3rd New Lift in Three Years!

by J.R. Murray, the General Manager

Hart Prairie chairlift is the primary and longest beginner lift at Snowbowl. The existing lift, built in 1981, was a two passenger seat lift made by Riblet Tramway Company. The new replacement chairlift is made by Doppelmayr, an Austrian-based company with a North American factory in Salt Lake City, UT. Doppelmayr is a worldwide leader of aerial transportation systems.

The new Hart Prairie lift is a four-seater with restraining bars, foot rests, and thick padded seats. The four-passenger lift allows families to ride together and enables ski instructors to ride with more guests, especially children.  The length of the lift is 2,533 feet with a vertical of 518 feet.

Arizona Snowbowl’s trail map with the new Hart Prairie Chairlift

The new Hart Prairie lift will be located in the same area of the ski area, however, the top terminal will be lowered slightly to eliminate the steeper section of the upper reaches of the large open meadow known as Hart Prairie.  This provides an improved progression for beginners in this area, starting with the Little Spruce and Big Spruce surface conveyors and the corresponding trails, to the Aspen lift, to the new Hart Prairie lift, and then on to the Humphreys quad chairlift and the intermediate terrain.  The beginner trails, Bambi and Tinhorn, will still be accessible from the Humphreys lift.  The bottom terminal is approximately 60 feet uphill of the existing lift, which will provide more room around the base of the ski area for ski & ride school lessons, and beginner skiers and riders.

A sketch of the new lift’s top terminal

The new Hart Prairie lift has an uphill capacity of 1800 pph (people per hour), which is double the capacity of the older double chairlift it is replacing.  This will result in greatly reduced wait times. Snowbowl is historically known for excellent ski terrain, but guests, unfortunately, waited in longer than normal lift lines to go uphill. With the addition of the four-person Humphreys lift in 2015, followed by the Grand Canyon Express six-passenger lift in 2016, and now the Hart Prairie lift in 2017, the overall uphill capacity of Snowbowl’s six chairlifts has increased by 85%.

The Hart Prairie chairlift replacement was approved in the 2005 Master Development Plan by the Coconino National Forest. This lift will feature Arizona’s first loading conveyor, which is similar to a moving sidewalk and designed to make loading the lift easier and more efficient. Loading conveyors work very well for beginners and provide a smooth transition for beginner skiers who first learn on one of Snowbowl’s two stand alone conveyors.

New Hart Prairie lift will feature Arizona’s first loading conveyor

Arizona Snowbowl enjoys having the best learn to ski and snowboard progression terrain in the entire western US with Hart Prairie boasting a wide open and gentle meadow, allowing beginners to learn and gain confidence on the slopes.  Snowbowl is where Arizonans learn to ski and snowboard because of the fantastic and easy terrain.  The Hart Prairie area of the resort has two chairlifts and two surface conveyors just for beginners, which offers terrain-based learning.

The replacement of the thirty-six-year-old original lift is just one of the many more improvements Snowbowl intends to make this summer in an effort to respond to the growing beginner market. Improved rental equipment, enhanced youth ski and snowboard lessons, and state-of-the-art teaching methods are being implemented.  In the future, the Aspen chairlift will be replaced, and additional surface conveyors added.

We thank you for your continued support of Arizona Snowbowl and look forward to an exciting 2017-2018 season.