Ten injured at Whistler in Excalibur Gondola Tower Collapse.

Ten injured at Whistler in Excalibur Gondola Tower Collapse.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Excalibur Gondola at Whistler-Blackcomb servicing skier/rider traffic to Blackcomb mountain from the base village suffered a catastrophic collapse on the fourth tower leading out of the village. Whistler Blackcomb is reporting that several cabins fell approximately 30 feet with the sagging span, and two cabins hit the ground.

According to a Whistler Blackcomb press release, 12 people were injured and 53 evacuated from gondola cars. None of the injuries were serious, and all 12 people were released from the local hospitals later Tuesday.

In a press release distributed this morning, Whistler attributes the tower failure to ice build-up caused by cold weather:

Several factors converged to cause the tower failure. The structure of the tower is such that two parts are spliced together. Water had seeped into the tower which had turned to ice with the recent extreme cold temperatures. The ice build-up caused the tower splice to rupture, an extremely unusual situation referred to as “ice-jacking”.

“As always, our top priority is for the safety and well-being of our resort guests and employees,” says Doug Forseth, senior vice president of operations. “Whistler Blackcomb will delay opening some of our lifts this morning until the BCSA can confirm our findings and provide a secondary inspection. After the work conducted throughout last night by our own lift maintenance team, and a secondary inspection that will be completed this morning by the BCSA, access to all our operational lifts, with the exception of the Excalibur Gondola, is expected to be available by midday.”

All other lifts on both mountains are operating normally today, as none had similar tower construction.

The Excalibur gondola was installed in 1994 by Doppelmayr, the world’s leading manufacturer of aerial ropeways.

The arrow designates where the incident occurred.

Name Horsepower Length Vertical Line Speed
Excalibur (Stage 2) 800 2375 289 1000 fps
Excalibur (Stage 1) 637 4856 1202 1000 fps

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