British Columbia·Video

Sea to Sky Gondola rides again, 6 months after cable was deliberately cut

The Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C., reopened Friday, just over six months after a vandal sliced the main cable, downing the popular tourist attraction.

Act of vandalism felled the popular tourist attraction in August 2019

A group takes one of the first rides on the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C., since it reopened Friday. (Jon Hernandez/CBC News)

The Sea to Sky Gondola reopened Friday, just over six months after a vandal sliced the main cable, sending the popular Squamish, B.C., tourist attraction to the ground.

The two-kilometre cable route, along with the 30 gondola cars attached to it, crashed overnight on Aug. 10.

Though no one was on board at the time of the crash, and no one was hurt when the cars fell to the ground, the incident caused up to $10 million in property damage.

The cause of crash, which occurred shortly after the cable had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance, was initially the source of much bewilderment.

It was only after investigators located a deliberately severed section of the the six-strand 55 millimetre-wide cable that RCMP declared the incident a deliberate act of vandalism and the site "a crime scene."

The sliced cable meant the attraction had to close for the season, and 75 seasonal staff had to be let go. 

An eager crowd waits to ride the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish on Friday. (Jon Hernandez/CBC News)

Kirby Brown, the general manager of the Sea to Sky Gondola, said the last six months have been tumultuous.

"It's been a lot of learning, a lot of growing, a lot of painful heartache days. But here we are on the doorstep of reopening and that feels pretty darn good," Brown said. 

Brown says the company got a new cable shipped in from Switzerland and a new fleet of cable cars. It's also installed an intensive security system, reorganized the leadership in the company, created a new web site, contracted with new suppliers and even revamped the menu in the summit restaurant. 

The company says lift tickets will be discounted by 50 per cent during the reopening long weekend.

Watch the gondola take passengers up the mountain again: 

The company says lift tickets will be discounted by 50 per cent during the reopening long weekend. 0:43

Will tourists board?

But he says there's still the challenge of whether people will feel comfortable boarding the route after what happened last summer — especially considering there have been no arrests made in the investigation.

"Not having somebody in jail is definitely, you know, a problem," Brown said, but added he's pleased with the RCMP's work.

He said he's confident the new security measures would immediately detect any tampering now.

"I think they will find somebody and until that time, I feel very confident that we'll be here and we'll be able to operate safely and securely into the future."

Squamish RCMP say someone deliberately cut the cable of the Sea-to-Sky gondola in Squamish, B.C., during the night of Aug. 10, 2019. (Squamish RCMP )

With files from On The Coast

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