Construction of Australia’s only alpine Gondola is well underway and on target for completion ahead of the upcoming 2020 winter snow season at Thredbo Resort. This exciting development will see the Merritts double chairlift replaced with a high speed, eight-person Gondola that will quadruple the capacity of the previous lift and further enhance the award-winning Thredbo experience.
In addition to the Gondola, a fully automated snowmaking system on the popular ‘Dream Run’ is being installed as well as other slope works ahead of the upcoming winter. This development will allow more reliable access to Friday Flat and the mid-station of the new Merritts Gondola as well as better access to a wide variety of intermediate and advanced tree runs.
Stage One of Thredbo’s carparking expansion plan is also on schedule for completion prior to winter 2020. This addition will see an additional carparking lot at Friday Flat, providing enhanced access for Thredbo’s day trip market.
“After years of planning, it is so great to see these developments finally come to life. We are hugely excited to be the first Australian alpine resort to offer a new level of transportation with the Merritts Gondola, and we look forward to opening it ahead of the 2020 winter,” explained Stuart Diver, General Manager Thredbo Resort.
“Thredbo prides itself on providing our guests with the best experience possible. The new Gondola, snowmaking on Dream Run and the additional carparking facility will allow us to do that better than ever.”
Construction on the immense Merritts Gondola project is being carried out by the company Doppelmayr and will run until May 2020. The 41 Gondola cabins, which were made by CWA in Olten, Switzerland have arrived in the resort, and other specialised equipment has been in production since March 2019 in Wolfurt, Austria.
The scale of the project will see over 45 containers of equipment, 20 truckloads of reinforcing and steel, and 150 truckloads of concrete delivered to Thredbo. Over 170 people will be directly and indirectly involved in the construction process with approximately 25-30 people working on-site on the project.
“This is the first project of its kind to be completed in Australia and we’re very excited to be involved. An immense effort is required, however with the best in European equipment and a great team we are confident of delivering this project on time and budget. We know that the end result will be a massive asset to Australia’s snow resorts and will be operational for the 2020 winter season,” said Shaun Turner, General Manager of Doppelmayr Australia.
Construction that has been completed to date includes the demolition of the existing Merritts Chairlift towers and stations, excavation and foundation work at the bottom, mid and top station locations before installation of everything from the carrier parking sheds to the towers and stations themselves.
Once completed the new Gondola will span over 1.3 kilometres, rise 298 vertical metres, and be able to lift 2,000 people per hour. Travel time on the Gondola from Thredbo Village to the Cruiser area will be approximately six minutes, saving 15 minutes on current times and carrying up to eight people per cabin in comfort and full protection from the weather.
Guests visiting Thredbo from winter 2020 will experience the following benefits of the Merritts Gondola development:
* Easier access for Village Guests of all abilities to the Friday Flat area. Guests travelling from the Village to the popular Friday Flat beginners and Thredbo Snow Sports School base can travel from the Village and alight at the mid-station of the Gondola just above Friday Flat.
* Easier access for Village Guests of all abilities to the Cruiser area. Beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers and snowboarders can continue to the Cruiser area for a variety of wide-open terrain
* Fast turnaround access from the Gondola mid-station to the top station for intermediates and advanced wanting to ski or snowboard the popular Dream Run and its surrounding tree runs.
* Foot/scenic passenger access to the scenic location of Merritts Mountain House.
To celebrate these exciting developments including the Merritts Gondola, Thredbo is running a #MyGondola Snap & Win promotion until March 31, 2020. Guests simply snap a photo of their favourite Thredbo moment and post it on Instagram with #MyGondola and tag @thredboresort for their chance for their photo to feature inside a Gondola cabin.
The grand prize winner will receive a trip to Thredbo including three nights’ accommodation, a three-day lift pass and rental during winter 2020.