Calling all adventure seekers, skiers and eco-tourists! North America’s top ranked ski and snowboard resort, and home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, has opened the highest gondola in the world — faint of heart need not apply.
Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia officially launched the PEAK 2 PEAK on December 12. This feat of engineering connects the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb and does so with a minimum environmental footprint.
“The launch of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is a once in a lifetime event and the skiing, riding and sightseeing experience on the mountains is now forever changed,” says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Whistler Blackcomb.
Standing 1500 feet above the valley below, a world record, the lift also boasts the longest unsupported span, almost two miles, between the center towers and does so using less than half the energy of a traditional gondola.
Arthur DeJong, Whistler Blackcomb’s mountain planning and environmental resource manager says that there was no impact on local wildlife and that it offers exceptional views of the Green Acres Black Bear Conservancy.
Whistler Blackcomb not only offers death-defying heights, unbeatable terrain, white powder but also a little bit of green. They are home to the two greatest vertical-rise ski mountains on the continent. The resort is home to over 17 alpine bowls, four glaciers, and over 200 trails.
Last year they were awarded the Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award, one of 17 awards it has received for the programs since 1998. The award recognizes the resort’s commitment to developing high levels of environmental and social stewardship programs through its Environmental Management System.
“Whistler Blackcomb has a long history of protecting our land are and adhering to habitat management practices,” says DeJong. “A number of areas with high ecological values have been set aside for conservation within the ski area and include wetlands, black bear habitat zones noted for denning and food supply, and coastal mountain black-tailed deer ranges.”
The resort has also saved enough electricity to power 450 homes in the region through its Power Smart program and they claim to have saved more than 585,000 pounds of emissions annually with its vehicle fleet maintenance and employee carpooling program.
So go ahead and enjoy a ski vacation on these green slopes.