Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Whistler Blackcomb’s new Jersey Cream chairlift ahead of schedule

The new six-pack chairlift replaces a quad chair first installed in 1989, and removed earlier this year

Work on the new Jersey Cream chairlift on Blackcomb Mountain is coming along nicely as of mid-2024, despite the lingering snowpack as a result of a mild spring.

“The lift project is going ahead of schedule, even with the snow it hasn’t been an issue with any of our mountain operations,” said Whistler Blackcomb’s (WB) senior manager of planning and business development, Wendy Robinson, in an interview with Pique.

As of July 2, the team working to install the new chairlift had put up multiple towers, poured bases and was working on the terminals at the top and bottom of the hill.

The six-pack, high speed Doppelmayr chairlift is being installed along the same corridor as the previous quad chair in operation from 1989 to the end of the 2023-24 winter season.

“We have a solid team working up there… it’s the same team that was working last year with the Fitz, so really working cohesively there,” said Robinson.

In fact, visitors to the mountain in late June would have seen quite the spectacle, with WB using helicopters to install chairlift towers in more sensitive areas of the hill.

“It’s definitely a bit difficult terrain up there, closer to the alpine and that treeline,” said Robinson. “We’ve been really focused on the sensitive nature of that build.”

While the Jersey Cream project was delayed in 2023 due to labour shortages, with Doppelmayr telling WB it could work on only one of the two chairlift upgrades underway at the time, the resort still made progress in 2023, with footings for towers poured and installed underneath the then-still-present Jersey Cream—giving them a head start for this year.

“Last week we flew in all of the towers that we needed to fly in, so we did a little bit of a shuffle with construction between the towers and the terminals," Robinson said.

“Now there’ll be a larger focus on the terminals to get those laid in.”

The company is serious about getting the job done in 2024, giving itself an early start by closing Blackcomb to skiing before Whistler to allow for crews to remove the old chairlift.

“The crews did start on snow, moving by cats to get up there,” Robinson said.

With the weather warming up, Robinson said the project is dynamic at this stage, with a shuffle of timelines due to the availability of helicopters for the towers. That said, all the towers that needed to be flown in are now in place, and the remainder will be done by crane.

The area where the chairlift is being installed is noted by WB to be sensitive, so besides the helicopters to install towers, Robinson pointed out the use of a spider excavator to work at the base of towers that could get in and out of the area with minimal footprint.

“It minimizes the impact to the terrain that it’s going over, you don’t need a road built and it's not going to track out through the sensitive nature of the zone. That’s why when you look at it you don’t see roads into every tower,” she said.

Guests visiting Blackcomb can look right at the top half of the works on the chairlift from the Rendezvous, but cannot get close to construction works.

For opening times, Robinson said officials are confident being ahead of schedule now bodes well for the winter 2024-25 season.

“It’s an important lift for Blackcomb’s opening, so it’ll be ready to go for opening,” she said.

For the sticklers out there, the new Jersey Cream chair will use a standard T-footrest, rather than a delta, as seen on the Emerald Chair, and the new Fitzsimmons Chair. Features on the new chairlift are as they were ordered by Park City.

Both the Fitzsimmons and the Jersey Cream chairlifts are expected to serve Whistler Blackcomb for the next 25 to 30 years.