After shuttling Olympic and Paralympic spectators for the 2010 Games this February, the Timing Flats lift at Whistler Blackomb will be moved to Sunshine Village and remaned the Doppelmayr quad lift. The chairlift will replace the aging Strawberry chair as part of more $60 million in upgrades undertaken in recent years at the Alberta ski and snowboard resort.
“Sunshine Village is supporting the short-term needs of Olympic organizers while significantly improving the long-term visitor experience at Sunshine Village,” said Sunshine Village president and CEO Ralph Scurfield. “We have decreased organizing committee capital costs and have built an Olympic legacy that will be truly enjoyed for years and years to come. Instead of building a new lift from scratch, we will greatly reduce the environmental footprint by moving the lift and reinstalling it.”
The new lift has a rated capacity of 1,800 guests per hour, using a total of 45 chairs. The 35-year-old, three-passenger Strawberry lift has a design capacity of 2,100 riders per hour, but has been running at a rate of 1,520 as it reaches the end of its service life.
“It is important to note that the people of the Bow Valley will have a lasting memory of the 2010 Games right here in their own community,” said Scurfield. “This lift uses the latest technology to achieve the greatest possible efficiency and we are committed to using environmental best practices during installation.”
Federal Ski Area Guidelines allow “like-for-like” replacements in snow resorts, subject to development review and approval processes. The new lift follows the path of the Strawberry lift, but is slightly longer. This allows for construction of the upper station, starting in April, before the end of the ski season. This will allow construction over snow pack, minimizing impact on vegetation.
The 81-year-old Sunshine Village snow resort is situated in the heart of Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park. With more than nine meters of natural snow and 12 lifts, including the most quads in the Canadian Rockies, Sunshine has Canada’s longest season, stretching from November to the end of May.