Roughly two-thirds of Sea to Sky Gondola cabins need to be replaced: company
The impact from the collapse of the popular Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C., is being felt by more than 200 employees, local residents, restaurants, businesses, and beyond, as officials investigate how the tourist attraction was sabotaged and workers scramble to assess and repair the damage.
Roughly two-thirds of the Sea to Sky Gondola cabins -- an estimated 18 to 20 out of 30 cars -- along with the main cable are damaged beyond repair and will need to be replaced, the company said in a statement on Monday.
The company said it was working with lift manufacturer Doppelmayr to replace the damaged equipment. But with no indication yet on a timeline, the attraction and some of the trails that run in and around the gondola’s path remain closed for the foreseeable future.
The gondola ride collapsed in the early hours of Saturday morning, around 4:30 a.m. local time, when the lift’s haul ropes fell, sending many of its cars crashing into trees and rocks along the gondola’s path. There were no injuries at that hour, but investigators said early signs indicated that the thick cable carrying the cars had been tampered with.
“There’s a tremendous amount of shock and sadness. Our hearts really go out to the gondola team,” Squamish mayor, Karen Elliot told CTV News Channel. “This is a really well-loved asset in our community and it attracts people from far and wide. And locals use it as well.”
In addition to the hiking trails along the top of the summit, the area is also popular for private weddings and other events due to its majestic views of mountains, coastal forests, and Howe Sound.
The gondola company and some event planners are trying to relocate as many of the weddings and events as possible to other scenic venues around the Squamish area.
In the short term, some hotels and restaurants like the one at the summit may feel squeezed by the temporary loss of business, said Elliot, but added that it was too early to say what the overall impact will be. In the meantime, there were many other things to do in Squamish, she said.
The company was working hard to resume operations as quickly as possible and may have a clearer idea of how long the closure will last later this week, she said.
“It’s astounding that someone would actually take the risk to do this. There was a lot of danger just involved in this act of vandalism to the person who did it, because of the all the force and tension on the cable,” said Elliot. “It’s a targeted incident and clearly meant to cause disruption to the gondola.”