The new ski season is just starting but Vail Resorts, which bought North America’s biggest ski area Whistler Blackcomb in Canada late last year, has announced a bit spending spree at the famous BC ski resort.
Vail will spend more than $50m (US) on three state-of-the-art new lifts to dramatically improve uplift speed and capacity on key routes, the company says.
The first and biggest of the lifts will be a new gondola with 10-passenger cabins connecting to the famous Peak-2-Peak lift from Blackcomb base.
It will replace the Wizard and Solar chairlifts and ascend to the top of Blackcomb Mountain, terminating adjacent to the existing PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which transports guests to and from Blackcomb and Whistler.
Upon completion ahead of next season, the new gondola will offer guests a more comfortable and weather-protected ride up in what Vail Resorts believes will be the first three-gondola connection in the world, enhancing the longest continuous lift system.
The new gondola is also expected to represent a 47-percent capacity increase and move 4,000 people per hour, the highest capacity in North America.
The second new lift will be installed in Whistler Blackcomb’s Family Ski Zone, an upper-mountain area of intermediate trails popular with families.
Here the Emerald Express four-passenger lift will be replaced with a new six-passenger high-speed lift, increasing guest uphill capacity by 29 percent and maximizing time on the snow for families on the mountain’s premier intermediate learning terrain.
Finally, the existing Catskinner triple-passenger lift will be replaced with a four-passenger, high-speed lift, which will increase uphill capacity by 56 percent and allow Whistler Blackcomb guests to enjoy faster access to Blackcomb Mountain’s beginner and intermediate terrain.
“This transformative investment, the largest in the resort’s history, will offer a dramatic improvement to the experience for all of our guests as they explore and enjoy the largest and most popular resort in North America. We intend to continue to pursue other base area and village improvements that were part of the Renaissance, but we believed it was critical to start at our core, on the mountain,” said Pete Sonntag, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb.
Vail Resorts are also spending on Whistler Blackcomb’s mountain bike park to expand its summer season offering with 21 kilometres of new biking trails being added for the summer of 2018, representing the single largest new terrain opening in the history of the park