The first time on skis or a snowboard can be a daunting experience for anyone, enough so that it may take some convincing to get a beginner to return for more.
Arizona Snowbowl wants to increase that rate of return. A new 150-foot conveyor belt is expected to be ready for the season opening, according to ski area officials. The “moving carpet” lift will give newcomers a welcome ride back up the hill, eliminating the awkwardness of sidestepping or herringboning on a slippery slope.
In addition, crews are expected to begin regrading a 1.5-acre area near Snowbowl’s lower lodge so that beginning skiers and riders a more comfortable, flatter area to introduce themselves to these sports.
The northern Arizona ski area prides itself on an expansive beginner area, called Hart’s Prairie. A wide slope and two dedicated chairlifts separate first-time and novice skiers and rides from the more challenging parts of the mountain.
The resort also got permission from the U.S. Forest Service in September to cut a new trail. Dave Smith, director of sales and marketing, said that logging likely won’t begin until next spring, when fallen trees can be skidded out without damaging the terrain.
The installation of snowmaking equipment will have to wait for another year, as ski area officials failed in another attempt this fall to bring artificial snow to Snowbowl’s 32 slopes and trails. Opposition to making snow with treated wastewater came from nearby Native American tribes, who consider the San Francisco Mountains where Snowbowl is located to be sacred sites.