Flagstaff Skiing Snow
Flagstaff skiing, snow making updates...
March 13, 2007
Court Rules Against Snowbowl
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that
the Arizona Snowbowl's plan to use treated wastewater to make snow would
violate the religious freedom of more than a dozen American Indian tribes.
The 80-acre facility north of Flagstaff is located on the
western flank of the San Francisco Peaks -- mountains that have spiritual and
religious meaning to 13 tribes in the Southwest.
The tribes claimed the ski resorts' plans to expand -
including use of treated wastewater from the City of Flagstaff - violates their
religious freedom... and that the Forest Service did not adequately address the
impact of wastewater on the environment.
The appellate court agreed with them. This case is now
expected to go to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
December 17, 2006
The Flagstaff Daily Sun headline shouted "New
data confirm contaminants in treated wastewater" but the first
word in the underlying story was... Miniscule.
That newspaper story also includes
But even after a second study by an NAU
biologist, it remains to be determined whether this exposure affects the health
of wildlife and humans.
The city's top water official says the latest report isn't cause for alarm.
But the Flagstaff City Council is asking for more data...
The newspaper's apparent bias causes me to have an equal
and opposite reaction!
December 14, 2006
The Flagstaff City Council renews the city's agreement to
sell wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl to make snow.
The Snowbowl plans to begin snowmaking next winter if it
prevails on a legal appeal filed by tribes and environmental groups now pending
in the federal courts.
To this point, government agencies and courts have upheld
the Snowbowl's plans and agreements.
Well, the federal judge's decision did not favor the
position of those intent upon stopping improvements and expansion of the
skiing and snow play facilities at the Snowbowl.
At least some of the complaining parties are planning to
appeal the judge's ruling.
Here's a link to the Forest Service response to the snow
making court decision.
||Click on the box...
and have Google start putting money in your bank account!
September 14, 2006
Attorneys for the Navajo, Hopi and Hualapai tribes asked
the Ninth District Court of Appeals to overturn previous decisions and prevent
snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl..
Where's the snow? Last year there was plenty of snow...
and the activities that the snow makes possible. This year there is no snow
at the Snowbowl, no skiing, and no jobs.
The Trial is over... sort of. A decision is
expected in early 2006 in the suit aimed at blocking snowmaking at the Snowbowl.
That decision is sure to be appealed, whichever side prevails.
Hopi Tribe joins lawsuit over
Here is a resource that continually
updates links related to this snowmaking issue... http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/009184.asp
Appeals filed to snowmaking plan
Navajos, Hopis and environmental groups
appeal Forest Service decision.
Breaking News... Snowmaking proposal approved
Coconino National Forest Supervisor Nora Rasure announced her decision to
approve Alternative Two of the Snowbowl Facilities Improvement Draft EIS.
Alternative Two would allow the making of artificial snow, improvements to
lifts, lodges, and other facilities. A snow play area would also be constructed
at the Snowbowl.
Supervisor Rasure noted that her decision is based primarily on improving
safety and recreation opportunities.
The decision is widely anticipated to be appealed through the established
appeals process, and then through the courts.
Flagstaff skiing snow
making and other facility improvements have
been proposed at the Arizona Snowbowl.
This Flagstaff skiing snow
making update page seeks to keep you informed of events as the proposal
goes through the approval process.
The Arizona Snowbowl skiing facility is located
on Coconino National Forest land. This means that all significant improvements
are subject to Federal rules, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The Forest Service usually hires a skilled
contractor to execute the EIS process.
The process usually consists of numerous steps, including a draft EIS detailing
several alternatives, a public comment period, evaluation of
comments received, and a final EIS document being issued.
In the case of the Flagstaff skiing
snow making proposal, the next steps
following issuance of the final EIS will probably be court hearings. Several
groups oppose any improvements and will undoubtedly continue
their opposition through the Federal courts.
A number of years ago a previous Snowbowl
operator proposed to make snow. Opponents fought the proposal all the way to
the US Supreme Court before losing. However, snow making never materialized at
the skiing facility.
April 13, 2004 was the deadline for submission
of public comments. More than 8,000 comments were received. The Forest Service's
contractor is currently reviewing and preparing
responses to all comments received.
Arizona Snowbowl's operator had hoped for a
final decision from the Forest Service in late 2004, and to be making snow for
the 2005 - 2006 season. The large number of comments has pushed that final
decision into early 2005.
Those interested in the long term economic
health of the Flagstaff area hope that snow making and other improvements
happen, since the future of the
Arizona Snowbowl seems to depend on snow making.
This Forest Service page addresses frequently
asked questions regarding the Flagstaff skiing
snow making proposal.
The Flagstaff skiing snow
making draft EIS can be viewed here.
Reproduced below is the Forest Service's
original press release announcing the availability of the Flagstaff skiing snow
making draft EIS. It also
contains additional information of interest.
February 2, 2004
Forest Service Releases Draft Study on Snowbowl Upgrade
Flagstaff, AZ - The Coconino National Forest today released the Draft
Environmental Impact Statement for the Arizona Snowbowl Improvement project.
The Preferred Alternative described in the document proposes to create
snowmaking on 205 acres of skiable terrain at the ski area, using reclaimed
water from the City of Flagstaff. It also proposes adding one new chairlift and
four surface lifts; realigning and/or lengthening three of the current
chairlifts; creating 74 acres of new ski runs; creating a snowplay/tubing area
and associated infrastructure; creating a snowboarding halfpipe; and improving
the ski area’s service facilities and resort infrastructure. All of the
proposed improvements would occur entirely within the 777-acre ski area.
“We are at an important point in this process, which is a disclosure of
the environmental and social effects related to a range of alternatives,”
said Gene Waldrip, District Ranger of the Peaks Ranger District. “Public
comment to this Draft Environmental Impact Statement is crucial to making a
Waldrip added that the planning effort is closely tied to a need to improve
the Snowbowl. “Our Preferred Alternative is designed to improve public safety
at the ski area, plus it will augment customer service, bring the ski area into
compliance with current ski industry norms, and lend vital stability to the
economic viability of the Arizona Snowbowl,” he said. “Part of the Forest
Service’s mission is to provide safe, well-managed recreation, such as
downhill skiing and snowboarding. That’s why we are proposing this
Night lighting at the ski area, a major element in the initial proposal, was
dropped from the project during analysis, after officials saw little public
support for the idea. “We dropped night lighting from the analysis because of
several reasons,” said Waldrip. “It was not vital to meeting the
project’s purpose and need, plus it got very little support. On top of that,
analyzing the environmental and social effects of night lighting would have
been extremely difficult.”
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is an interim environmental
study report generated by the Forest Service to assess the environmental
impacts associated with several alternative approaches to improving the Arizona
Snowbowl. The Snowbowl DEIS contains three alternatives analyzed in detail,
which are roughly described as No Action (Alternative 1), Proposed Action
(Alternative 2), and No Snowmaking or Snowplay (Alternative 3). Alternative 2
is the Forest Service’s Preferred Alternative. Alternative 3 encompasses all
proposed improvements except for snowmaking and constructing a snowplay area.
The DEIS for the Snowbowl Improvement project will enter a 60-day public
comment period as soon as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes a
notice of availability regarding the DEIS in the Federal Register. Nora Rasure,
Supervisor of the Coconino National Forest, has extended the comment period
from 45 days to 60 days. The purpose of this period is to allow the public an
opportunity to review the DEIS and submit comments to it. Comments may express
agreement or disagreement with the analysis and conclusions in the document.
However, to be considered substantive (useful), comments should express the
writer’s rationale for their position.
People may submit comments in the following ways:
- In writing, to Ken Jacobs, Team Leader, 5075 N. Highway 89, Flagstaff, AZ
- To email comments, go to http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/publications/snowbowl/index.shtml
and click on the “Comments” link.
- Orally, by calling (928) 226-xxxx and leaving a voice recording.
Once the comment period has closed, the Forest Service will collect and
analyze all public comments, and then factor these comments into the Final
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project. That document, along
with the Forest Service’s decision based on the analysis in the FEIS, is
expected this fall.
In order to assist the public in evaluating the DEIS, the Coconino NF will
hold a public open house regarding the Snowbowl DEIS on February 25, 2004, from
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Flagstaff High School, in the commons area. The public is
invited to attend this open house at any time during the four-hour period and
talk to a variety of resource specialists. Comment forms will be available at
the open house, and the Forest Service will collect comments at this event.
To obtain a copy of the DEIS, please contact any Flagstaff office of the
Coconino National Forest. The DEIS may be viewed on the Coconino NF’s website
Links to related Flagstaff skiing
The Arizona Snowbowl
Cross Country Skiing Page
This Site Have you read this page lately?
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