Arizona Snowbowl Unveils New Master Plan

As if a new Telemix, six pack and two quads weren’t enough, Arizona Snowbowl plans to keep improving. The Forest Service recently accepted the resort’s new Master Development Plan, which outlines projects envisioned to be completed over the next 15 years. It includes not only more chairlifts but also new snowmaking, parking, lodges and summer activities. The upgrade plan would modestly raise the lift/trail network’s comfortable carrying capacity from 3,870 to 4,500 skiers per day. 252 acres of new terrain would be cleared, all located within the existing permit area.

Aspen, the oldest lift on the mountain dating back to the 1960s, would be removed and replaced by a fixed grip quad servicing a few acres of new terrain. This project was previously approved but not yet implemented as other replacements took priority. Aspen 2.0 would more than double uphill capacity of the previous lift and improve the beginner experience. Two conveyor additions have also been approved but not yet implemented.

A second new fixed grip quad chair called Fort Valley Glades would service low intermediate and novice terrain out of a new base area. This would help alleviate congestion surrounding the existing Agassiz and Hart Prairie lodges. This lift would span approximately 2,550 feet with a capacity of 1,500 skiers per hour, unloading near the top of the current Sunset triple.

A fixed grip quad with the working name Hart Prairie II would add even more beginner and intermediate terrain at Snowbowl. This lift would serve 665 vertical feet along the northern edge of the current Special Use Permit boundary.

Other lift-related projects include the replacement of Sunset with updated equipment and final capacity upgrades of both the Arizona Gondola and Grand Canyon Express to 2,400 guests per hour. The Humphreys Peak quad may also be upgraded from 1,000 to 1,500 skiers per hour through the addition of chairs.

There’s good reason to continue investing. Arizona Snowbowl’s attendance has increased an average of 12 percent annually since 2012, in large part thanks to the addition of snowmaking. Snowbowl now sees more guests on peak days than it previously welcomed some seasons reliant on natural snow.

It’s important to remember acceptance of a master plan by the Forest Service does not constitute approval of individual projects. However, the document gives us a good idea of where Mountain Capital Partners would like to take Arizona Snowbowl in the years to come.


10 thoughts on “Arizona Snowbowl Unveils New Master Plan

  1. skitheeast April 3, 2021 / 9:41 am

    Arizona Snowbowl is really firmly establishing itself as the premier ski resort for Phoenix and the larger Arizona community. I remember back when Sunrise Park had this status, and it has been interesting to watch the plethora of investment here and lack of investment there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wiggles April 4, 2021 / 11:37 am

      Maybe the tribe should of spent more money on Sunrise and less money trying to stop Snowbowl… Phoenix has the population to support both resorts

      Liked by 1 person

        • Wiggles April 4, 2021 / 6:11 pm

          The White Mountain Apache Tribe owners of Sunrise where a big part the Snowbowl protest, lawsuits and the funding of them…

          Click to access 0615371.pdf

          I found their participation a little dubious since there culture considers all peaks sacred and their main peak Apache has other cultural significance. In addition the SF peaks are outside of there historic geographic range. Sunrise decline has mirrored the rise of Snowbowl as well.


  2. awconrad April 3, 2021 / 3:22 pm

    Man that is a dense looking SUP.


    • Wiggles April 4, 2021 / 11:40 am

      Look at all that free space at the top


      • N April 4, 2021 / 11:54 am

        I’m pretty sure they can’t put lifts up there because either it’s not worth the money or I think the peak is sacred to native Americans and they would face opposition for expanding up there.


      • awconrad April 4, 2021 / 4:47 pm

        Based on the trail map, that’s a hike-to bowl that’s all expert runs. I’m guessing they aren’t building a lift to get up there.


        • Wiggles April 4, 2021 / 6:16 pm

          It was a joke guys. It’s literally the only free space on the SUP. The top of Snowbowl is Billy goat steep and a lift up there would have crazy exposure. The top of the chondola is as high as a lift can go in that mountain. In addition that area has a lot of use restrictions due to enhanced flora and fauna. The ski resort boundary up top does appear slightly bigger than the SUP which I found interesting.


    • Ray April 7, 2021 / 6:53 pm

      The permit area is only 777 acres and will never get any larger. I guess MCP feels that they need to pack in as much as they can.

      Liked by 1 person

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