Arizona Snowbowl provides a number of services to the public, including skiing, snowboarding and scenic rides. It was established in 1938 with people from different states and countries coming to visit. Resort staff have created some exciting plans this fall, such as rides and hikes.

Snowbowl general manager Robert Linde said the resort features skiing for all levels, so anyone is welcome to join. Additionally, it offers equipment rentals to use on visits.

“From the gondola ride, you can see the tops of the mountains and the leaves changing color, with it being fall,” Linde said. “The lift is about eight minutes up and down.”

Linde said his most memorable experience at the resort was on top of the mountain before guests arrived, when the views and snow conditions were incredible. He said it was an  interesting and solitary endeavor.

Lift operator Corey Carter has worked at the resort for four years. 

“I visited it once with my friend from NAU, and I had so much fun there [snowboarding] and decided to work there the following year,” Carter said. “It’s amazing seeing people visit from different backgrounds. It’s such a fun job to have because we’re getting paid to have fun and go board.”

To catergorize the different levels of terrain, and similar to other resorts, Snowbowl features a system that involves colors and shapes. A green circle is for beginners, a blue square is for intermediate riders and a black diamond is for advanced visitors. This structure helps people know where to go, Carter said.

As an addition to the resort, Arizona Gondola opened roughly a year and a half ago, replacing the old Agassiz lift. The old ride took nearly 30 minutes to get to the top, whereas the new gondola takes approximately eight minutes, Carter said. The upgrade is much faster, and viewers get to choose between chairs or cabins.

“There are honestly beautiful views,” Carter said. “I have been working all summer, and I’ve been managing the Snowbowl scenic gondola. It takes people to the highest points, and you get to see loads of nice views. If you look to the left you can see the south rim of the Grand Canyon, [Flagstaff] and the dome at NAU.” 

According to Snowbowl’s website, the gondola travels from 9,500 feet all the way up to 11,500 feet. It allows visitors and winter sports enthusiasts alike to take in the views from an entirely new perspective.

As a lift operator, one of Carter’s responsibilities is to ensure all the lifts are shut down at the end of the night. Before doing this, he and co-workers are allowed go up one last time to enjoy the sights, he added. 

“About two years ago, there were huge amounts of snow, and me and my co-workers would go on lifts together, which was really fun,” Carter said. “There were beautiful views, and it was all white, the trees were buried in snow and so many birds were flying about — it felt like a winter wonderland.”

However, prior to winter storms, trees on the mountain slowly change to fall colors. Snowbowl has access to aspen groves, where hikers can enjoy autumn on the Humphreys and Kachina trails.

“About two-thirds of the way up the mountain, there’s a corner called aspen corner that connects with the Arizona Trail and has connecting trails that run along some really pretty aspen trees,” Carter said.

Sophomore Keylin Chavarria regularly visits Snowbowl with her family and friends.

“I feel like it offers a lot of hikes and beautiful trails filled with pine trees and aspen trees,” Chavarria said. “There’s a lot of wildlife to see. They also have a gondola that you can ride and see all of Flagstaff [from], which is amazing.”

Accounting supervisor Brad Felty always loved skiing and snowboarding, but said he mostly lacked access to it growing up. He explained this encouraged him to get a job at Snowbowl where he could use his accounting degree and passion of skiing. 

“There is a ton that goes into making sure we can accommodate all the visitors that come on a busy Saturday, and although our ski area is small, we tend to think people are getting their money’s worth and having fun,” Felty said. “We also try to teach everyone to ski. That is one of our main objectives.”

Snowbowl’s 80th anniversary was in 2018, which involved a New Year’s Eve Torchlight parade. In celebration, Felty said about 100 people skied while holding flares and zig-zagging down the slope in a single-file line. Even when it started snowing, Felty said he continued participating.

Lift operation adviser Sydney Stalling has worked at Snowbowl for five years. When she moved to Flagstaff, all her friends skied and snowboarded, and she wanted to experience it herself. She said she loves the community they are part of. 

“I feel like the community is different here at Snowbowl,” Stalling said. “Everyone is super friendly. Everyone that comes in, no matter if you’re a beginner or advanced, you can find your spot on the mountain.”

The company is always working to adapt, trying to grow and finding new ways to be creative to fit people’s needs when they come to visit.

Stalling said when gondola riders reach the top, they can see the aspens and changing color palettes. People even have picnics high on the mountain, she added.

Ian Christopher, a former instructor and lift operator, discussed his time at the resort. He said he enjoyed being a lift operator and going down the slope when it began to snow. 

“I got to ride a lot, and of course anyone’s reason for working at a ski resort is to see and ride as much as possible,” Christopher said. “But I felt a lot more purpose when I was a ski and snowboard instructor, as you’re teaching kids and adults these skills, so that’s enjoyable. It’s nice to have that aspect and stoke kids out on learning something new.”

Autumn flies by faster than one may expect, but the beauty of the mountain is one of a kind. Embrace and enjoy the scenic gondola rides this fall at Snowbowl, or wait until the winter season for plenty of snow-filled opportunities. 

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