Whistler Blackcomb's Peak 2 Peak Gondola will reopen this weekend for the summer sightseeing season, after all.
That good news came in a post on the resort's lift blog Friday afternoon, two days after Whistler Blackcomb warned sightseers ongoing repairs could potentially postpone the valley-spanning gondola's summer opening.
The Peak 2 Peak was initially slated to reopen for summer sightseeing operations this Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m., along with the Whistler Mountain Bike Park's Creekside and Garbo zones. On Wednesday afternoon, the resort said its team was "optimistic" the Peak 2 Peak would be ready by its scheduled summer kickoff, but "out of an abundance of caution" told guests a delay could be necessary if crucial repairs were not completed in time.
While working on the Peak 2 Peak this spring, "our Lift Maintenance Team discovered an issue on the Whistler side of the Gondola related to ice buildup that occurred after closing at the end of ski and ride season," the resort explained in Wednesday's post. "The experts who know the unique engineering of the [gondola] were immediately notified to provide guidance on repairs."
Whistler Blackcomb confirmed the issue has since been fixed, but told sightseers to expect a slight delay in Peak 2 Peak operations Saturday morning as maintenance teams perform final safety checks.
One bonus? Uncertainty about whether the Peak 2 Peak would start spinning on schedule has prompted the resort to reopen the Blackcomb Gondola earlier than expected.
Though sightseers are required to upload via the Upper Village's Blackcomb Gondola this summer—freeing up the Creekside and Whistler Village Gondolas to cater exclusively to mountain bikers while construction on the new Fitzsimmons Express chairlift continues—the Blackcomb Gondola was originally slated to stay closed for maintenance during the week spanning June 10 to 16.
A Whistler Blackcomb spokesperson confirmed the Blackcomb Gondola will still open ahead of schedule on June 10.
"This is only possible because of the incredible work of our Lift Maintenance Team to meet all safety requirements ahead of schedule," Whistler Blackcomb explained in Wednesday's post. "We still have work to do, which will be deferred to an as-yet-to-be-determined date prior to the start of winter season – we'll share more on that once the schedule is hammered out."
For now, the Blackcomb Gondola will serve as the main upload point for both sightseers and athletes heading uphill to Blackcomb's Glacier Camps. Sightseers can then ride the Peak 2 Peak over to the Whistler side, where they will be welcome to download via the Whistler Village Gondola, if they prefer. (When Whistler's weekend Mountaintop Feasts begin at the Roundhouse on June 23, diners will, however, be able to upload the Whistler Village Gondola starting at 4:30 p.m.)
When it first opened to the public in December 2008, the Peak 2 Peak gondola broke the world record for the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind thanks to the more than three kilometres between two of its towers. With 436 metres between the Peak 2 Peak's gondola cabins and the valley bottom at one point along the route, it is still considered the world's highest lift of its kind. Linking the Rendezvous and Roundhouse lodges on Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, the Peak 2 Peak carries its riders a distance 4.4 kilometres in just 11 minutes each way.