Plans to upgrade Whistler Mountain's Fitzsimmons chairlift in 2023 are moving ahead, but skiers and snowboarders will have to wait another year to see a new Jersey Cream chair start spinning on Blackcomb.
Whistler Blackcomb took to social media on Thursday afternoon to share the update on a pair of lift replacement projects that were initially scheduled for this summer.
"Pending final permitting, our plan is still to upgrade Fitzsimmons Express this summer," the post read. "Unfortunately, our lift manufacturing and install partner, Doppelmayr, has informed us they cannot complete both Fitz and Jersey Cream Express this summer due to their labour and resource constraints."
As a result, construction on Jersey will be pushed to summer 2024. It is now due to be complete in time for the 2024-25 winter season, "subject to regulatory approvals." The current four-seater Jersey lift will continue to operate as usual in the meantime.
Whistler Blackcomb parent company Vail Resorts first announced last September that both the Fitzsimmons and Jersey Cream chairlifts were in store for an upgrade.
The existing four-person Fitzsimmons chair located at the Whistler Village base is set to be replaced with an eight-person, high-speed chair, increasing uphill capacity both in winter and for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park in the summer months.
Meanwhile, a new high-speed six-pack will eventually replace the current high-speed quad in the Jersey Cream zone. The upgrade is expected to increase uphill capacity by 29 per cent, also reducing lift-line wait times and improving circulation in Blackcomb's high-traffic mid-mountain area.
The brand-new lifts were originally earmarked for Vail Resorts’ Park City property in Utah, but were stalled by permitting delays.
“We’re excited about the opportunity that we have by having the right profile to put these lifts in, because … there are specifics to it,” Whistler Blackcomb's then-COO Geoff Buchheister told Pique last fall.
Both Fitzsimmons and Jersey Cream were on Whistler Blackcomb’s list of lifts due for replacement in the “near future,” he added. “So the decision we had to make really was, ‘Are we ready to pull that forward?’ And you know, after contemplating it all, we realized that this was a true opportunity and we needed to take advantage of it.”
According to Whistler Blackcomb, work on disassembling the Fitz chair is slated to begin later this month, with construction slated to get underway "shortly thereafter."
The statement added that prep work for a new lift will still be carried out in the Jersey zone this summer, which is expected to expedite the chair's installation the following year.
"We are committed to working closely with Doppelmayr to ensure that the construction, installation, and testing of Fitz moves ahead safely as planned," the post read.