A Peak Winter Experience
The Peak 2 Peak gondola is more than a way between Whistler and Blackcomb. It’s a gateway to adventure and a memorable experience in its own right.
As the world’s best athletes converge in Whistler for the 2010 Winter Games, it’s almost a certainty world records will be broken. But even before the Games, Whistler was no stranger to setting world records. In fact, the mountain resort’s newest and most notable record-setter soars high above all others . . . literally.
Opened in December 2008, Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak 2 Peak gondola links the summits of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, merging the two to provide unprecedented access to 8,171 acres of ski terrain. A feat of engineering, the gargantuan Doppelmayr 3S gondola broke three world records in one fell swoop—or rather, one smooth ride—as the longest unsupported span, the highest lift of its kind and the longest continuous lift system on the globe.
While the record-setting statistics are impressive, nothing compares to the Peak 2 Peak experience. The 11-minute, 4.4-kilometre (2.7-mile) journey between the two mountains offers a 360-degree window into Whistler Blackcomb’s breathtaking sights, from the surrounding snow-covered peaks of the Coast Mountain Range to the Alpine region’s diverse wildlife habitat.
And sightseeing is just the start of the Peak 2 Peak’s allure. Its functionality allows summer outdoor enthusiasts to access more than 50 kilometres (31 miles) of hiking spread over 19 trails, while skiers and snowboarders can start the morning on Whistler mountain before transitioning seamlessly to the slopes of Blackcomb. Or vice versa.
If you prefer less-strenuous activities, the capabilities of the ski resort’s existing lift systems combined with the Peak 2 Peak mean you could feasibly explore the entire area while barely setting foot on the mountain. The most effort you’d have to expend would be recovering your jaw from the floor after the scenic valley-spanning ride.
The Peak 2 Peak operates in winter from 9:00 am to 3:15 pm and in summer from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm each day the mountain is open, weather permitting. Lift tickets for winter skiing and snowboarding and summer hiking and sightseeing automatically include access to the gondola. For more information, visit the Peak 2 Peak official Web site.
To learn about the dreamers and innovators behind this modern marvel, click below to watch Whistler Blackcomb’s “On the Shoulders of Giants” documentary, which tells the story of how the Peak 2 Peak came to be.
Here are a few facts about Peak 2 Peak that showcase the experience of riding in the gondola and the engineering that made it possible:
Speed: 7.5 metres per second
Ride Time: approximately 11 min.
Frequency: one cabin departs every 49 seconds
Total Distance: 4.4 kilometres/2.73 miles (straight line)
Length of Unsupported Span: 3.024 kilometres/1.88 miles
Highest Point: 436 metres/1,427 feet over Fitzsimmons Creek
Number of Cabins: 28
Capacity of Cabins: 22 seated, 6 standing
Capacity: 2,050 people per hour each way
Number of Towers: 4 (2 on Blackcomb, 2 on Whistler)
Height of Towers: 35–65 metres/100–213 feet