Whistler, BC — The completion of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola ropework and the arrival of 28 Sky Cabins set the stage for what will be the biggest construction milestone of the lift installation — the first Sky Cabin to cross the record-breaking 3 km/1.88 mile, unsupported span between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
“With the haul rope spliced and all 28 Sky Cabins transported to the Blackcomb terminal, our next objective will be to get the cabins on the line and to send 12 across the span to Whistler,” says Rick Temple, Peak 2 Peak Gondola Construction Manager. “We are aiming to send them over by mid to late September, and are on track for the upcoming December grand opening.”
The Sky Cabins were shipped across the Atlantic from Olten, Switzerland where they were manufactured by CWA, global leader in design and construction of cableway vehicles. The Sky Cabins were then loaded onto ten trucks for the journey through Canada. Two cabins feature glass floors, enclosed by a railing, for a bird’s eye view of the Fitzsimmon’s Valley 436 metres/1,430 feet below.
Another significant milestone was the splicing of the haul rope to create a continuous loop, which took place August 29 and 30. The splice was 68 metres/220 feet long, and took a crew of 14 people over 15 hours to complete. Norm Duke, a FATZER AG certified splicer from Wyoming, lead the team of seven Whistler Blackcomb employees and six Doppelmayr/Garaventa employees to complete the job. Duke has spliced many of Whistler Blackcomb’s FATZER AG ropes and spliced the Symphony Express rope in 2006. The splice was achieved by untwining strands from each end of the steel cable and then re-braiding them together to ensure a perfect bind that maintains the haul rope’s diameter of 46mm.
Doppelmayr’s unique 3S gondola technology has each cabin traveling along two 56mm track ropes which bear the weight of the Sky Cabins, with the haul rope pulling in the middle of the two tracks. The haul rope was the only splice needed for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola since the track ropes are stationary and do not loop from Blackcomb to Whistler.
The terminal buildings are nearing completion with cladding installation in the final stages and station set-up taking place. Construction progress of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is captured daily via webcams, and weekly via photography and construction blogs on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola microsite at www.whistlerblackcomb.com . The Peak 2 Peak Gondola will open in December.