WHISTLER, BC, July 9, 2008
– With sightseeing, mountain biking, and glacier skiing taking place on the mountains, Whistler Blackcomb's guests have been able to get up close and personal to watch the exciting construction action taking place on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Those lucky enough to time their visit right may witness the current task of stringing 28 kilometres worth of cable across the valley. This feat of engineering is an extremely complicated process taking 12 to 14 weeks, and slated for completion by early to mid-September.
The delivery of five gargantuan reels of cable on June 17 was a huge milestone in this project's construction journey, and since that date, each reel has made the slow journey up to the Blackcomb terminal station to await stringing.
"The rope works crew has installed and tensioned the first track rope across the valley and they are currently working on the second one," says Rick Temple, Whistler Blackcomb's PEAK 2 PEAK Construction Manager. "The process of stringing the track rope is being managed by a team of 15 from the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, lift manufacturer and ski industry leader."
After the second track rope has been installed, two additional track ropes and the haul rope will remain. Since these cables are too heavy to string across at the outset, progressively larger and larger cables have been pulled down from Blackcomb's terminal station, to Fitzsimmon's Creek in the middle, and then up Whistler Mountain's flank to the terminal station there.
A small temporary cable lift has been built in the valley near the middle of the span which pulls each cable down the valley from Blackcomb with the help of a linear pulling machine which feeds the cable through two jaws working "hand over hand," one metre at a time, 240 metres per hour. When the final 56mm track rope finally arrives in the valley, it is slowly hauled up Whistler's flank with a 50 ton winch until it arrives at the Whistler terminal station to be attached to an anchor bollard and threaded onto the saddles of each of the four lift towers.
There are four track ropes to be installed across the valley, creating two stationary "train tracks" going each way across the valley. Doppelmayr's unique 3S gondola technology has each cabin traveling along these track rope cables with the 46mm haul rope cable looped across the valley and pulling in the middle of each set track. The haul rope is not stationary and will need to be spliced to create the continuous loop from Blackcomb to Whistler.
Great progress has also been made on the Whistler and Blackcomb terminal buildings. Guests on both mountains can check out the full immensity of the project by viewing the framework of these terminal buildings, and the machinery and concrete work taking shape inside. For those who can't make it up in person, the progress is captured daily via webcams, and weekly via photography and news updates on the
There has been much speculation about the additional price for riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
s Morgan Ralph spoke with Michelle Leroux about the price structure. "Our local/regional pass products like season pass and edge cards have the option to add the P2P or not. Our destination tickets - through tour operators, booked online, packages, ticket window - will have the P2P embedded in the ticket price," Leroux said. "We aren't announcing ticket rates until the fall as we always do."
For more information about the Battle of the Build between the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and Jackson Hole's
, stay tuned to SkiNet.com.