Flagstaff Skiing Snow Making


flagstaff skiing snow making


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 these statements...

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.

January 2006

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..


December 2005

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.

December 2005

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.


July 2005

Hopi Tribe joins lawsuit over snowmaking

Here is a resource that continually updates links related to this snowmaking issue... http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/009184.asp


April 2005

Appeals filed to snowmaking plan

Navajos, Hopis and environmental groups appeal Forest Service decision.

March  2005

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 offlagstaff skiing snow making 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 final decision.�

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 project.�

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 86004
  • 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 at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/publications/snowbowl/index.shtml.

Links to related Flagstaff skiing snow making pages:

The Arizona Snowbowl Page

The Flagstaff Cross Country Skiing Page

About This Site Have you read this page lately?

Return to Home Page

flagstaff skiing snow making

Copyright � 2004 Fred Doyle. All Rights Reserved.