Know the ropes: how Whistler Blackcomb keeps your lifts spinning

It’s starting to look a lot like winter at Whistler Blackcomb and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been checking the mountain cams daily and peeking out your window at every opportunity to watch the snow line creep down the mountains. 

Just because the gondolas are closed until we launch for winter, does not mean all is quiet. Behind the scenes, every department is busy preparing for another safe season of skiing and riding and, in lift maintenance, life is hopping. 

Earlier in October, the Whistler Blackcomb Lift Maintenance team prepare to replace the haul rope on Excalibur Gondola. 

Fall is our big preventative maintenance thrust as we work to get the lifts winter-ready. A few years back, Vail Resorts invested in new lifts in the largest single year capital investment in Whistler Blackcomb’s history. As construction got underway, and we started flying in the towers, we watched as our guests’ interest grew. More and more people flocked to the mountain each morning as the commotion of the day’s work became a bit of an attraction itself. 

So in October, realizing you might love a good behind-the-scenes glimpse of the goings on today, when we launched into our Excalibur Gondola haul rope replacement, we sent along a camera.  

Removing the rope from the tower and placing a pulley. The pulley allows for more free travel when they start pulling through the new rope. 

Guy and Duncan operating the brake to modulate the speed so the new rope doesn’t unravel.
Laying the rope back onto the spool evenly. 
The old rope is spliced into the new rope and then pulled around the lift line.

This year, we’re shortening the haul rope on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and replacing grips on the Whistler Village Gondola.  We also replaced the Fitzsimmons haul rope and rebuilt its main gearbox at the end of biking season, so we’ll be as reliable as possible come powder mornings. 

Then next summer, its back into another exciting construction cycle, executing a major lift upgrade for Creekside: a new high-speed, eight-person gondola and six-person Big Red Express chairlift. The lifts are part of the largest single-year investment into the guest experience made by Vail Resorts and will cut down lines and wait times for those who love to ski and ride Creekside. You can learn more about the Epic Lift Upgrade here

Needless to say, we’re expecting to see everyone back at the base of Creekside come summer, watching as all the action unfolds. And in the meantime, look forward to seeing you in the lift line shortly as we all take advantage of the lift maintenance team’s hard work. 

One last little reminder: This season we have reduced Season Pass and EDGE card prices by 20% to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the mountains. Click here for unlimited, unrestricted skiing at Whistler Blackcomb and beyond.