British Columbia

End in sight for 53-year-old sky tram on North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain didn't say exactly what would replace the blue Skyride currently used by staff, but the resort is starting to look at options.

Blue Skyride is 'approaching the end of its useful life,' says resort

The blue Skyride is now used mainly as a service line for Grouse Mountain staff at the North Vancouver, B.C., resort. A newer red Skyride moves visitors up the mountain. (Wikimedia Commons)

One of the oldest mountain lifts on Vancouver's North Shore is going to be replaced.

Grouse Mountain resort has begun exploring what will replace the blue Skyride aerial tram, which first opened in 1966.

The 53-year-old tram, which is one of the oldest still operating in B.C., has not carried visitors up the mountain for several years and is currently used by staff for service and maintenance. 

Grouse Mountain spokesperson Julia Grant said that while "no immediate changes" are expected to the tram system, the resort is in preliminary stages of planning as the Skyride is "approaching the end of its useful life."

"We believe a lift replacement will provide an opportunity to enhance our guests' experience accessing Grouse Mountain, as well as reduce wait times uploading and downloading," Grant said in a statement.

Faster, more comfortable options available

Peter Landsman, a skier and lift operator in Jackson Hole, Wyo., runs the site Lift Blog which keeps track of gondolas, trams and ski lifts across North America.

He says he could see signs of age the last time he rode the blue Skyride.

"There was a pretty big line to get down at the end of the day," he said.

"Aerial trams like that have to stop to load and unload ... it's just not a particularly efficient way to move people."

Landsman said there are faster and more comfortable gondola and aerial tram options in resorts around North America and Europe.

"These lifts can move really fast, they are really stable in high winds," he said.

"They are also ...  more frequently departing, so you're not waiting 10 or 20 minutes for a tram cabin, you're only waiting about 30 seconds before the next gondola comes along."

The red Skyride is currently the main way visitors get to the top of the mountain, short of hiking the Grouse Grind trail.

In another statement, Grouse Mountain said that 'we will be working to solidify plans over the coming year.'

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