Blackcomb Gondola Stage 1 – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

A two stage gondola replaced the two earliest detachable quads on Blackcomb in 2018.
The Blackcomb Gondola can be split into two different sections depending on the weather.
Both sections have some very tall towers.
Upper part of the lift line.
View down towards Blackcomb Daylodge.
Towers below the Excalibur Gondola crossing.
Another view down the lift line.
Looking up the lift line.
The entire lower section lift line.
Close cabin spacing.
Cabins unload on one side of the terminal and load on the other with no loading on the turnaround.
Uphill loading zone.
Side view of the return terminal.
View up from the maze area.
Cabins speed up in the turnarounds to avoid colliding.
Cabins at the downhill end of the drive station.
Cabins at towers 20-21.
View down from the top breakover.
Another view down the lift line.
Side view of towers 20-21.
The middle station is slightly lower than the old Wizard/Solar Coaster split.
View down the line.
Middle part of the lift.
A cabin passes a combo assembly.
Relatively flat part of the lift line.
Gondolas crossing gondolas.
View down from just below the Excalibur crossing.
View up the steeper part of the line.
Lift overview.
Maze area and return station.
Long Uni-G station.
Lower station overview.
Unloading for downloaders.

26 thoughts on “Blackcomb Gondola Stage 1 – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

  1. Tyler February 10, 2019 / 8:42 pm

    Did they modify the Excalibur towers at the crossover to go under instead of over the new gondola, or does it cross in a different spot? Look at the 3rd pic on the Wizard page – now it’s a compression tower after the crossover


    • AvocadoAndy February 10, 2019 / 11:14 pm

      Yeah, I believe they shortened the tower as well. Those towers were originally specifically designed taller so they could cross over wizard, they had to shorten them so that the Blackcomb gondola could pass over.


      • Donald M. Reif March 19, 2019 / 11:03 pm

        A before picture:



      • Donald Reif January 3, 2020 / 2:22 pm

        It’s interesting how that crossing evolved. As originally built, Wizard crossed over the Cruiser chair between towers 11 and 12. In 1994, Cruiser was replaced with Excalibur stage 2, which crossed over Wizard uphill from where Wizard originally crossed over Cruiser, between Wizard’s towers 14 and 15. Wizard had an infill depression tower, tower 14A, built to create clearance for Excalibur’s cabins to cross over.

        Cruiser was removed, but where it crossed under Wizard was still very much apparent as Blackcomb sought to only put tower 14A on Wizard and not also reprofile towers 11 and 12, resulting in the lift spending its last 24 years having two closely spaced towers clearly meant to take the lift over a phantom chairlift that no longer existed. (This is different from other times where a lift crossed over another lift that was later removed; like was the case with Copper’s first American Flyer, which used to cross over a double chairlift just above the bottom terminal prior to the mid-1990s, after which said double was removed and the towers in that area were reprofiled)

        Because of more modern methods, Blackcomb needed a different profile for their gondola at the Excalibur crossing rather than do the zigzag that Wizard did to cross under Excalibur. It was obviously more cost-effective to lower Excalibur’s towers and change the upper of the two crossover towers to a combi tower, and have the Blackcomb Gondola cross over it, than try to thread the Blackcomb Gondola under Excalibur.

        It also sorta maintains a common rule seen when one lift crosses another that most of the time, the lift crossing over the other lift is the newer lift. Excalibur crossed over Wizard, and now Blackcomb Gondola crosses over Excalibur.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Collin Parsons March 30, 2021 / 6:49 pm

          Yes that is normally the case, like at Whiteface with the Cloudsplitter Gondola crossing over Bear, and Snowbasin with Needles crossing over Porcupine. However, there are exceptions that have normally resulted from the older, lower lift being replaced. At Attitash, the Summit Triple crosses over the Flying Yankee Express, but Flying Yankee replaced an older double chair that ran on the same route. It even reused the shared tower. At Park City, the Town lift crosses over Payday, but the Town lift originally crossed over the triple that Payday replaced.


        • Faery February 10, 2023 / 7:48 pm

          Like Red Dog going over Far East instead of under it as its previous incarnation.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Doppelmayr FTW February 11, 2019 / 11:22 am

    Those are some beefy terminals!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Paul Hothersall February 11, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    Also note this is with version 2 of the outside ski/board racks.

    We had a significant number of “problems” with the original fit resulting in non wind related equipment departures over open runs and some obviously unhappy guests with lost/damaged equipment.


    • Peter Landsman February 11, 2019 / 8:00 pm

      As of Saturday, all riders were required to bring equipment inside the cabins.


      • Doppelmayr FTW February 11, 2019 / 8:08 pm

        The racks dont hold skis well?


        • Peter Landsman February 13, 2019 / 4:35 pm

          I’m not sure what the reason is. The racks looked nice with a variety of sizes for different types of equipment. It was windy when I was there but the signs about taking everything inside seemed to be permanent.

          The lack of logos on the cabins is also a mystery to me. The concept art had them.

          Vail went with leather upholstered seats, which are awesome.


        • Doppelmayr FTW February 13, 2019 / 5:49 pm

          strange, could it have something to do with the height of the towers?


        • AvocadoAndy February 13, 2019 / 7:17 pm

          I did see that one of the cabins of the stage 2 pictures has the logo. Maybe they skipped putting the stickers on so the delay on the gondola’s opening wouldn’t be any longer than it needed to be.


        • Peter Landsman February 13, 2019 / 7:31 pm

          Normally the decals are applied at the factory. Here is a photo of the racks:


        • AvocadoAndy March 10, 2019 / 2:16 pm

          I was up there this weekend, and the racks didn’t have any issues, everyone was using them. They were also operating it as one gondola, which given not only that the racks weren’t in use and the fact they had it in two stages when you went up, it was probably for wind related issues.


  4. Logan March 1, 2019 / 7:39 pm

    The logos are going to be coming on all of them soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kaden K March 3, 2019 / 9:27 pm

    how does a 2 stage gondola work?


    • Max March 3, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      They’re basically two detachable lifts laid end to end (stage 1 and 2) and instead of the cabins turning around to go downhill at the end of the first/lower section like a single stage gondola, they transfer through the middle station from the lower section (stage 1) on to the upper section (stage 2) and continue on to the top of stage two. Most two stage gondolas have separate drive motors and haul ropes per stage/section allowing us to run the stages independently (like in peters photos above) or synchronized together as one whole lift, having cabins transfer between stages and cycling through the entire lift system instead of just one section or stage of it. Hope that helps :)


  6. Maxwell June 9, 2019 / 12:25 pm

    In SnowboardProCamp’s video they added the logos to the Blackcomb Gondola at 0:08. The Horstman T-Bar also re-opened at 1:57. At 4:43 they are carrying their board inside so that means they haven’t fixed the racks yet.


  7. AvocadoAndy August 31, 2019 / 12:01 am

    They’re doing a whole bunch of work up near the mid-station, mainly just removing trees and moving dirt and rocks around. Anyone have any ideas on what that’s for, or is it just them opening up the area for better access?


  8. Matthew Huerta December 6, 2020 / 9:44 am

    Are the drives for both sections at the mid-station?


    • Donald Reif December 6, 2020 / 11:42 am

      Only stage 1’s drive is at midway. Stage 2’s is at Rendezvous.


  9. Antonia January 2, 2021 / 4:06 am

    Hi, does anyone know what is the nouse emission of these mdg and also, what is the maximum wind speed they can operate/the wind soeed they need to temporarily stop for security/comfort?


    • Phoenix January 2, 2021 / 2:58 pm

      You can get a decent idea of the noise from this video:

      As far as wind, it depends on a lot of factors, for instance exposure and direction of wind.


  10. icefaceny November 17, 2021 / 10:57 am

    On the 20th or 21st picture, the caption says “the mid station is higher lower than the old…” which is it?


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