British Columbia

Peak-to-peak gondola to set records for Whistler-Blackcomb

Twenty-seven kilometres of cable are being laid in place this week for the record-setting Peak 2 Peak gondola under construction at the Whistler-Blackcomb resort north of Vancouver.

They have a reputation for doing things big in Whistler, B.C., but big is about to reach a whole new level for the West Coast ski town.

Twenty-seven kilometres of cable are being laid in place this week for the record-setting Peak 2 Peak gondola under construction at the Whistler-Blackcomb resort north of Vancouver.

When the new cable car connecting the resort's two mountain peaks opens in December 2008, the central three-kilometre span above the valley 436 metres below will be the highest and longest unsupported cable car span in the world.

In the works for 10 years and costing more than $50 million, the gondola will carry more than 2,000 people per hour a total distance of 4.4 km between the peak stations, a ride that will last about 11 minutes.

No other ski resort in North America runs a suspended horizontal lift connecting two mountain tops, and the Peak 2 Peak gondola will also put Whistler in the record books for the longest continuous lift system in the world.

And if the height and the distance don't provide enough of a thrill, two of the 28 cars will have glass floors, allowing the 28 passengers to look down nearly half a kilometre to Fitzsimmons Creek below.

The gondola was designed and built by a team of Swiss and Austrian specialists.

Whistler-Blackcomb will host the downhill ski events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

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