Whistler Community –
I want to provide an update on the ongoing lift upgrade projects that have been underway at Whistler Blackcomb since the start of the summer. Doppelmayr, the lift manufacturer for the new Big Red lift and the Creekside Gondola, has informed us that they are experiencing supply chain and shipping issues which has delayed delivery of critical parts, impacting the completion timing of both projects. Unfortunately, this means the lifts will not open in time for the season kick-off. When we launched the project with Doppelmayr in November 2021, the lifts were set to be fully completed and commissioned by November 24, 2022. At this time, we anticipate opening Big Red in early December and will provide an update on the opening timeline for Creekside Gondola once the delayed parts arrive.
The Doppelmayr Canada team has shared their disappointment: “We would like to apologize to all who plan to visit Whistler Blackcomb and the impact they may experience as the result of the delayed opening of both Big Red and the Creekside Gondola,” said Luc Guy, CEO – Doppelmayr Canada. “We experienced significant global supply chain and shipping challenges, and did not anticipate delays to this degree. We understand the importance of these projects, and how this delay will impact uphill access and the overall guest experience out of Creekside. We are doing everything we can in partnership with the Whistler Blackcomb team to complete the gondola as safely and quickly as possible. We will move with urgency and align to all safety protocols once the haul rope arrives, and we are confident that the new Creekside Gondola will truly provide an improved experience for visitors to these beautiful mountains.”
We appreciate Doppelmayr’s work to address this and their partnership to complete these two important projects. Our Whistler Blackcomb team has worked incredibly hard, with heart, focus, and tenacity and I’m really proud of how we have come together and kept things moving in a productive, positive way.
The towers and assemblies are in, earth work is done, and we are nearing completion of the plaza areas. Our team has also been supporting the Doppelmayr installation team due to their labour shortage and have assisted in improving timelines. We are also bringing in lift mechanic team members from our Australian resorts, who recently finished their winter season, to help accelerate the project and further supplement Doppelmayr’s labour needs.
We will share progress updates on our social channels as things move forward – in the meantime, here is what you need to know:
- The entire Whistler Blackcomb team is committed to ensuring a great start to the 2022/23 ski + ride season. The team is working through our opening plan and are designing an operating footprint that will deliver the most skiable terrain as possible, while limiting the challenges faced by our guests. As is the case every year, our season opening package is conditions-dependent; we will take every opportunity for snowmaking to deliver terrain on both mountains. We will also accelerate ramp-up on Blackcomb, expanding its footprint as safely and quickly as possible.
- Whistler Blackcomb will provide free and frequent shuttles to transport guests who choose to park and/or are staying at Creekside to and from Whistler Village, between 8am-5pm, until construction is completed. The Base II lots (6-8) on Blackcomb will be open and remain free; Whistler Village day lots (1-5) will also be open. There will additionally be electronic highway signage to inform those arriving by car from the lower mainland with the most up-to-date options for parking.
- We will provide expedited lift access for guests arriving from Creekside at both the Village and Blackcomb Gondolas, and we will open our lifts at both the Whistler and Blackcomb base areas 15 minutes early (at 8:15am, conditions permitting), until construction is completed.
We appreciate Doppelmayr’s commitment to this project and their partnership. We are disappointed that these projects are delayed and I want to reiterate my gratitude for the incredible Whistler Blackcomb team and all they have done – and continue to do – in service of these projects and the guest experience. We are focused on what we can control and remain resolute on finishing these projects as quickly as possible, while still providing a great start to the season for everyone who joins us.
COO, Whistler Blackcomb