Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise Park have rebounded from blizzards that knocked out power to the resorts and closed roads. The temporary closures threw a glitch in the plans of skiers and snowboarders aiming for powder shots after a week of big snow dumps, but the deep snowpack bodes well for the full season at the resorts.
Storms funneled high winds across Arizona Jan. 21, throwing down heavy snow in the mountains and knocking out power in pockets across the state. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley above Tucson closed, citing wind gusts of 79 mph. Surging winds knocked out power to Arizona Snowbowl above Flagstaff and Sunrise Park in the White Mountains, preventing them from cranking up their lifts. But no electricity was only one of the difficulties, as deep snow closed the roads leading to both resorts.
Snowbowl's electricity came back on, plows dug out parking lots, the road re-opened, and crews unburied lift terminals in time for the resort to get all of its lifts running again by the third day. Sunrise Park faced obstacles that lingered longer. Power remained out for three days, but 6-8 feet of snow burying roads precluded access to the resort until the middle of the following week.
Both resorts are back to normal operations now, and thanks to the storm, potentially sitting on a record-setting year. The storm dropped eight feet of snow on the slopes, skyrocketing season totals.
Sunrise Park reported their post-storm base having climbed to 97-140 inches. Snowbowl amassed enough new snow to sail its winter total snowfall for the season beyond the 200-inch mark.
"Conditions outside are incredible," spokesperson David Smith told OnTheSnow.com. "Since our average season sees 260 inches of snow, we are well on our way to having an above average year." The resort's current snowfall accumulation by the end of January already surpassed last year's end of season total.
Smith thought that the storm ranked as the resort's second biggest. "This snowpack gives us confidence that we will have plenty of snow for the rest of the season," he added.