Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort - 1-1/2 hours north of Vancouver BC -- has always had big numbers: over 8000 acres of skiable terrain, over 200 runs, a mile of vertical drop on each mountain, and a 7-month ski season, extending into June.
Now add to all this a showpiece gondola stretching 2.73 miles between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola isn't the longest gondola in North America; Silver Mountain in Idaho, for instance, has a 3.1 mile gondola ride. What's biggest about the P2P is the "unsupported span": the whole system has only two towers on each mountain, so the cables stretch -- unsupported -- for 1.88 miles, suspended 1427 feet above the ground... Quite a ride.
Location at both ends is at the main meeting point and day lodge on each mountain: the Peak 2 Peak connects the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler and the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain. The Peak 2 Peak launched in December 2008 as part of Whistler-Blackcomb's preparations to host the world during the Winter Olympics of 2010. The P2P will not only serve skiers and boarders: visitors can also buy sightseeing passes year-round specifically to ride the gondola.
A Few Peak 2 Peak Numbers
- a cabin departs every 49 seconds, and holds 28 people
- total distance is 2.73 miles or 4.4 kilometers
- length of unsupported span is 1.88 miles or 3.024 km
- maximum distance from the ground is 1427 feet or 436 meters above Fitzsimmons Creek
- Whistler-Blackcomb now has the world's longest (7 kilometer) continuous lift system
Peak 2 Peak Experience
For Skiers/ Boarders: To this skier, familiar with Whistler-Blackcomb, it was a bit unreal to cross from one mountain to another in a mere eleven minutes: formerly, "changing mountains" meant skiing all the way down to the village, and then a long ascent on the other side. Time-consuming; so most visitors skied only one mountain per day. In an odd way, the cross-mountain gondola shrunk the mountains, or at least pulled them much closer together.
In one day, a skier or boarder can now sample runs on both mountains, or try different terrain parks, or follow the sun from one mountain face to another. But there are still 8000 acres to explore (and no night skiing); so don't think you can experience Whistler-Blackcomb in one go!
For Winter Sightseers: The Peak 2 Peak Gondola offers a whole new scenic mountain experience for non-skiers/boarders. Sightseers can take a gondola or chair lift up Whistler or Blackcomb Mountain; ride the Peak 2 Peak gondola; and relax at a restaurant before heading down. On the Whistler side, ascent/descent is totally inside a sheltered gondola.
Summertime: Visitors can ride the scenic Pear 2 Peak year-round, and in summer they can add hiking to the outing. Whistler mountain has 40 km of trails, and Blackcomb has 20 more. Several restaurants stay open in summer; one has a weekend BBQ.