WHISTLER, BC - (News Release - September 17, 2007) - Five months into construction of Whistler Blackcomb's Peak to Peak Gondola and the record-breaking lift has begun to emerge from the ground. Construction in the spring and summer focused on excavation, site preparation, and concrete form work. In recent weeks the more visually spectacular elements of the construction process, such as tower erection, have begun. With elements such as Tower Three on Blackcomb Mountain and the drive and return terminals materializing, the magnitude and awesomeness of the project is all the more apparent.
"We're in a really exciting place construction-wise right now, says Rick Temple, Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak project manager. "The whole team has been working hard the past few months and in the next few weeks we'll have a lot to show for these efforts. For a lot of people, it's difficult to grasp just how big this project is. With the towers beginning to take shape, it hits you; this is going to be one amazing gondola system and a phenomenal experience for all of our guests.
On Whistler Mountain, the drive terminal's staging and scaffolding are complete. The next step involves pouring concrete for the upper platform which will support the machinery in the terminal. On Blackcomb Mountain, preparations for the return terminal's foundation are taking place. The concrete for the main mast footings and columns are also ready to be poured.
"The biggest challenge as we approach winter is getting all of the concrete poured at the terminals before the snow starts to fly, says Temple. "Delivery of steel needed for tower head installation is also on a tight schedule but otherwise construction is on track and we're feeling confident about getting done what we need to before the winter.
Tower Three on Blackcomb Mountain is the most visually stunning at the moment, with steel work up to the tower head level complete. The crane is now being moved to Whistler Mountain in anticipation of the steel arriving next week for the erection of Tower Two. At Blackcomb's Tower Four site, the foundation and spread footings have been completed. Next, the rebar work and concrete footings for the columns will be completed. Detailed excavation at Whistler's Tower One site has been completed with rebar work for the spread footings now the focus.
Two lifts on Blackcomb Mountain need to be moved to accommodate the Peak to Peak Gondola's travel line: the Solar Coaster detachable quad and the Catskinner, a fixed grip triple chair. The Solar Coaster top terminal was moved Wednesday and Thursday of last week. At Catskinner, towers have been relocated and the machine house was also moved at the end of last week.
Construction of the record breaking Peak to Peak Gondola, high resolution photographs, video and more updates can be found at http://ww1.whistlerblackcomb.com/p2pg/home.html. Phase One of construction wraps up October 2007 and Phase Two begins Spring 2008. The Peak to Peak Gondola will be complete December 2008.