Arizona Snowbowl can make snow next year, but visitors will be asked not to eat it.
A federal judge has ruled that snowmaking with treated wastewater at Arizona Snowbowl does not pose a public or environmental health risks, paving the way for construction to start next spring.
Snowbowl co-owner Eric Borowski told the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff that he plans to begin building a 15-mile pipeline and other infrastructure in the spring, even though another appeal is possible in the decade-long battle to bring snowmaking to the northern Arizona mountain. Borowski and his partners hope to use wastewater from the city of Flagstaff's treatment plant.
"It's a very strong ruling," he told the newspaper. "We doubt if any court will issue a restraining order. We intend to start construction probably in the spring."
Federal Judge Mary Murguia ruled that the plaintiffs, including the local Save The Peak Coalition, waited too long to file their lawsuit and should have joined in with the Navajo Nation when it sued over religious freedom issues in 2005. Her decision confirmed a U.S. Forest Service analysis that could not affirm that snow made from reclaimed wastewater was a danger to the health of humans, flora or fauna.
Part of the decision, however, will require signs telling skiers and riders not to ingest the artificial snow, according to the news report.
The plaintiffs, who include nine individuals as well as the coalition, said through their attorney that they would appeal.
The winter sports area will continue to rely upon natural snowfall to cover its 32 trails and slopes this winter. The resort plans to open Dec. 19.