Whistler Blackcomb is set to make the journey to the alpine a lot more enjoyable with the announcement of new eight passenger gondola cabins for their workhorse of a lift, the Whistler Village Gondola.
“The original cabins have been loading our guests onto Whistler Mountain since 1988,” says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “These sleek new cabins are set to dramatically improve the experience for skiers, snowboarders and sightseers. Eight passengers will be able to sit comfortably with their gear in outside racks, and the new configuration is set to improve capacity for the Whistler Village Gondola by 12 per cent through four additional cabins and greater loading efficiency.”
It will cost around $6 million to replace the Whistler Village Gondola cabins. The new “Diamond” level walk-in cabins are currently being fabricated in France by Sigma, a subsidiary of Leitner-POMA, the original manufacturer of the Whistler Village Gondola. It will be a much better ride with comfortable seating, and reduced vibration and noise over lift towers.
The gondola will operate all summer with the original cabins before closing this fall for a four-week period during September and October 2014 to install the new cabins for the winter 2014.2015 season. The lift terminals for the Whistler Village Gondola at the base, at the “mid” Olympic Station and at the top Roundhouse Lodge will also see improvements to enhance the functionality of the interior space as well as the terminal appearance.
An additional $5.9 million will also be allocated to information technology initiatives, including a new enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) system and radio-frequency identification (“RFID”) system with lift access control gates on most mountain lifts.
“The RFID gates should reduce wait times at our main access points and provide us with the necessary infrastructure to enhance guest engagement in the future,” says Brownlie. “Minimizing lost revenue from lift ticket fraud is also another key benefit of the RFID system.”