New Lifts at Whistler Blackcomb: Changes to Spring & Summer Activities
By now you might have caught up with the exciting news that Whistler Blackcomb is making some changes to their ski lift lineup.
Changes include a new gondola from Blackcomb Base to the Rendezvous to replace the Wizard and Solar Chairlifts, a new high speed 6 pack chair replacing the current Emerald Express on Whistler and an upgrade to the Catskinner Chair (check out a picture here). All the lifts should be ready for the Winter 2018/19 ski season.
Needless to say, that’s a lot of building that needs to be done this summer!
As a result, we’re going to see a few changes to popular resort activities including spring skiing, sightseeing and other on-mountain activities. We’re collecting the information and frequently asked questions in this handy blog post which we’ll update through summer to assist with your vacation planning.
Quick Reference Guide and Links
When will the new lifts be built?
Crews will begin construction on the new lifts in spring, working all the way through summer with the lifts scheduled to open for skiing Winter 2018/19.
Works started right after Whistler Mountain closed for regular seasonal maintenance on April 22.
Will there still be spring skiing on Blackcomb Mountain?
Yes, from April 23 – May 22 spring skiing will be available, but visitors should be aware the lower half of Blackcomb will be closed so construction can begin. Upload will be via the Excalibur Gondola and lifts will be limited to Crystal Chair, 7th Heaven and Jersey Cream Express, with Glacier Express and the Showcase T-Bar operating on weekends only. There will be a mandatory download in effect, as the base of Blackcomb and the ski-out to the Village will be closed.
Will there still be sightseeing in spring?
Yes, spring sightseeing will still be available, however it will be limited to the Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola.
Whistler Village Gondola and the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola will be closed for regular season maintenance from April 23 – May 25.
Will the PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience be running in summer 2018?
Yes! Starting from May 26, 2018 the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola will be open for sightseeing. You will be able to access the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola via the Whistler Village Gondola in Whistler Village as normal.
From June 30 you will also be able to access the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola via the Creekside Gondola and Red Chair (an open air chairlift) from Creekside.
We recommend buying tickets in advance, so you can go straight to the lifts.
Can we upload from Blackcomb Base this summer for sightseeing?
No – the Wizard and Solar chairs are being replaced, which means you won’t be able to upload or download on Blackcomb Mountain as before. You have two options to access the mountain – via the Whistler Village Gondola and the Creekside Gondola and Red Chairs.
Is the Creekside Gondola open for sightseeing this year?
Yes! You will be able to upload to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain via the Creekside Gondola. This option was available previously – check out our post to see what the views are like as it’s a totally different experience from uploading in the Village.
You will be able to continue up to the Roundhouse and the PEAK 2 PEAK terminal via Red Chair. Please note, Red Chair is an open air chair, so may not be the best choice if weather conditions are unfavourable or if you have a member of your group who is wary of heights.
I want to do a sightseeing loop. Is it possible to return to the Village from Whistler Creekside Base?
In previous years visitors had the option to complete a sightseeing loop by downloading on Blackcomb. This year, you can upload in the Village and complete a loop with different views of the valley by downloading at Creekside (or vice versa if you are staying in Creekside).
Whistler Creekside is approximately 5 k from Whistler Village. Options for getting back are to walk along the Valley Trail (approximately 5 k) or take a bus or taxi. Whistler Transit buses run between Creekside and the Village regularly – look for the number 20X express, 20, 21 or 25. Buses are free on weekends from June 15 – September 15, 2018. If travelling midweek, you will need $2.50 in change for a one-way fare on the bus. You can also grab a sheet of 10 tickets from the Whistler Visitor Centre or the Whistler Grocery Store.
Where is the closest parking to the Whistler Village Gondola if I want to upload from the Village?
You can park in the Day Lots 1-5. Please note Day Lot 8 is closed for the summer for construction staging.
Where is the closest parking for the Creekside Gondola?
You can park in the Creekside Parkade (note this is an underground car park, and overnight parking is not permitted).
Will summer glacier skiing be available this year?
Yes – with access via the Whistler Village Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and a short bus ride. Summer skiing is usually offered mid June to mid July.
Summer Glacier Skiing
Is the Whistler Bike Park running in Summer 2018?
Yes, indeed. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park downhill trails are on Whistler Mountain, and are not affected by the lift construction. The Bike Park opens May 18 – be there or be square.
Is the Creekside Gondola open for Bike Park operations?
Yes! This will be the third year Creekside is open for bikes to access the bike park (and there are a few new trails in this zone opening in June – stay tuned!).
In 2018, bike park ticket holders will also be able to upload Red Chair to the Roundhouse and continue down to Garbanzo or up to the Peak Chair and Top of the World from there.
Is the Whistler Bike Park Air Dome open in summer 2018?
No. The Bike Park Air Dome will be closed to accommodate construction.
Are the Blackcomb Ascent trails open in 2018?
Unfortunately, no. Construction is happening in the zone that the Blackcomb Ascent trails pass through and for visitor safety these trails will be closed to the public.
Are the Blackcomb Mountain hiking trails open in 2018?
Yes, although you are no longer able to download on Blackcomb. You will need to ensure you plan enough time to take the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola back across to Whistler for download at the end of the day. It’s a loong walk down if you miss your ride!
We recommend buying advanced tickets and going to the Whistler Village Gondola or Creekside Gondola early to ensure you have plenty of time to hike.
How do I get down from Blackcomb Mountain at the end of the day?
There is no option to download from Blackcomb this year. You MUST take the PEAK 2 PEAK across to Whistler and download the Whistler Village Gondola. Please ensure you leave adequate time to complete your hike and make the journey back across to Whistler.
Are any other on mountain activities affected?
As well as hiking, there’s a ton of other neat activities that happen on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain from Via Ferrata to Glacier Walks and Mountain Top Summer Feasts.
In general, any activity that requires upload might need a bit more time as the Whistler Village Gondola will be the only place to upload from the Village and may be busier than usual.
We’ll add more information here as the summer progresses on any activities that might be affected – ask your travel consultant when you book for updates.
Are any on mountain events affected?
Throughout the summer there are plenty of events that happen on mountain, including the 5 Peaks Race, Crankworx, the Enduro World Series and Speaker Talks. We’ll add info on each of these events as the summer goes on and changes come to light.
In general, any activity that requires upload might need a bit more time as the Whistler Village Gondola will be the only upload point form the Village and may be busier than usual.
Are the Whistler Farmers’ Markets still in the Upper Village, at the base of Blackcomb?
Yes, the Farmers’ Markets will be held in the Upper Village as they have in previous years. The location may need to be moved slightly to accommodate construction work.
Will the Adventure Zone still be operating at the base of Blackcomb in the Upper Village?
The Adventure Zone is up and running in the same zone – pop on by and let the kids run free.
Are businesses in the Upper Village affected by the construction of the new lifts?
There may be some signs of construction in the area, but the Upper Village is open for business this summer! Stay in the hotels, have a drink on the patios and check out the shops and galleries.
Are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to find an answer. If you can’t find the answer to your question you can also get in contact with the Whistler.com crew and they’ll get the answer for you.