Sea to Sky Gondola Down

Published on: November 2019

The failure of the Sea To Sky Gondola haul rope in August 2019 was stunning news—but it also gave engineers a rare opportunity to thoroughly examine how the wire haul rope behaved while being cut under tension.

By Kylie Williams

In the early morning hours of August 10, 2019, the haul rope of a gondola at a popular tourist attraction failed. Security personnel working at the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish, halfway between Vancouver and Whistler in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, reported hearing loud noises. It was later confirmed that almost all 30 passenger cabins had crashed to the forest floor.

The event sent shock waves through the local community and the province. Early news reports suggested that it was a criminal act but, regardless of the cause, engineers took the chance to study the failure in detail and learn more about exactly what it takes to cause one of these thick steel cables to fail.

Read the full Sea to Sky Gondola Down story in Innovation Magazine.