New chairlift plans stumble

Whistler’s new Creekside lifts and Cypress Mountain’s new chairlift have both announced stumbles this past week and won’t be ready for opening day.

Whistler’s Creekside Gondola and Big Red Express chairlift replacements will not be ready by opening day due to unforeseen shipping delays, COO Geoff Buchheister confirmed this week.

Though Red Chair is a little further along and expected to start spinning in early December, the timeline for the gondola’s opening has been pushed back thanks to a crucial haul rope that’s reportedly been stuck on a ship in the Pacific for weeks on end.

At Cypress Mountain a helicopter lifting components of their new chairlift into place was forced to make an emergency drop of its load over the weekend, causing a large tower head to unexpectedly plunge to the ground below.

Cypress Mountain said the emergency release occurred when a fog bank moved “quickly and unexpectedly” into the work zone, causing a helicopter pilot to exit the fog and jettison the load so it was able to safely reposition to an area with greater visibility.

“Due to the pilot’s quick actions and experienced response during the emergency situation, no injuries were experienced,” the statement read. “Work on the site was temporarily suspended and due to the nature of the incident, WorkSafeBC and aviation authorities are performing follow-up investigations.”

Cypress Mountain said Doppelmayr has hurried the delivery of a new tower head assembly and they are “confident that they will have the chairlift on the upper slopes of Mt. Strachan fully operational and ready to welcome skiers and riders by mid-December.”

These issue will affect the seasonal start and perhaps into the new year however they pale in comparison to issues in the US where new lift installs have been condemned or cancelled. Whistler is set for another pair of lifts to be installed next summer that were purchased for Park City however denied permission to install and redirected to BC.

Ski the World wishes the best to Whistler and Cypress Mountains in getting their lifts operating soon!

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