Arizona Gondola – Arizona Snowbowl, AZ

This Leitner-Poma Telemix replaced a CTEC triple in 2020.
The bottom terminal features a carrier maintenance and storage building.
Chair loading area with gates.
Rail into the barn.
Cabin loading area.
Leaving the bottom station.
Lower part of the lift line.
The top part of the line is quite steep.
This lift has relatively low capacity for a lift of its size.
Four section splice tower.
View back at tower 13.
The top has a monster breakover.
Towers 14-17 share two tubes.
Cabins passing at the summit.
Sigma 8 passenger cabin.
Turnaround up top.
Gondola side of the top terminal.
Upper station overview.
64 sheaves in this picture.
View down the line.
Tower 5 looking up.
The base area. The barn has a public deck on top.
Gondola cabin.
Chair passing the gondola zone.
Riding up the line.
Gondolas alternate between each two chairs.
Tower side of a cabin with guide wheels.
Tower 10.
This lift operates year round with amazing views of the valley below.
Arriving up top.
These towers are approximately 85 feet tall.
Outside control pedestal.
Auxiliary drive system.
Leitner DirectDrive.
This motor spins at only 23 RPM and there is no gearbox.
Another view from the top.
Combo assemblies.
View down at tower 12.
Middle part of the lift line.
The bottom terminal seen from Grand Canyon Express.
Cabin 14.
Towers 1 and 2 are right next to the return terminal.
Side view of the large return station.
The lift line.

29 thoughts on “Arizona Gondola – Arizona Snowbowl, AZ

  1. Donald Reif December 17, 2020 / 4:25 pm

    I’m used to seeing those sort of breakovers with just three towers instead of four.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif December 17, 2020 / 6:24 pm

      The monster breakover reminds me a lot of the breakovers on the River Run Gondola, particularly the midstation breakover.


  2. Calvin December 17, 2020 / 5:52 pm

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous lift over-builds ever: a 6/8 chondola with a 2:1 chair-to-cabin ratio … all to serve 2 blacks and a double black and hike-to bowl terrain.

    It’s capacity isn’t even 1200pph!Just build a HSQ!


    • Utah Powder Skier December 17, 2020 / 6:29 pm

      I think the main purpose of this lift is for marketing. This lift surprisingly has a slightly smaller capacity than the old triple.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Andy December 17, 2020 / 6:35 pm

      Summer Sightseeing and Fall Leaf Viewing. Probably way more profitable in Arizona than having snow on a hill and letting people slide down. Certainly MCP knows something about this hill that we don’t. Kind of like that bike park (Spider Mountain) in Texas that MCP also owns. Most be profits in there somewhere.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cameron Halmrast December 20, 2020 / 10:12 am

        It seems it would have made more sense ‘from the beginning’ to have had The Canyon Express feature an angle station at its current unload and terminate at the top of Agassiz while leaving the triple as a backup.


    • Rusty June 26, 2021 / 1:03 pm

      There are actually 5 blacks and the whole upper tree sling glades. I do admit it is overkill. It was closed many times this past season due to wind. Maybe a bubble chair would of served the purpose better.


  3. BarkeeStone December 18, 2020 / 8:58 am

    I’m kind of impressed by how the chondola looked. But too bad I can’t ride it…


  4. Thomas Jett December 18, 2020 / 11:56 am

    I feel like that breakover would freak out a good number of people riding the chairs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trail Master April 3, 2021 / 7:25 pm

      Yeah, imagine the lift mechanics being up there too (Pic 36 from Top, 9 from bottom, mechanic climbing tower)


      • pbropetech June 26, 2021 / 6:25 pm

        Well, TrailMaster, it’s kinda what we do.


        • Ben Eminger June 26, 2021 / 7:25 pm

          And climbing the towers is definitely the most thrilling part of the job, though it becomes second nature after awhile


  5. Tyler December 18, 2020 / 2:01 pm

    What’s the reason to build 85-foot-tall towers for the breakover when it could be a little closer to the top terminal and closer to the ground? Same question about the Keystone River Run gondola, it looks like there was plenty of room for a much less intense breakover


    • Michael December 18, 2020 / 3:05 pm

      Tyler- The ANSI Standard that relates to Ropeways requires that the haul rope leaving the terminal be level or inclined for a distance of X relative to the loading speed of the carriers.If an incorrectly attached grip trips the last checking switch as it leaves the terminal the haul rope needs to stop before leaving the end of the level rope. This would be less than the stopping distance of the braking system that is activated by the switch.
      Hope this helps.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Tyler December 20, 2020 / 4:34 pm

        Interesting, didn’t know that. Is it a different standard when there is regular downloading? Plenty of lifts have big breakovers right outside the top terminal, but I can’t think of any used for downloading that do

        Here’s an example – Sultan at Deer Valley has a big breakover right outside the top terminal but doesn’t have downhill loading. Built 2005.

        Another that ends in almost the same windy and exposed spot (Sterling, built 2006) which is used for summer downloading at 50% capacity has maybe 50 yards between the top and the breakover


        • Donald Reif December 20, 2020 / 4:41 pm

          Resorts dictate this based on which lifts get used for foot traffic.


    • Peter Landsman December 18, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      The initial plan was to excavate more of the hillside and have the terminal further back and lower. But the Forest Service wanted to lessen the environmental impact of the project. Specifically there is a threatened plant species called San Francisco Peaks Ragwort which needed to be avoided.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rusty June 26, 2021 / 1:10 pm

        I’m glad they didn’t make the terminal lower. There’s some awesome tree skiing up there!


  6. Chris December 19, 2020 / 2:25 am

    Interesting, here in Europe chair lifts must not exceed 15 meters (approximately 50) over the ground, or have a net not more than 15 meters under the chairs.
    And here we all close our bars all the time :)


    • Phoenix December 20, 2020 / 12:46 am

      I wonder if that’s why gondolas are more common in Europe


      • Chris December 20, 2020 / 4:43 am

        I know that for a few modern Gondolas being able to have a more direct line was a factor in the decision. Back when I was a kid Gondolas were mostly just used for out of town lifts that connect the two with the actual ski area up the mountain, but that has changed a lot in the last 15 years. Many of the modern gondolas are not that high up in the air anywhere, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Phoenix December 20, 2020 / 12:56 am

    Were they not loading the cabins when you visited? I don’t see any cabins with people in them.


    • Peter Landsman December 20, 2020 / 6:23 am

      They were not. Construction still ongoing on the cabin storage building and loading platforms.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ski man February 13, 2022 / 2:49 pm

    Went on this lift today the break over is really high though and the views here are awesome!


  9. Nick July 28, 2022 / 6:49 pm

    About half way through this winter tower 6 developed a rattle on the uphill side when a chair makes contact with each sheeve.

    Weird for a lift only two years old


  10. sorenjoneswa August 25, 2022 / 6:17 pm


  11. Anonymous March 2, 2023 / 12:50 pm

    Still haven’t ridden it cause loading is as slow as the old fixed grip (aka 10 minutes minimum even with a mild line). Just a terrible decision to mix chairs and gondolas. It’s not even worth the skiing at the top vs. where GCE lets off.


  12. Allison P. March 21, 2023 / 11:17 pm

    This lift is ruining the 22/23 season which has seen record snowfall for AZ Snowbowl. The lift is frequently on a wind hold, being deiced (apparently an all-day process, to which the work is undone at night when wind blows up the canyon and rimes everything up again), or is down for another ambiguous electrical or mechanical issue. On top of that, the lift operators frequently fail to load the lift to capacity even when there are long lift lines. You could be standing in a 15 minute line watching chairs with 4 people go up. I’ll end my rant here since this is LiftBlog and not “Why Snowbowl Sucks Blog”…but the AZ Gondola is just the first in a long list of issues this resort has.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s