Peak to Peak, or Parabolic Trajectories

It is becoming commonplace to hear the superlatives coming out of the Middle East and China in terms of infrastructure, but not this time. In preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the two peaks at opposing ends to Fitzsimmions Valley, Whistler and Blackcomb will be linked. In the ultimate aerial shortcut, a sky cab gondola has linked these two tips using only four support structures, converting a minimum one hour down-the-hill-and-up-the-lifts commute into an 11 minute ride. it is called Peak 2 Peak and it opens on December 12.

At just over 3 kilometers, it is the longest unsupported span. When the sky cabin reaches the low-point of its trip it is 436 meters above the creek and actually at the highest occupiable point above ground (at least until the Burj Dubai finally tops out somewhere around 700m).

Now, if you are thinking what I am thinking: What if this thing snaps? Well the cable is pretty strong so it is less likely to happen out of the blue than if it is triggered by something, such as an airplane. No worries, that is covered via a state-of-the-art OCAS, or Obstacle Avoidance Collision System developed in Norway. A radar is used to constantly scan the area for potential collision intruders. If, for example, an aircraft is detected, the radar alerts the system and immediately tracks the aircraft, calculates its speed, heading and altitude. If a collision hazard exists, the pilot is warned by flashing high intensity strobe lights and an audible warning transmitted over all aircraft radio frequencies.

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