Fitzsimmons Express – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

This lift has bubble chairs in the winter and bike carriers in the summer.
Tower 14.
View back down the line.
Arriving at the top terminal.
Whistler Trip 234
Top drive station with a short chair parking rail.
This lift crosses under the Whistler Village Gondola.
Lower lift line in the village zone.
Side view of the bottom terminal.
Lift overview.
Lower station and tower 1.
View riding up the line.
WVG crossover.
Vail Resorts eliminated bubbles from this lift and all former bubble lifts at Whistler Blackcomb.
View back down the unskiable lift line.
Upper station with short maintenance rail.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.

45 thoughts on “Fitzsimmons Express – Whistler Blackcomb, BC

  1. Camnoger September 14, 2018 / 9:55 pm

    Does anyone know why they no longer put the bubbles on in winter? were they moved to the wizard for increased capacity or something?


    • Max September 15, 2018 / 12:09 pm

      The bubbles were removed from the chairs in around 2011 and haven’t been back on since. They were in pretty rough shape since Fitz doesn’t have a maintenance facility like Wizard (RIP) used to which they could care for the chairs/ bubbles in. They were likely saved to use as replacements for any of Wizard’s bubbles, but not as a capacity upgrade.


    • Collin September 15, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      The EJ bubble chairs seem to be a dying breed. Either the bubbles themselves or the entire lifts are getting removed.

      Some lifts that had the bubbles removed where then lifts initially stayed in service or are still in service today are Sundown @ Steamboat, Storm Peak @ Steamboat, Vista Bahn @ Vail, and Fitzsimmons @ WB.

      Soleil at Tremblant had bubbles in it’s original location where the south side gondola is now. When it was moved, the bubbles didn’t make it back on.

      All the high speed quads at The Yellowstone Club, plus the Meadows Pulse Quad had them on every other chair (every chair on Meadows), but now have the current-generation 4E98 bubble chairs.

      The only three north American lifts I know off the top of my head of that still have EJ bubble chairs with the bubbles intact are in Canada. They are Express du Sud at Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec, Lift H at Stoneham in Quebec, and Sunburst Express at Sun Peaks in British Columbia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doppelmayr FTW February 19, 2019 / 3:30 pm

        Only the lodge lift at YC got new E98 Bubbles. the rest still have the old style.


  2. Rob Withey September 15, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    Sunburst got a bunch of old Wizard bubble parts as spares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman September 15, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      Does Sun Peaks’ parent company still own 25 percent of Whistler Blackcomb?


    • Collin September 15, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      So cool that Sun Peaks is committed to keeping the bubbles on Sunburst. Oddly enough a similarly named lift on the other side of the continent is the Sunburst 6 at Okemo which also has bubbles. Hopefully the two lifts at the RCR resorts in Quebec keep their bubbles. Mont Sainte Anne was in the process of polishing them when I was there last February. Those two lifts however are very old and I would expect to see them replaced soon.


      • snowbasinlocal12894 September 15, 2018 / 6:48 pm

        I rode Seventh Heaven and at first it was so old I thought it was a old poma terminal. But really it was a 80’s style doppelmayr detachable terminal.


        • Maxwell Uguccioni February 20, 2019 / 8:59 pm

          7th Heaven is the oldest detachable at Whistler Blackcomb


  3. AvocadoAndy March 12, 2019 / 11:33 am

    Doesn’t seem like they run this lift more than a backup in the morning, I’m willing to bet most of its operating hours come from mountain biking in the summer.


  4. Trevor Wong November 27, 2019 / 2:14 pm

    Anyone know why they named this Fitzsimmons Express? Sounds like a ship name.


    • Teddy's Lift World November 27, 2019 / 2:28 pm

      The creek that runs through the valley that Peak 2 Peak crosses over is called Fitzsimmons Creek. I’m pretty sure it’s named after that.


    • Donald Reif November 27, 2019 / 2:33 pm

      They named it after the adjacent Fitzsimmons Creek that runs through the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb.

      It’s also at least partially named after the Fitzsimmons Chair, which was the first in a chain of three triple chairlifts that you used prior to 1994 to transition from Whistler to Blackcomb, the other two being Cruiser and Stoker. Fitzsimmons was replaced by stage I of the Excalibur Gondola; Cruiser was replaced by stage II of the Excalibur Gondola; and Stoker was replaced by the Excelerator Express.


    • Jerry Daniels August 13, 2020 / 5:43 pm

      Fitzsimmons Creek is the waterway which runs between whistler and blackcomb


  5. AbiW November 27, 2019 / 2:31 pm

    Not that this is a fandom site, but you’ve probably heard the name Fitz-Simmons as referring to the “ship” (as you Americans call it) between Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons from the TV show Agents of Shield.

    Dunno why Whistler would want to name the lift “Fitzsimmons”, though. I think they should upgrade it into a 10-person gondola along with Garbanzo to relieve capacity on the Whistler Gondola.


    • Donald Reif November 27, 2019 / 2:39 pm

      Again, it (and the triple that was replaced by Excalibur Stage I in 1994) were named for the creek that runs along the valley between the mountains.

      ” I think they should upgrade it into a 10-person gondola along with Garbanzo to relieve capacity on the Whistler Gondola.” Uh, no. I think it would be best for those two to stay chairlifts. Especially Garbanzo, which is actually used for lapping terrain in the stage II part of the gondola and actually has some terrain that isn’t accessible from the Whistler Gondola. I don’t think the Whistler side of the resort should become a mountain where the only pods of below tree-line skiing where you don’t have to remove your equipment after every run are Big Red and Emerald 6.


      • powderforever45 November 27, 2019 / 2:42 pm

        At least upgrade Fitzsimmons to a six pack. That’s really all I would do.


  6. JDog88 November 27, 2019 / 2:36 pm

    I agree with AbiW’s proposal for Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo. Peter, what do you think?


    • Donald Reif November 27, 2019 / 2:40 pm

      They don’t need to replace either of them. They just need to run Fitzsimmons all-day long and daily.


  7. Keith Scothern November 28, 2019 / 5:37 am

    The Fitzsimmons needs an upgrade for the summer not the winter. It is maxed out for the bike park.


  8. Gavin August 13, 2020 / 8:27 pm

    The skiing pod is mostly flat and low elevation, not at all worth lapping unless you’re a beginner, and even then there are options up higher with better snow. So an upgrade would mostly be for the bike park.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Somebody August 14, 2020 / 1:42 am

      And as extra out of base capacity to supplement the gondola.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif December 6, 2020 / 12:05 pm

        Those are two things that would be easily doable by 1) adding more chairs and 2) running the lift all day.


        • Donald Reif January 16, 2021 / 12:39 pm

          I have to imagine they have some spare chairs from the original Emerald 4 that didn’t transfer with that lift’s reinstallation as Catskinner that could be used to boost Fitzsimmons’ capacity.


  9. James July 3, 2022 / 8:55 pm

    not a fan of heights and was wondering if this lift is not going to make me faint when i saw it


  10. Charlie September 28, 2022 / 3:04 pm

    Looks like this will be the location of Vail Resorts first 8 pack


    • Donald Reif September 28, 2022 / 3:17 pm

      The crossing of the gondola’s going to be very interesting.

      I think they might have to temporarily close the lower part of the gondola for the duration of construction (and send everyone up the Blackcomb Gondola to Peak 2 Peak to get to Roundhouse).


      • LH September 28, 2022 / 3:36 pm

        Last time I was there for sightseeing during summer, they would only let us go up on the Blackcomb gondola anyhow… we came back down on Whistler gondola. I agree that option wont be available next summer, but it probably wont affect their operations much, the day we were there was plenty of lift capacity, there will just be longer lineups for the Peak2peak most likely (they might have to limit back and forth trips across).


    • LH September 28, 2022 / 3:26 pm

      Is this upgrade to improve the out of base capacity in the morning during the winter, or more for the bike park operations during the summer? I would not have guessed this lift to be high on Vail’s list for a D-Line replacement.


  11. Oliver Thousand September 29, 2022 / 12:10 pm

    Are they going to scrap this lift or relocate it?


    • Jonathan September 29, 2022 / 12:33 pm

      I would be surprised to see this lift scrapped. Whistler alone has multiple places for this lift to be useful (T-Bar Replacement, Olympic Replacement, Magic Replacement), let alone the entire Vail Resorts portfolio. Yet again they did scrap Red Chair last summer, which was just two years older than this lift.


      • Morris September 29, 2022 / 6:06 pm

        Maybe it was because Big Red was a Yan retrofit? I really hope they are able to do something with this instead of just scrapping it.


        • Donald Reif September 29, 2022 / 7:21 pm

          “Maybe it was because Big Red was a Yan retrofit?” So was Emerald, and that lives on as Catskinner. But those are two completely different cases.


        • skitheeast September 29, 2022 / 10:05 pm

          Big Red and Emerald 1.0 were twin lifts. Why Emerald was reused and Big Red was scrapped, I do not know, but a lot can change for old machines in the span of just a couple of years that influence these decisions. Fitz is younger and never needed an overhaul to remove its Yan components, but it likely has more hours due to its summertime usage, so we shall see what happens to it.

          The real question is where to reuse any detachable quad. I mentioned the proposed Franz/T-Bar replacement from Whistler’s master plan because that is really the only replacement idea I can think of unless they want a detachable beginner lift for Olympic.


        • Aussierob06 September 30, 2022 / 9:34 am

          @skitheeast, After 2018 when Catskinner was moved, Doppelmayr would no longer support moving a lift with the P8 controls, unless they were replaced as part of the move. This means a total electrical upgrade, like every electrical component in the lift including the drive. This is to meet code and their current design standard. Catskinner was only moved because they took a liberal interpretation of the Z98. Fitz is one of the original PSS300 lifts and still supported, so it could be moved, but again, its a small lift. You can’t just put it on a big alignment. It would work at Olympic or Magic. Not really anywhere else, unless a location was invented for it.


        • Peter Landsman September 30, 2022 / 9:59 am

          Southern Cross at Stevens Pass could be a good spot for Fitz in the same Vail region.


        • Aussierob06 September 30, 2022 / 9:55 am

          Sorry, my bad, typed reply before researching. Franz is smaller than I thought, and Fitz is designed for more capacity than is currently being used. It would probably fit there at the current 1800pph capacity.


        • jcpierce05 September 30, 2022 / 10:40 am

          Looks like Franz’s is about 3800′ in length and Fitzsimmons is around 5800, so Fitzsimmons could easily replace Franz’s in its current alignment. Another option would be to replace Franz’s and the T-Bars with this lift. Based on Google Earth measurements, the distance from the base of Franz’s to the top of the T-Bars is approx 5600′, so this lift would be an ideal fit in terms of length.


        • Morris September 30, 2022 / 5:17 pm

          Realized Emerald->Catskinner was also a Yan retrofit after I posted this, oops. Replacing Magic would also be a good use for the outgoing lift, maybe with a bit of time and a lift from Base 2 to the bottom of Catskinner, Blackcomb could have top to bottom chairlift access again


    • LH September 29, 2022 / 7:38 pm

      Hopefully if they dont find a reuse for this lift, that they offer it for sale to other resorts before scrapping it. There are a lot of other ski areas full of really old lifts that would make this chair seem like new.


      • Andrew K September 30, 2022 / 3:05 pm

        Whistler has sold off old lifts to other resorts pre-Vail. Fact is I think they have too many uses for it within their own resorts, even within Whistler itself to really bother with that.


  12. Tin Pants September 30, 2022 / 8:23 am

    the towers can not be reused they are embedded in the foundations they do not know how rusted they maybe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrew K September 30, 2022 / 3:07 pm

      Not sure where you’re getting that one, Fitz just uses bolts, you can see them in many of the pictures.


      • Tin Pants October 1, 2022 / 4:36 am

        sorry I was talking about the red chair


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