Peak 2 Peak
Words & Images: George Bale
It was Valentines Day in Whistler Village and after spending the previous 3 days skiing beneath the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and its imposing metal towers it seemed the perfect time to cross the span between the two mountains and appreciate the views. The two stations for the gondola sit near the top of each mountain with the track ropes suspended between, dropping down into the cloud and reappearing across the valley. This interaction with the weather allows for incredible and ever changing views on each journey, especially when entering the cloud, which appears almost as a solid wall. The numbers work this gondola to be both the highest and longest lift in the world, and it is definitely also one of the most spectacular.
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a tri-cable gondola lift located in Whistler, British Columbia.
The gondola links Whistler Mountain's Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain's Rendezvous Restaurant.
It holds world records for the longest free span between ropeway towers (3.024km/1.88 miles) and highest point above the ground (436m/1427ft).
The full distance between the two terminals (direct line) is 4.4km.
At full operating speed the gondolas travel at 27kph (16.77mph).
With the gondola at full operating speed the journey from one side to the other takes a total of 11 minutes.
The haul rope that pulls the gondola is attached to an 885hp drive motor via an 11.5 metre drift shaft that protrudes vertically into the terminal.
It is the whistler terminal that houses the drive motor, along with the smaller 380hp back up motor.
On average the gondola transports 2050 people between Whistler and Backcomb per hour.
At full capacity the gondola can transport up to 4100 people per hour.
Each cabin can hold a maximum of 28 people at any given time.
When running at full capacity there are 28 cabins in operation.
The cabins themselves weigh in at 4 metric tons each.
The track ropes, which support the cabins as opposed to the haul rope that is used to pull them, weigh 89 tons each.
Each track rope is 56mm thick, while the haul rope is 46mm.
The haul rope weighs 85 tons and is 9km in length.
In total there are 4 towers supporting the ropes and cabins, 2 on each mountain. Each tower varies between 35 and 65 metres in height.
The building of the entire project took less than two years with groundbreaking in early 2007 and completion being reached in winter of 2008.