Reaching New Heights in the Rockies
When it opened in 1959, it was Canada’s first gondola of any kind. It was also the first bi-cable gondola in North America.
Banff Gondola features a stationary cable and main haul rope supporting 40 four-passenger cabins, carrying tourists and locals 2,281 metres to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.
Jasper’s SkyTram opened five years later, breaking a few records of its own. It is Canada’s highest and longest aerial tramway.
This tourist attraction has two cabins, which can each carry up to 27 people. A track rope and a hauling rope whisk guests 2,263 metres up the Whistlers, a peak in the Trident Range of the Rocky Mountains.
John Ogilvy, the Vancouver engineer in charge of Jasper SkyTram construction, made his calculations for the project on a slide rule—an analogue calculator used before computers. He enjoyed Jasper so much he moved there after the tram was built and started a consulting company.
An engineering feat of its own, the renovated Banff Gondola upper terminal building opened in 2016. The facility provides guests with an interactive interpretive experience and rooftop viewing deck. Sustainable building features include stormwater retention, low-flow fixtures, and solar panels on the roof.