Winter Storm Recovery

Snow has officially arrived and our winter storm recovery operations are underway.

Over the last week, Arizona Snowbowl welcomed 31 inches of fresh powder. Our team has been working hard alongside the storm to open 68% of the mountain along with all chairlifts. The recent snowfall also brought unexpected high winds, cold temperatures, and the perfect atmospheric conditions for rime ice.
 

“Rime ice accumulates with freezing temperatures, steady winds, and low clouds.” – National Weather Service Flagstaff

Removing rime ice is a long manual process that involves climbing each tower in extreme weather conditions. Mechanics must remove all chairs and cabins prior to a storm to expedite the process. If winds remain high or storms continue, mechanics may not be able to scale towers or remove ice faster than it forms. Once all towers and cables have been cleared and inspected, we will begin to operate lifts.
 

Our Team’s dedication to you

The Snowbowl team is dedicated to getting you out on the slopes and opening terrain as quickly and safely as weather permits. We are incredibly grateful for our entire mountain operations team and their commitment to providing you with a safe and enjoyable experience.

 

Lift, Weather, and Terrain Updates

For all lift, weather, and terrain updates, please view our Snow Report.

Follow our AZSBUpdates Twitter account for immediate updates.

Check the hourly forecast here.

 
 

Learn More Below

 


 
 

Rime Ice Build Up on the Arizona Gondola

 

What is rime ice and why is it a problem?

 

According to the National Weather Service, rime ice is defined as “An opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles caused by the rapid freezing of supercooled water droplets on impact with an object.” In other words, it is a type of ice that forms when water droplets freeze on contact with an object. Rime ice often builds up rapidly and creates unfavorable obstructions on the necessary components to the lift.

When the wind begins to gust at high speeds, rime ice build-up rapidly forms on our equipment and chairlifts, making it extremely difficult for our team to keep lifts clear and operating.

 

Rime Ice Build-up

 

How do we prepare for extreme weather?

 

Our team of mechanics, lift-operators, and ski patrol monitor the current weather and trends vigilantly via various weather stations located on the mountain. These stations provide the most accurate and current readings helping our team make informed and responsible decisions. If the weather is trending for less than favorable conditions such as rine ice or high winds, the cabins and chairs will be removed from the cables to expedite any necessary maintenance that may be recovered after a storm.

 

How is rime ice removed?

 

After rime ice has been spotted, our team of mechanics must climb each individual tower so they can assess the amount of build-up on cables and towers. Our team begins operations as early as 5 AM and may be prevented from climbing towers due to low visibility and high gusts of wind at upper elevations.

 

 

If the weather permits, mechanics must remove the ice manually with various tools until the tower is clear from ice. Once towers and cables have been cleared of all ice, cabins, and chairs may be loaded back onto cable so mechanics may clear communication lines from the chairs. This can often be a long process, especially if executed during extreme weather due to the rapid formation of ice. 

 

Lift, Weather, and Terrain Updates

For all lift, weather, and terrain updates, please view our Snow Report.

Follow our AZSBUpdates Twitter account for immediate updates.

Check the hourly forecast here.