By George Schissler
(January 2013) The latest announcement from our friends at Ski Area Management (SAM) informs us that the British Columbia giant has unveiled capital plans for an expenditure of $18 million in lift expansion. The plan calls for construction to begin this Spring with expected openings at the beginning of the 2013-2014 winter season.

Whistler Mountain’s Harmony detachable quad will be replaced with a new Doppelmayer detachable six-pack and Blackcomb will replace a fixed-grip triple in the Crystal Zone with a high-speed quad. “This lift expansion clearly demonstrates our commitment to continuously enhance the skiing and riding experience on both mountains,” said Dave Brownlie, president and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb.

The new high-speed quad in the Crystal Zone will be 5,604 feet long with a vertical rise of 1,755 feet. This lift will increase skier capacity by 65 percent to 2,400 skiers per hour. It will deliver skiers and riders to the same location next to the Crystal Hut but will originate 500 feet lower than the old lift providing easier access to many Crystal Zone trails.

The Harmony Six will improve uphill capacity by 50 percent to 3,600 per hour. It will use the same alignment as the current Harmony quad and span 5,672 feet with a vertical rise of 1,722 feet.

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