Fresh on the heels of adding three lifts at his collective of Southwestern resorts last summer, James Coleman revealed today he will invest another $10 million to build new lifts and more at Arizona Snowbowl and Purgatory in 2016.
The Leitner-Poma-built Grand Canyon Express will serve 85 percent of Arizona Snowbowl’s terrain with a 5.8 minute lift ride. It will run approximately 5,500′ (1,530 vertical feet) in a new alignment starting near the Hart Prarie Lodge and topping out at 10,900′ in elevation near the Agassiz mid-station. This is the second new chairlift at Arizona Snowbowl following last summer’s Humphreys Peak addition that expanded the mountain’s intermediate terrain with a SkyTrac quad. The Sunset triple (a 1983 CTEC) will likely be removed and may be used to replace the Aspen double in the future. Arizona Snowbowl’s master plan also calls for a second detachable lift to replace the Hart Prarie double. Exciting times at a mountain whose very survival was questionable a few years ago!
In Colorado, Purgatory Resort will get a new two-way surface lift called T-3 to link the bottom terminals of backside lifts 5 and 8. The latter is a 1980 Riblet double, the former a 2015 Leitner-Poma high speed quad. Purgatory plans to add a similar connection between lifts 3 and 5 and replace more of the resort’s aging fixed-grip chairlifts (namely #2, 4 and 5) in upcoming years.
Mr. Coleman is the Durango-based businessman who’s owned Sipapu since 2000 and took over operations at Pajarito, Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl in 2014. When the Durango Herald asked last year whether he was done buying ski areas, Coleman replied “no.” That’s great news considering his willingness to invest in capital improvements to the tune of $20 million thus far.