British Columbia

Sea to Sky Gondola to reopen in late spring, early summer

The Sea to Sky Gondola has announced plans to reopen in late spring or early summer of this year. It was forced to shut down for a second time in September, when someone deliberately cut the cables in the middle of the night once again.

Squamish attraction forced to shut down again in September after cables cut 2nd time

The Sea to Sky Gondola closed in September 2020 after a cable was found deliberately cut in the middle of the night for the second year in a row. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The Sea to Sky Gondola plans to reopen — again — in late spring or early summer of this year. It was forced to shut down in September after someone deliberately cut the cables for the second year in a row.

"The complicated clean-up process has been completed, and orders have been placed for new cable and 25 new cabins," read a statement on the Squamish attraction's website. 

It said the new cable is en route to Squamish. It is still waiting for a timeline for delivery on the cabins from its Swiss supplier. 

The 39-car gondola takes passengers up from its base near the Sea to Sky Highway to a viewpoint on a towering cliff nearly a kilometre above Howe Sound.

It is a major tourist attraction and usually carries 400,000 visitors annually up the steep mountainside.

Only reopened last spring

The thick steel cable was first severed in the middle of the night on Aug. 10, 2019, sending the cars crashing onto the mountainside.

Owners said at the time that the vandalism would cost the gondola company between $5 million and $10 million, including replacement cabins, a new cable and lost business.

A car from the Sea-to-Sky gondola lies crumpled on the ground after the gondola cable was deliberately cut on Sept. 13, 2020. (Squamish RCMP)

The company repaired the attraction with a fresh line and new cars after the 2019 crime. It partially reopened in February and fully reopened in May, only to close again in September after the second vandalism.

The company has filed a lawsuit against its former insurance broker claming agents' negligence meant the business wasn't as covered as it should have been for the income lost during the first six-month shutdown.

RCMP said no one has been charged in connection with either incident.

A $250,000 reward has been offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal or vandals.

The company said its rebuild includes additional security measures that are "extraordinary in the lift industry" and were implemented after "extensive consultation with world-renowned security industry professionals." But it did not go into detail about its new security system. 

An officer with the Squamish RCMP stands at the Sea-to-Sky gondola on Sept. 14, 2020, the morning after the cable of the gondola was deliberately cut for a second time. (Squamish RCMP)

Due to the ongoing construction, the base area and parking lot will be closed from Jan. 18 to 28th, along with the Sea to Sky Gondola gift shop, Basecamp Cafe, guest services and Shannon Falls Connector Trail. 

Anyone with information about the RCMP investigation is asked to call the dedicated phone line: 604-892-6122 or email: gondola.info@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.solvecrime.ca.

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