Nothing has been finalized and it’s several years away even if they decide to do it, but Whistler/Blackcomb is considering a tram which would cross the Fitzsimmons Valley and connect the two mountains.
The two-car aerial tram would connect the high alpine areas of the two mountains, likely somewhere in the 7th Heaven zone on Blackcomb and somewhere near the Harmony Express on Whistler. The tram would tie in with some aspects of the master transportation plan for the valley that is still being formulated.
Rumours concerning the two-mountain tram, which have been circulating for several weeks, were confirmed Tuesday by David Perry, Whistler/Blackcomb’s director of marketing and sales. Perry confirmed the lift is being considered while he was a guest on Mountain FM’s Mountain Monitor program.
While stressing that no decisions have been made and a timeline has not been announced, Perry also outlined the probable schedule for new lifts on Whistler Mountain. A chair between the Harmony and the new Emerald Express (formerly Green Chair), approximately where the old Blue Chair was, is likely to be the next addition to the mountain’s lift network. Following that, an upgrade of the Peak Chair is likely. The fixed-grip triple chair will be replaced by a high-speed quad.
The next lift after the Peak upgrade will likely be a chair in the Symphony Bowl area. After that, a lift or series of lifts from the Creekside up to the West Bowl area is scheduled. Probably farthest in the future is a series of lifts up the backside of the mountain from the Cheakamus River area.
Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, which is working on the valley’s master transportation plan for the municipality and which has also done master plans for Whistler and Blackcomb, has suggested Whistler Mountain will need a second access lift from the village in the near future, simply because of the number of beds in the village area. Perry confirmed Tuesday that an access lift, tentatively called the Garbonzo Chair, has been studied. The lift would likely terminate somewhere in the Black Chair/Orange Chair area.
Perry also confirmed that the winter of 1997-98 will likely be the last for the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. The original mountain-top restaurant opened for Whistler Mountain’s second season of operation, 1966-67.
While expansion plans for Blackcomb are less extensive than those for Whistler Mountain, there is a right-of-way for another access lift from the Benchlands parking lot area.