Whistler Blackcomb will modify its opening strategy with a focus on offering as much terrain as possible, particularly on Blackcomb Mountain where all lifts are operable. The resort will also offer free and frequent bus service from Creekside to Whistler Village until the new lifts open. Guests arriving from Creekside will be offered priority access to both the Whistler Village and Blackcomb Gondolas. Base area lifts will also open 15 minutes early – at 8:15 am – conditions permitting until Big Red and Creekside are completed.

20 thoughts on “New Whistler Lifts Delayed due to Supply Chain and Labor Challenges

  1. Morris November 4, 2022 / 11:34 am

    Oh boy this isn’t gonna be good.


  2. Max V. November 4, 2022 / 12:01 pm

    This is going to be a big problem for me since I ski out of Creekside. We have a cabin there. I’m really disappointed because it means we’ll have to drive to the village every day. But, I’m excited to see how we’re going to get priority lift access. At least that will make things a little easier.


    • Jimbo November 5, 2022 / 7:36 am

      First world problems at their finest. Here’s the world’s smallest violin playing…….

      Feel free to go help instead of complaining, which does nothing.


  3. Kirk November 4, 2022 / 7:12 pm

    This certainly no surprise. All the manufactures are over extended. There are many delays in the US also. It was the same 40 years ago with Yan, CTEC and other manufactures. Easy to sell them, something thing else to get them all built. We didn’t think of using the supply chain excess in those days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael November 4, 2022 / 9:39 pm

      We were busy in ‘79-‘80, eh? 46 lifts in 2 years. The Flying Circus- can’t be beat!😎


      • Ryan November 5, 2022 / 12:34 am

        bet your back still hurts from that one.


      • Boomerssuck November 5, 2022 / 7:41 am

        Except that those lifts installed then were basic with zero complexity.


        • Michael November 5, 2022 / 8:05 am

          Any kind of installation on the side of a mountain at altitude has complexity…

          Liked by 4 people

        • Kirk November 5, 2022 / 9:01 am

          The older lifts, both fixed and detachable required a lot more field assembly. Welding, fabrication, field painting, mounting and aligning of components.
          Now most of the components are assembled and pre-wired in the shop. All components are now pre-painted or galvanized.
          So now even though the lifts are bigger there pretty easy to bolt together once the concrete is poured.


    • Joe Blake November 5, 2022 / 7:38 pm

      Did you work at CM in the early 90s? Your user name was their employee newsletter.


    • Anthony Kahn November 5, 2022 / 8:19 pm

      Palisades Tahoe, and Alta add to the the list of delayed lift project openings.


    • Ryan November 6, 2022 / 5:03 pm

      That’s good, I’m always happy to see a back-up lift get used hard.


      • Donald Reif November 9, 2022 / 6:08 pm

        Maybe this will make more people call for it to become a high speed quad…and maybe be realigned so as to also replace the T-Bars.


        • Morris November 10, 2022 / 3:04 pm

          A good realignment for the soon to be replaced Fitzsimmons Express

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew K November 6, 2022 / 5:36 pm

    I have to commend how much they’re doing to compensate for such a major link down. Here’s hoping their scramble to get these two finished doesn’t lead to the same thing that happened with the Blackcomb Gondola. That whole first year was pretty terrible.


    • Rob Withey November 8, 2022 / 9:18 am

      The problem with the BG was a $400 electronic component with an intermittent problem. The has run really well since. The new gondola is a single section with wider carrier spacing so should be easier to dial in.


      • Ben Eminger November 8, 2022 / 1:58 pm

        What speed does BG run at now/does it run continuously? I heard initially it ran pretty slow and was split into two sections instead of being run as one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Max November 9, 2022 / 7:33 pm

          On average it runs at minimum 4.4m/s and we’ll speed it up as needed. It always runs continuously/ both lines synchronized and mainly will only be split if theres high winds or extreme windchill on the upper line (as was the case for it being split in the lift database pics) Like Rob said she runs well!


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