The hunt is on for a 25-year-old Ontario man who allegedly pried open a gondola on the Peak 2 Peak line and BASE jumped out last week.
Whistler Blackcomb lift maintenance manager, Wayne Wiltse, said he remains hopeful police will catch the suspect. “I was upset,” he said. “I was upset they damaged the lift. We have done BASE jumping with Shane McConkey when we initially opened the lift (in 2008), but that was planned and there were safety crews in the cabin and on the ground.”
The man made the leap from the midway point of the line — which spans 4.4 km between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains — on Feb. 6 around 3:45 p.m. He landed on a road below and traveled towards the Whistler Sliding Centre before patrollers spotted him and contacted RCMP.
“We attended immediately to the area with four vehicles,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair. “One officer was able to get a snowmobile from a commercial operator, went up and met with ski patrol and found out where the patroller had last spotted the suspect. Then a police dog was taken in and a track commenced through the wooded area.”
The suspect disappeared into the trees. Police have not yet been able to locate him.
On Wednesday, police arrested a 23-year-old women who was allegedly an accomplice to the stunt, appearing on a YouTube video of the jump. She is facing charges of mischief over $5,000 and obstruction of justice.
The woman was released from custody with a promise to appear in North Vancouver court on April 2.
Meanwhile, Wiltse said Whistler Blackcomb is waiting to hear back from the gondola manufacturer to see how much repairs—initially estimated to be $10,000—will cost. “Certain guide rails are damaged, locking mechanisms are damaged and it looks like one of the doors has been bent out of shape as well,” he said. “It does reduce the capacity of the lifts which will mean longer lines for our guests.”