A pair of storms that pelted [R21R, Arizona Snowbowl] set the resort up to open Dec. 17 for the season. Snowbowl became the first ski area to open in Arizona for skiing and riding this winter.

Arizona skiers thought the early December storm that ripped across from the Los Angeles area to Snowbowl might allow the resort to open-especially since it dumped 21 to 34 inches of snow.

"Typically, those storms have wetter snow. That's what we like for early season," Dave Smith, Director of Marketing, told OnTheSnow.com. "But the first storm was colder and windier than usual." The storm toted 75-knot winds that scoured the terrain above timberline, disappointing those chomping to get on the slopes.

Snowbowl's snowcats went to work, packing the snow from the first storm. The following storm brought 7-13 inches of wet, dense snow-the perfect base. "The off and on rain in Flagstaff meant snow in the mountains," Smith added. "It's looking really good."

The second storm allowed Snowbowl to open Dec. 17 for the season. The resort opened both lodges and ran all of its lifts with 80 percent of the mountain available for skiing and riding. Skiing off the top of the Agassiz lift was limited to Ridge Run with both Ridge and Lower Bowl open from Midway down. More terrain will be opened as conditions permit.

Snowbowl is now open for daily operations 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check the resort's snow report for road conditions before driving up to the resort.