Big Red Express – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Upper stretch of the lift line in the summer.
Whistler Trip 209
Riding up at tower 10.
This workhorse lift was heavily modified by Doppelmayr following the Yan issues at nearby Quicksilver.
The lift line is very long with nearly 200 chairs on the line.
Lower station seen just before retirement.
Side view of the bottom terminal.
Upper station with the Peak Express in the background.
Middle part of the lift line.
An offset Yan tower.
Yan tower.
View riding up the line.
Arriving up top.
Doppelmayr towers at the summit.
View down the line.
Middle part of the lift line.
Doppelmayr combination assemblies on Yan towers.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.

37 thoughts on “Big Red Express – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

  1. Charlie May 15, 2018 / 9:51 am

    This lift by the look of the lines should be a detach 6 of not detach 8


    • John U January 3, 2021 / 5:56 pm

      yes. This should be canada’s first 8 pack chairlift

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Blair May 29, 2018 / 3:57 am

    Yes, it always has long lines whenever I’ve been! I’m surprised they haven’t upgraded it yet! I feel that when they get to doing Whistler Westside that they will upgrade this to a 6 or 8. Maybe give it bubbles too? Oh, and while they’re at it, heated seats…


  3. Thomas Jett May 29, 2018 / 10:21 am

    Current plans are to supplement Big Red instead of to upgrade it. They’re going to run a gondola from Creekside to the top of the Chic Pea. Then, Franz’s will be upgraded to a detachable quad, an realigned to run to the top of the T-Bars.


  4. Charlie May 29, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Then a detach 6 would still make sense


    • Thomas Jett May 29, 2018 / 2:15 pm

      Not Really. Big Red (2,800pp/h) will be served by the Creekside Gondola (2,370pp/h), and Franz’s (2,800pp/h) will be served by Orange (2,200pp/h). There’s a lot of lifts that need installation before Big Red gets an upgrade.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Duncan October 6, 2018 / 9:56 am

    What is that wrap around tower for?


    • Collin Parsons October 6, 2018 / 3:07 pm

      The terrain has a very steep cross slope there, so the downhill side needed an extra tower. They didn’t put a regular tower to support both sides of the line because it would’ve had the uphill side very high and susceptible to wind closures. Keep in mind this lift was once a Yan detachable that was upgraded by Doppelmayr. Yan often used wraparounds for one sided towers as was done here.


      • AvocadoAndy October 6, 2018 / 9:28 pm

        There was another reason too. The foundation placed there was from the original Red chair.


  6. Lewis Dot Diagram February 23, 2019 / 8:40 pm

    Is anything else yan here besides the towers?


    • Donald M. Reif March 29, 2019 / 8:54 am

      The terminal masts are from the original Redline.


  7. Carson February 23, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    The terminal masts


  8. AvocadoAndy March 12, 2019 / 11:30 am

    I was up there the other day and noticed something a bit odd in the top terminal. I had a picture of the top terminal from the previous summer and the sticker said it had a 50% download capacity, and it was loaded as such. However, in my recent trip this winter, they had stuck a new sticker on top of the previous sticker reading 0% download capacity. Could that just be for the winter, or does that mean the lift failed some sort of test?


  9. gavin October 31, 2019 / 9:06 pm

    What’s the point of the orange gondola? They should upgrade big red to a six or even eight, replace franz’s and the t bars with a detach quad, and upgrade Creekside to a 8 or 10 passenger version.


    • Donald Reif October 31, 2019 / 10:11 pm

      There is a plan, I think to have a high speed quad replace Franz’s and the old T-Bars. As for the Orange upgrade, I’d honestly say putting a high speed quad or six pack running from the bottom of Big Red to the top of Garbanzo Express would be the smarter strategy. It would allow people to access the Emerald and Garbanzo areas from Creekside while bypassing the Roundhouse.


      • Thomas Jett October 31, 2019 / 11:59 pm

        Isn’t the whole point of the Orange Gondola to increase out-of-base capacity so that more people use Creekside, and redirect people from Big Red to Franz’s and Emerald?


    • alex October 31, 2019 / 10:16 pm

      I agree but with a slight variation. If it were me I would move the current Big Red Chair to install the Franz/T-Bar Chair. Then I would replace both Creekside and Big Red with a 10 PAX Gondola similar to Blackcomb Gondola starting at Creekside, mid-station at Raven’s Nest then an extension to the Roundhouse Lodge. There is enough room for a cabin barn at the mid-station. Means you could get from Creekside to the Rendezvous in two lifts.


      • Donald Reif October 31, 2019 / 11:40 pm

        Big Red is a lapping lift, and I don’t think it would be wise to have it where people have to take off their equipment after each lap. It makes more sense to keep Big Red as a chairlift.


  10. gavin May 18, 2020 / 3:50 pm

    With the current situation, Whistler is definitely reconsidering building more gondolas with no back up lift.


    • Somebody May 18, 2020 / 5:15 pm

      I mean.. it is a once in a century kind of event.. But as somebody who has preferred chairlifts since the start, I’d be happy to see them as an alternative more often.


  11. Jay November 17, 2020 / 1:51 pm

    Does anyone know where to find pictures of the original yan redline express? Also the original yan greenline and quicksilver express?


    • skier72 December 2, 2020 / 5:19 pm

      Pics of original YAN Redline:

      Liked by 3 people

      • Donald Reif December 2, 2020 / 7:26 pm

        I’m surprised Yan didn’t put more red onto Redline’s terminals.


        • Myles Svec December 2, 2020 / 8:05 pm

          Me too. I love the pancake design of the terminals though. It’s looks very clean and modern

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Matthew Huerta January 20, 2022 / 1:49 pm

    What’s going to happen to the existing lift after it’s replaced? Is it going to be reused either somewhere else on Whistler // Blackcomb // another resort or is it gonna be retired??


  13. Donald Reif March 26, 2022 / 6:13 am

    I kinda hope that Big Red 6 keeps the vibrant red of the terminals on Big Red 4. The UNI-G was practically built for the purpose of having more flexibility with colors, and the UNI G lifts at Northstar and Beaver Creek are great ways of seeing what the red paint job looks like.

    This is what Big Red 6 should have.


  14. AvocadoAndy May 3, 2022 / 3:09 pm

    Not sure if this has been mentioned on here yet or if it was already obvious, but I confirmed with WB that they’re not relocating this lift, the chairs are being sold off and I think most of the parts are going to Catskinner, Fitz, and all the other mechanically similar lifts.


    • Aussierob06 May 3, 2022 / 3:47 pm

      Red is a twin to Catskinner so we are keeping all the parts for that primarily. They can be used in some others as well though.

      Rob :-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 7:21 pm

        I have to wonder about this, why do some resorts not sell lifts like this. Its not really that old of a lift, I really think some smaller resorts would love a relatively new detach with large parts supply


      • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 7:23 pm

        Also notice this is a very Vail thing to do, like why do they kind of just throw out their lifts while other companies sell them used


        • Aussierob March 22, 2023 / 8:06 pm

          I have made the comment numerous times, about why this lift, and many others, are scrapped or parted out instead of being relocated. Please go find them.


        • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 8:08 pm

          I think I saw those, just didn’t see them yet. Still seems like a very specific thing to Vail. Like tell me if I am wrong but was the harmony chair not relocated? and if so was that pre Vail?


        • Aussierob March 22, 2023 / 8:18 pm

          I think the decision is very specific to the lift, not the company. Harmony was relocated to Blackcomb, by WB pre Vail. It was a different situation to Red. (like they all are)


        • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 8:22 pm

          do you know if the lifts like red were in bad condition?


        • James W March 22, 2023 / 9:05 pm

          If you read his other posts, I think he mentions that there was indeed some interest in buying Red, but in the end those that were interested decided it wasn’t worth it.

          Truth is, even though Red isn’t the oldest detach out there it’s still getting pretty old, and worn out. I don’t think this is a Vail thing at all, if Vail could make money selling a lift I’m sure they would.

          Another consideration, which I also learned from Mr. Aussierob, is that Doppelmayr no longer supports (for relocating I guess?) lifts that use tech that is too old.

          Iirc, Emerald->Catskinner was supported at the time but Red may not be now. (Garbanzo still is, as an aside)

          I’m just summarizing what I read in these comments really, so I suggest you do the same! Read all the comment threads on these whistler lifts, lots of cool info and lots of questions already answered.

          (especially before you start accusing people of things…)


        • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 9:14 pm

          I am saying its a Vail thing more just because I am comparing their recent decisions to the decisions of contemporaries. Like over at Boyne they refurbish things as old as first gen UNIs as recently as 2018 and they have also refurbished a lift of a similar if not the same vintage as this lift. Might also be that Doppelmayer detaches arent as durable. When I think of most high speed lifts that have been relocated they almost always seem to be a Poma or a Garaventa CTEC.


        • julestheshiba March 22, 2023 / 9:24 pm

          Just a theory but I truly think in the next decade we will see that the Jan Leonard era detaches will hold up significantly better than the competition.


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