Visitors and residents alike will have the opportunity to experience the view from the top of Whistlers Mountain when the Jasper Skytram opens on March 26.
General manager Todd Noble said this is the standard time to open in a normal year.
With new measures in place, Skytram staff are getting ready to get the adventures running in 2021.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening until June 1, with just one 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift running with half the amount of staff.
“(When) we went into last year, it was a total reaction - new protocol, having to make it work,” Noble said.
The Skytram team was ahead of the game with its mandatory mask requirement when they opened last year.
“Our precautionary measures had a lot of praise from our guests,” Noble said.
The team will go back to the two shifts running between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., depending on the time of year.
“With the experience from last year, there was more demand,” Noble said. “We’ll have a full complement of staff this year.”
Getting to the upper station in the tram has been fine-tuned to ensure physical distancing.
“Our maintenance team has come up with the most efficient and effective way to deal with that,” Noble said.
“You’ll find we’ve created five different (movable) cubicles that allow five different groups to ride together (wearing masks).”
A maximum of 12 people are allowed in the tram now, compared with 30 people pre-COVID.
At the upper station, staff are scaling back on the restaurant side of the operation and will instead have guests find a place to sit after purchasing their food.
“That was the only way we could address the distancing requirements,” Noble said, noting that such requirements will be easier to adhere to outside with all the wide-open space.
The Jasper Skytram, with the lower station seven kilometres south of Jasper off the Icefields Parkway on Whistlers Road, is the highest and longest guided aerial tramway in Canada.
In seven and a half minutes, folks are taken to a height of 2,263 metres above sea level. From the upper station, the hike to Whistlers summit is 1.4 kilometres and is a 200-metre elevation gain.
From there, folks have a 360-degree view of six mountain ranges, including Mount Robson, which has the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.
Noble encourages people to book online “to ensure availability, as well as keeping crowds from developing at the lower station,” although walk-in customers are served on a first come, first serve basis. On busy days, with reduced capacity, there may be an extended waiting time.
Book tickets and find more information at www.jasperskytram.com.
Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh