District Reviews Sea to Sky Gondola Design


By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 23, 2013

One of Squamish’s most awaited tourist destinations took another step forward as the Sea to Sky Gondola proponents showcased the base terminal design before the district.

At a recent Advisory Design Panel meeting, the Gondola proponents unveiled some of the key elements of their base terminal.  

The design show the Gondola terminal and the associated building to be located at the rear and southeast corner of the site.

The large parking lot is sized to accommodate 302 cars and 7 buses, a calculation based on peak visitor demand.

The gondola is positioned at the centre of the base camp.

The open air gondola sled is surrounded by three public buildings containing ticketing and sales, retail, food and beverage use.

The main floor would house the retail equipment space, restrooms, and administration.

The second floor will have a restaurant overlooking the plaza and providing views in all directions.

The rooftop outdoor seating will offer patrons ‘good solar exposure’ and south facing views towards Shannon Falls.

 The proponents told the district’s advisory design panel the building would suggest a clean west coast look.

“…a use of engineered heavy timber beams, deep overhangs, glazing and wood panel slidings…”

The district staff wants to ensure the coffee shop at the base camp would be within the ticketing area, to ensure it doesn’t take away car traffic that might be going to downtown.

The Gondola proponents say they have made an effort to address this concern.

The coffee house entry is oriented towards the internal terrace facing the gondola loading area.

The exterior seating is surrounded by a low gabion wall and ornamental planting, open only to the gondola terrace.

The gondola will leave the terminal, proceed through a portion of the Stawamus Chief Park, and finally reach the top terminal located on the ridge leading to Mount Habrich.

The base area plan also envisions a walking experience that would link the gondola with the Malamute, Stawamus trail, and Shannon Falls Park.

The proponents hope to provide employment to 20-30 full time staff.

A proposed shuttle will provide access to downtown Squamish and the adventure centre.

Gondola construction will start this March, with an opening planned in 2014.

The gondola will initially include 20 eight-passenger cabins, and is expected to be built by Swiss-Austrian consortium, Doppelmayr Garaventa.

The proponents will soon provide further updates on the progress of the highly anticipated tourism project.


  1. Wolfgang Wittenburg says:

    “The district staff wants to ensure the coffee shop at the base camp would be within the ticketing area, to ensure it doesn’t take away car traffic that might be going to downtown.” I beg your pardon? Isn’t the gondola base station part of Squamish too?
    How many of the tens of thousands of visitors visiting Shannon Falls on their way to Whistler are known to make a detour to downtown now, sans a coffee shop at the falls?
    I say make the coffee shop freely accessible even to casual drive-by visitors. Stuff it with posters and info on what you can do on top. Maybe next time patrons will take the gondola ride and then talk about it to their friends.

  2. Elliot says:

    Right Wolfgang. Sounds a lot like the District owned building on the highway, in which they put a public coffee shop and souvenir shop. Double-standard? No, not at all

  3. Donald Graham says:

    Once again , as with SODC , we have the District in a conflict of interest.
    It has no business owning the Adventure Centre with a coffee shop. The AC hence the District , has a vested interest in chanelling business into the AC.

    The District should get on with running the Municipality , not these side shows in which they have no competence , as reflected in the financials.

  4. Jackie says:

    Are they expecting the construction to create jobs in Squamish? That would be a real boost, even if it’s short term.

  5. Robyn says:

    Who’s going to clean up all the garbage (ie. coffee cups et al) at the top and on the trails……..who’s going to pay for rescue’s when people ill equipped go off trail and hurt themselves??? How many people who have gone up to the top and walked the trails…..but forgot to use the public facilities down below…relieve themselves in our thus far pristine natural setting???

  6. adam says:

    I can’t wait for this! It’s just what Squamish needs.The gondola will create employment and add more revenue into the area as most of those tourist would have sailed on through and onto Whistler. Garbage collection is an easy fix and the rescue services for ill equipped hikers has been tried and tested for years on other peaks. How is this a concern at all. Oh, and I pee in the forest as well! No number 2’s though!

    • Dave says:

      It takes all sorts :
      – Those who strive to be negative, whatever
      – Those who try to be positive, whatever.
      -Those who haven’t got the time to be on either side.
      Well said Adam….
      And Robyn, may I suggest a very good book which is very popular with Hikers of integrity….”How to shit in the woods” (Kathleen Meyer 1989). When you do venture into a true “pristine wilderness”, one wonders how many “Outhouses” you will find!