SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – More than six months after cables were cut, operators say the Sea to Sky Gondola will reopen on Feb. 14.
Thirty new cabins that arrived from Switzerland at the end of October will be installed on the new main haul rope.
“We are opening earlier than anticipated and the task has been huge,” Sea to Sky Gondola General Manager Kirby Brown says. “We are so excited that on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2020, we get to carry our passholders and guests back up the mountain on a brand-new cable, in brand-new cabins. Our community stood by the gondola and showed us overwhelming support, confidence, and love through the last six months, and for that, we are so grateful.”
The gondola was expected to be brought back into service in the spring. Brown says the sooner-than-expected reopening is being made possible by “love.”
“Our industry and our community has just been incredibly kind with us,” he explains, adding manufacturers have also been a huge help. “They scrambled and put us in the front of the queues and got us what we needed far sooner than we could have hoped for.”
Brown notes an incident like this would normally shutter operations for a year.
“The fact that we’ll be opening after six months is nothing short of indicative of just what a wonderful industry and community we are a part of,” he tells NEWS 1130.
Vandals are said to have made it up a tower in the middle of the night last August and cut the main cable, sending 20 of the 30 cars crashing to the ground. A report confirmed it was done deliberately, but there have still been no arrests made in connection with what happened.
The damage was excessive, and forced the lift to close, putting summer staff out of work.
The popular tourist attraction ramped up its security as work was being done following the sabotage, including implementing both preventative and detection measures.
“If there’s a better secured lift system on earth, I haven’t heard of it, which is just part of what we’ve been through and part of our reality, but I’m completely confident in that,” Brown says. “And then our other protocols have always been robust and best in class, so not much changing there.”
The Sea to Sky Gondola has also taken this opportunity to spruce up its branding and experience for visitors.
“We’ve just taken this opportunity to really reboot and rethink of who we are and get closer to our purpose,” Brown says. “We want to make it easy for people to connect to the great outdoors, and that’s what we’re going to do starting Feb. 14, once again.”