Artist Rendering of the new Agassiz lift to open at Arizona Snowbowl for 2020-2021 Season. Courtesy Photo
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Snowbowl approved for one of North America’s largest ski lifts 2020-2021

Flagstaff, AZ — (March 5, 2020) — Arizona Snowbowl today announced Agassiz Chairlift will be replaced for the 2020-2021 winter season. The new lift will replace the existing three-seat passenger chair with a modern combination high-speed lift, located at the base of Agassiz Peak. According to resort officials, the new lift construction project will be one of the largest in North America in advance of the 2020-2021 winter season.

Snowbowl commended the Coconino National Forest for the more than 12 months of work – including the environmental assessment process – required to reach today’s historic announcement.

“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,” stated J..R. Murray, Chief Planning Officer at Mountain Capital Partners (MCP), Snowbowl’s management company.

While preparing for one of the continent’s largest lift construction projects is underway, Snowbowl officials are focused now on getting the existing lift running again. On Saturday, January 18, the chairlift experienced a mechanical malfunction that has kept Agassiz closed for over a month. Murray expects the lift to re-open as early as this Sunday, March 8 – pending part manufacturing, installation and inspections. Once Agassiz is replaced, the original lift will be installed in another location – but where or when is still to be determined, Murray said.


Known as a combination lift, the new Agassiz lift will be a detachable high-speed chairlift and gondola, with six-person chairs interspersed with eight person gondola cabins. Manufactured by Leitner Poma of North America in Grand Junction, Colo., the new lift will transport guests 2,000-feet up the western side of the San Francisco Peaks to 11,500-feet in just 7-minutes, nearly half the time as the existing chair. The new Agassiz lift will have the same capacity as the current chairlift, 1,200 people per hour. (See for more details on combination lift.) 

Agassiz will be Snowbowl’s second new high-speed chairlift, following the addition of the Grand Canyon Express high speed six-passenger lift in 2017. With top to bottom service to expert runs, Agassiz also expedites access to advanced high alpine terrain in the Upper Bowl.

Snowbowl officials say an Agassiz “farewell tour” – including a send-off party on closing day, scheduled for April 26 – will be announced in the upcoming weeks to commemorate and celebrate Snowbowl’s most iconic lift.

“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.”

Skiers will be able to choose to ride the six-person chair or take a leisurely ride to the top in the 8-person cabin. In the summer and fall, scenic chairlift riders will benefit from passenger cabins in chilly or inclement weather, and passengers that need more assistance boarding a lift can be accommodated more readily.

Snowbowl’s only year-round lift, the Agassiz lift provides views of the red rocks in Sedona, the cinder cone volcanic field and the Grand Canyon. There has been a chairlift in this location for 59 years, since 1961, and the existing lift dates back to 1986. The addition of the new lift is part of a commitment from Snowbowl and its management company, Mountain Capital Partners (MCP), to enhance the guest experience at Snowbowl by meeting current demand and increasing access to year-round outdoor recreation for Flagstaff residents and visitors. 

Completion of the new lift is targeted for fall 2020, operational in time for the 2020-21 ski season. Please visit to learn more.

One comment

  1. Victoria Carella

    Another scar on the Sacred Mountain. 😞

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