[Trail map of Blackcomb (left) and Whistler (right).]

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.

[Section through Peak 2 Peak gondola showing parabolic span.]
[Restraining the pull of 56mm diameter cables across the Valley.]

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).

[Wireframe of topography as it relates to all lifts. Peak 2 peak is in red.]
[The gears churning the 28 skycabs round and round in perpetual motion.]

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.

[The skycabs were developed in, you guessed it, Switzerland, where the Alps have been an ideal catalyst for developing advanced aerial pods like the P2P.]


[...] down one of the designers of the Peak 2 Peak gondola linkage for Whistler, we stumbled upon Ecosign. They have certainly carved a niche in ski [...]

InfraNet Lab » Blog Archive » Mountain Design added these pithy words on Dec 05 08 at 9:32 pm

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