Five years after it first opened, the popular Sea to Sky Gondola destination just south of Squamish and Stawamus Chief has received a huge capacity boost for the aerial gondola system’s carrying capacity.
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The gondola now has 10 additional cabins, increasing the total number of cabins to 30 — a 50% increase.
This effectively increases the carrying capacity of the system from 600 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) to 900 pphpd, when the line is running at full capacity and full speed.
Operators told Daily Hive the cabins each have a carrying capacity for eight passengers — the same capacity as the original cabins — and were custom-built by Swiss manufacturer CWA.
A level entrance and exit enables the gondolas to be wheelchair and stroller accessible. The seats are padded for added comfort, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow for maximum views.
Each one-way gondola ride to an elevation 885 metres above the sea level of Howe Sound takes 10 minutes. It provides access to the summit’s sightseeing experiences, including viewing platforms, a suspension bridge, walking trails, and dining facilities at the summit lodge.
Since it opened, the gondola has opened up backcountry hiking trails, acting as a gateway to the upper Shannon Creek watershed, Goat Ridge, Mount Habrich, Sky Pilot Mountain, and other areas of interest along the Sea to Sky Corridor.
The increased carrying capacity will help shorten the long lines for the gondola ride during the peak summer season.
As well, the added capacity comes ahead of the spring 2020 opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola’s new major summit attraction — a 2.5-km-long spiral elevated walkway that stands at over 34 metres in height to provide 360-degree panoramic views.