A Longer Gondola
From one mountain to another, on a couple of cables
There’s gondolas, and then there’s the new Whistler Blackcomb resort’s Peak 2 Peak gondola. The modern marvel opened December 12, creating the world’s longest unsupported span, which stretches 1.88 miles across Fitzsimmons Creek at a measly 1,427 feet above sea level. The full 2.73-mile gondola trip joins two mountains, providing more than 8,000 acres of ski-able terrain to the most enthusiastic bums.
The gondola opened just one month ago with 28 sky cabins (two with glass bottoms) traversing the land at just under 17 mph completing the trip in 11 minutes. All 28 cabins were built in Switzerland by CWA and shipped to Canada. The gondola utilizes a unique 3S rope configuration, which is unique to North America and one of only four worldwide. Two track ropes 56 mm in diameter remain stationary, while a single haul rope that’s 46 mm in diameter pulls the cars. The 3S design allows the incredibly long spans and provides increased stability in high winds, according to Whistler. There’s a full list of safety redundancies, including an Obstacle Collision Avoidance System that somehow ensures the cars will play a winning game of Frogger should any unexpected air traffic appear.