The projects detailed in this section have been previously approved through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, but have not yet been implemented. The projects described were approved in the 2005 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) for the Arizona Snowbowl Facilities Improvements (the 2005 EIS and ROD are available in the Project Library tab).
The following sections detail these projects, and a corresponding graphic is provided at the bottom of this page. Figures referenced in the text below can be found in the 2020 Master Development Plan (MDP), which is available for download in the Project Library tab.
Two lift projects have been previously approved, but have not yet been implemented. These
improvements will replace antiquated lift equipment in the Hart Prairie area with more modern
and efficient chairlift technology and enhance lift placement to better serve terrain.
Approximately 39 acres of new terrain and terrain widening was previously approved. In the Hart Prairie area, new terrain was approved in conjunction with the replacement of the Aspen Lift. This approved terrain surrounds the bottom terminal of the new Aspen Lift and would facilitate efficient use and operation of the replaced lift. Trail widening and a series of new trail connectors were also previously approved. The new trails would connect to a widened Spur Catwalk to Midway Catwalk and Logjam (Volcano II), the Phoenix trail to the Blackjack trail (Lower Phoenix), the Lower Ridge trail to the Stump Patch and Rattlesnake trails (South Ridge), the Frontier trail to the Sundance trail (27A). Refer to Figure 5 of the 2020 MDP.
Additional grading was also previously approved on existing trails Flat Iron, Frontier, Ridgeway, Tiger, and the ski way providing access to the bottom terminal of the Humphreys Lift from the Roundup area.
Expansion of the Hart Prairie and Agassiz base areas was documented and approved in the
2005 EIS and ROD. Approval was provided for an additional 6,000 square feet at the Hart
Prairie Base Area and 10,000 square feet at the Agassiz Base Area. The 2005 approval also
approved a 2,500-square foot Native American cultural and education center to be pursued
with tribal collaboration and participation, which Snowbowl may implement in the future.
The 2005 EIS and ROD approved the snowmaking system at Snowbowl to cover 205.3 acres
with snowmaking infrastructure. Currently, the resort covers approximately 161 acres of terrain with snowmaking infrastructure. It is Snowbowl’s intention, per their existing approval, to install these 44 acres of previously approved snowmaking infrastructure in the future.
Through the development of the 2020 MDP, Snowbowl had intended to add approximately 47 acres of new snowmaking infrastructure to cover newly planned terrain, taking the total area of snowmaking up to 252 acres. However, the Forest Service had concerns regarding adding any new snowmaking at this time, given social and cultural concerns. As a result, Snowbowl
worked with the Forest to reallocate part of the 44 acres of “previously approved” snowmaking infrastructure to cover areas of the MDP where snowmaking is most critical
(specifically, proposed terrain on the lower mountain, including the Fort Valley Glades, Hart Prairie II and Aspen Meadows areas). The snowmaking plan in the 2020 MDP (Refer to Figure 4 of that document) has been reconfigured such that runs covered by snowmaking infrastructure will total 205 acres, as previously approved in the 2005 EIS and ROD. This will be accomplished by “relinquishing” snowmaking coverage on certain runs, and portions of runs, that were approved for snowmaking infrastructure in 2005; for example, snowmaking will be relinquished on Sundance, Flat Iron, half of Casino, B-24, South Ridge, Lower Phoenix, 27A, and on runs in the Humphreys and Arizona Gondola areas that are not critical to snowmaking, and this snowmaking coverage will be reallocated to other more critical areas of the ski resort. In short, the snowmaking infrastructure areas approved for snowmaking in 2005 that are being relinquished will be equal in area to the snowmaking infrastructure areas that were added in the 2020 MDP and are more crucial to the future ski area operation.
Consistent with the 2005 EIS and ROD, Snowbowl may implement the approved winter tubing and additional parking. The tubing facility will consist of several lanes of snow tubing with snowmaking capabilities, 5,000 square feet of guest service space, tube storage, and a series of conveyor lifts to serve the tubers.
The prior approval authorized 5,000 square feet of guest service space and support
structures as part of the tubing facility, although this space may serve other activities in addition to snow tubing. At a minimum, this guest service space and support structures should offer food service, restrooms, ticket sales, and a sun deck. The facility should also include security lighting for staff and guest safety.
The 2005 EIS and ROD approved the construction of a hiking trail from the existing Arizona
Gondola mid-station to the top terminal. The previously-approved trail is primarily intended
for hikers; however, the 2005 approval stated that the trail will be wide enough to permit ski
area maintenance personnel to access the top terminal using all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Additionally, this trail will provide a method of moving guests from the upper reaches of the
Arizona Gondola should a summer lift evacuation be necessary.
The prior approval specified that this trail will be approximately 5,280 feet in length and
constructed at a width of 5 feet or slightly wider at switchbacks to allow for ATV use.
Incidental removal of overstory vegetation may be necessary to maintain proper grades along
the trail alignment (depicted in Figure 8 of the 2020 MDP).
Two 100-square foot structures, a “Starting Shelter” and “Timing Shelter," as well as a 640-square foot race program building were approved in the 2005 EIS and ROD to support racing
programs and operations.
To increase parking lot efficiency, facilitate snow removal, and improve pedestrian safety, the
2005 EIS and ROD approved a redesign to the entrance with a roundabout and the combination of the two upper most existing parking lots at the Agassiz base area through re-grading and leveling, as well as a minimal amount of tree removal. Parking lots #7 and #8 are located in the Agassiz Base Area, and the approved combination of these lots is depicted on Figure 5 of the 2020 MDP. The previously approved parking lot combination will add approximately 35 spaces across 0.3 acre.