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Watching the Sunset at 11,500 Feet

Aspen SnowbowlWhile Monsoon’s precipitation is low and the heat level is high, Arizona’s highest mountain is offering cool temperatures and cool views along with extended hours to get there this month.

For five Saturdays, Arizona Snowbowl guests can enjoy live music on the Agassiz patio, dinners and breathtaking Northern Arizona sunsets, as the chairlift will be open until 6 p.m.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for below-normal precipitation in August, so sunset lift riders can expect clear, sunny skies as they ride in the afternoon. “Sunset time on the mountain is very unique. The higher you go, the longer you’ll see the sun sinking into the West,” said Forest Service Interpretive Ranger Chelsea Schroeder. “When much of Arizona is in triple-digit heat, the warmest temperature at 11,500 feet will be in the low 60s during the day, and in the upper 50s later in the afternoon.”

To feel comfortable during the ride, which is 25-30 minutes each way, visitors are reminded to dress in layers or bring a light blanket. With temperatures up to 50 degrees cooler than most of the state, the Scenic Chairlift is likely the coolest place in Arizona right now, and a fun way for the whole family to beat the heat!

As with regular Scenic Chairlift Ride hours, rangers will be at the top ready to share information about the forest, the view and the volcanic field. “There are not that many places in the country where you can reach the elevation of 11,500 feet (3,500 m) as easily as via the Scenic Chairlift. Once you unload, you are surrounded by panoramic views of up to 70 miles in the distance, four different types of volcanoes and the largest ponderosa pine forest in the country. On a clear day you can see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon rising above the South Rim by 900 feet!” said Schroeder.

Standard operating hours for the Scenic Chairlift Ride are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, along with Labor Day Monday (Sept. 1). On Sunset Saturdays, hours will be extended to 6 p.m. Chairlift tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. All 2013/14 winter season passholders, and those under seven or over 70 ride for free! During Sunset Saturdays, barbecue is included with a full-priced ticket purchased after 2 p.m. Passholders and those not riding the chairlift may purchase the barbecue dinner separately at Agassiz Lodge for $7.99. FBN

For more information on Arizona Snowbowl, their specials and events, log onto arizonasnowbowl.com.

By Jason Stratton

Jason Stratton is the director of sales and marketing at Arizona Snowbowl. He can be reached at 779-1951, ext. 115.

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