Whistler Blackcomb to build new gondola and lift to cut down on wait times

Sep 23 2021, 10:46 pm

Whistler Blackcomb will see a major upgrade to machinery in the near future and a decrease in wait times, as part of a massive investment by its operator, Vail Resorts.

On Thursday, the company announced a capital investment that will range between $315 and $325 million. Vail says it’s the company’s largest single-year investment into the guest experience.

The plan will see over a dozen new chairlifts installed to upgrade existing machinery, with the goal of reducing wait times, increasing uphill capacity, and creating more lift-served terrain. In total, 19 new chairlifts will be installed across 14 ski resorts owned by Vail.

Whistler Blackcomb will see the Creekside Gondola, which sits at the original base of Whistler Mountain, replaced with a high-speed, eight-person gondola. It will replace the six-person machine that currently exists and increase out-of-base uphill capacity by 35%.

Additionally, the Big Red Express will see its four-person model replaced by a high-speed, six-person chairlift. Similarly, the upgrade will increase uphill capacity by 30%, as well as modernize the guest experience mid-mountain out of the Creekside area.

Vail Resorts plans to complete the projects ahead of the 2022-23 ski season, although they note that government approval and the timing of said approvals could affect completion.

The last major investment made by Vail Resorts saw a $66 million investment at Whistler Blackcomb for the 2018-19 season, which saw three new lifts installed — the Catskinner Chairlift, the Emerald Express Chairlift, and a 10-person gondola connecting Blackcomb Base and Rendezvous.

Other resorts that will benefit from the investment include Vail Mountain, Park City Mountain, and Keystone resort. Vail Resorts adds that additional projects are expected to be announced in December 2021 and March 2022.

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