By Dave Ficere
The 2013-14 ski and snowboarding season is off to a roaring start at the Arizona
Snowbowl. With a long snow-making controversy behind them, the resort just north
of Flagstaff had its earliest opening ever, turning Black Friday into “White Friday” by
opening the day after Thanksgiving. So far, skiers are thrilled and many locals have
commented that it’s been a long time since the resort opened so early and with
such great conditions.
“Early season conditions are the best I’ve seen in almost 10 years,” Alan writes on
Snowbowl’s Facebook page. “Love this place! Congratulations,” Connie chimes in
about Arizona Snowbowl’s designation as “Best Flagstaff Attraction,” by readers of
the Arizona Daily Sun.
Even though the Flagstaff area received some early natural snow this year, it was a
significant financial investment in the snow making operation that allowed the
resort to open early this year. As of just a few days ago, the resort was about 75
percent open, by far surpassing normal levels before Christmas.
“It’s really been all about the snow making and its ‘snowball effect’ in helping
people plan ahead,” says Jason Stratton, Director of Sales and Marketing for Arizona
Snowbowl. “The ability to artificially produce snow and know we could do so was the
key to lodging and infrastructure improvements,” he added.
Commenting on the years-long controversy over using reclaimed water on what
some Native American groups consider sacred land, Stratton says they’ve always
done their best to respect the environment and work with the people of Flagstaff in
the use of reclaimed water. Other resorts, he says, pull water from everywhere they
can, but the way they use reclaimed water here is “really different.”
The Flagstaff climate, Stratton says, makes the Snowbowl an ideal place to either
learn to ski or snowboard or to polish your skills. “We’re so blessed to have a lot of
sunshine to go along with the great snow and skiing,” he says. “People love visiting
‘Phoenix’s local winter backyard adventure.’”
So when is the best time to visit the Snowbowl? Stratton says weekdays are the
least crowded and, believe it or not, New Year’s Day is a great time to visit,
especially in the morning. Stratton says since many people stay out late partying
and ushering in the new year the night before, early New Year’s Day is less crowded
than at other times during the holiday season.
And, speaking of the new year, January is Learn To Ski And Snowboard Month
nationwide and the Arizona Snowbowl is offering deep discounts on learn to ski and
snowboard packages. “Check the website for the most recent updates,” Stratton
says, as well as for other one-time specials, gift card offers and other incentives to
For holiday travel, he adds, there are currently six hotel partners in Flagstaff that
are offering package deals for lodging and skiing so he recommends checking those
out, as well.
So, if you’re itching to get in some holiday skiing or need a family getaway, check
out Phoenix’s local winter backyard adventure at the Arizona Snowbowl. They’re
located seven miles northwest of Flagstaff on Snowbowl Road just off of Highway
180. For more information, call (928) 779-1951 or visit the website at
www.ArizonaSnowbowl.com. Happy swooshing!
By Dave Ficere