Whistler Blackcomb ran its first test of the new Peak 2 Peak lift with its first gondola Sky Cabin making the crossing shortly after announcing its target opening date for the lift.
The first 12 Sky Cabins made their way across the 4.4-kilometer (2.73-mile) span from Blackcomb Mountain towards Whistler Sept. 19. Tradition dictates that the first passenger is a Doppelmayr engineer, riding atop the gondola's carriage. Mathias Zundrell rode Sky Cabin Number Five across the expanse strapped in with a harness and wearing a hardhat as he hung 436 meters or 1,427 feet off the valley floor.
The gondola stopped at each lift tower for Zundrell to check the mechanisms. The remainder of the 12 Sky Cabins followed across the expanse, gliding into Whistler's terminal. Peak 2 Peak will have a total of 28 Sky Cabins, including two with glass floors.
Construction is still underway on both terminal buildings. Load testing will take place during October and November, as well as operator training and evacuation simulation and training.
The resort announced the gondola's official opening for Dec. 12. "We know that on December 12, the way our guests use Whistler Blackcomb will be changed forever," says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Whistler Blackcomb.