Despite lawsuits, appeals and protests, Arizona Snowbowl owners pushed forward this summer with plans to ultimately bring artificial snow to their 777 skiable acres.
Crews put down a $1.3 million, 6.5-mile line of 12-inch pipe up Snowbowl Road that represents a portion of the proposed 14-mile connection to the city of Flagstaff water/wastewater system, according to Spokesman Dave Smith. Next will be construction of the pipes, guns and other infrastructure on the mountain itself, expected to go on next summer. The aim is to get the guns blowing snow by the 2012/2013 season, Smith told OnTheSnow.
For more than a decade, Snowbowl has worked to build a snowmaking system for the mountain that is among the southern-most resorts in the Rocky Mountain region. Resort owners weathered a number of lawsuits filed by Native American tribes, who consider the San Francisco Peaks sacred, and by environmental groups that question the health risks of making snow from treated wastewater. An appeal of a federal court victory for Snowbowl awaits a decision from the Ninth District Court of Appeals.
During the construction season, protesters attempted to slow down or stop work at various times, leading to several dozen arrests. Also, the Hopi tribe filed a district court suit attempting to invalidate the water-supply contract between Snowbowl and Flagstaff.
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