It’s safe to say we’re not the first to praise Whistler for all the incredible things it offers. While the mountains that dominate our skyline are arguably our greatest asset, our most impressive man made feature has to be the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Not only does it provide us with an easy journey between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain, but we are also treated to a stunning 360-degree view of the village, mountains, lakes and glaciers. Here’s everything you should know about our treasured gondola, and why it’s the best way to experience Whistler in all its glory.
It’s hard to imagine Whistler without picturing a tiny red string of gondolas high above the Village, but the Peak 2 Peak really hasn’t been here all that long. The Garibaldi Lift Company opened Whistler Mountain in 1965, and Blackcomb was opened under separate ownership in 1980. It wasn’t until 1997 when the two mountains were brought together by Intrawest on a single lift ticket. Rightfully so, this encouraged skiiers to want to ride both mountains in one day without having to ski all the way back down to the village. Ideas for our iconic gondola began to circulate in around 1997, but the project was not announced until 8 years later. Building began in May 2007, and 16 months later on September 19th 2008 the first twelve cabins set sail across the mountains. The rest is history.
Most people who visit or live in Whistler are aware that the Peak 2 Peak held the world-record for the longest free span between ropeway towers in the world (until last year when the our long-standing record was broken by the Eibsee Cable Car in Germany). But did you know it’s 87,000 ft long and boasts a ride time of 11 minutes, meaning it moves at a nifty 7.5 metres per second? Here are some other impressive accomplishments:
-The Peak 2 Peak is also the highest tri-cable lift of its kind with an elevation of 436 metres!
-The gondola was built in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of CND $51 Million.
-It’s capacity is a staggering 4,100 people per hour.
-It’s quite the Whistler celebrity, appearing on a 2009 Discovery Channel documentary, and a History Channel show called Modern Marvels.
With the Peak 2 Peak 360 Experience, you can visit both mountains in one day. The ticket gives you access to a variety of open-air chairlifts and gondolas, plus access to a behind-the-scenes look at the machinery and engineering of such an impressive construction. Once you’re up the mountain, enjoy over 50km of hiking, running and walking trails, and a breathtaking view. In the summer, the Mountain Top Summer Feast allows fine dining on the Roundhouse Lodge patio, and there are plenty of other restaurant options to choose from. If you’re lucky you can even try getting a special glass-bottom gondola, which provides a unique bird-eye view of the forest, and a completely changed perspective of our stunningly beautiful Canadian Coast Mountains.
While we can try our best, our words and pictures can’t do the Peak 2 Peak justice. To truly appreciate the scale and immensity of such a construction, it needs to be experienced in person.
If you need a basecamp for this adventure, Whiski Jack Resorts offers vacation rentals for groups, couples and families in the heart of Whistler village, slope side on Blackcomb and at the base of the Creekside gondola. You can book online here, or look into our best deals of the season!