Arizona Snowbowl will be replacing its Agassiz chairlift for the 2020-21 winter season, Snowbowl announced in a press release on Thursday.
The new lift will be located at the base of Agassiz Peak and will be one of the largest construction projects in North America ahead of the 2020-21 winter season, according to resort officials.
“We appreciate the diligence of the Forest Service — our partners in recreation — for their efforts in conducting public outreach and environmental analysis leading up to the approval,” chief planning officer of Snowbowl’s management company Mountain Capital Partners said in the release.
Agassiz will be Snowbowl’s second new high-speed lift after the Grand Canyon Express lift opened in 2017.
Features of the new Agassiz lift include a detachable high-speed chairlift and gondola with six-person chairs interspersed with eight-person gondola cabins.
In just seven minutes, the new lift will transport guests 2,000 feet up the western side of the San Francisco Peaks to 11,500 feet and will have the same capacity of the current chairlift at 1,200 people per hour.
“Agassiz put Arizona Snowbowl on the map in the early 1960’s and has a long history as one of the most iconic lifts in the country,” Murray said. “By far our most popular lift in the winter, Agassiz shuttles an average of 40,000 summertime passengers to the top of the mountain. The new lift will transport skiers and riders quickly and directly to the best lines and longest runs on the mountain in less than half the time. We’re also better able to accommodate summertime visitors to experience the area’s high elevation topography and incredible views.”
Being Snowbowl’s lone year-round lift, Agassiz offers scenic views of the Grand Canyon, red rocks in Sedona and the cinder cone volcanic field.
In the summer and fall seasons, chairlift riders can access passenger cabins in cold or inclement weather.
The new Agassiz lift is expected to be completed later this fall ahead of the 2020-21 winter season.
But while planning for the new lift, the current Agassiz chairlift had a mechanical malfunction that has shut it down since Jan. 18.
Murray said that he expects the lift to re-open as early as March 8 pending part manufacturing, installation and inspections.
An Agassiz “farewell tour” that includes a send-off party on its final day is scheduled for April 26, according to Snowbowl officials.
Murray also said that once the new Agassiz lift is installed, the original will be deployed in another location, but when or where has yet to be determined.
A chairlift has been at the base of Arizona Snowbowl’s Agassiz Peak since 1961, with the current lift dating back to 1986.
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