Snowbowl

  The Arizona Snowbowl has a new member of its ownership team.

The ski resort near Flagstaff announced Tuesday that Durango, Colorado, businessman James Coleman has become part of the Arizona Snowbowl Limited Partnership. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

The partnership had planned to close on a deal last year to sell the ski resort to Coleman. But one of the owners, Eric Borowsky, says many of the partners wanted to stay involved with the Snowbowl.

The partnership bought the ski resort in 1992 for $4 million.

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The City of Flagstaff and the Hopi Tribe are working to resolve a lawsuit over selling reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl ski resort to make snow. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Hopis claim snowmaking using the reclaimed water is a public nuisance.

The City of Flagstaff has decided to renew a contract to sell wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl for snowmaking. The decision was made by city staff, not by City Council.   

The decision comes as a new study questions the economic impact of the ski resort.

The report commissioned by the Hopi Tribe disputes previous economic studies that found a $17 million annual economic impact.

John Duffield, an economics professor at the University of Montana, says previous studies overstated the impact.

When there’s snow in northern Arizona, people from around the region flock to Flagstaff for a winter wonderland in the middle of the desert. But in the desert, that snow is unpredictable.  And that’s been an ongoing problem for the local ski resort, the Arizona Snowbowl -- until now.

After years of planning and fighting in the courts, the ski resort is finally laying the pipelines to make snow out of reclaimed waste water. But local Native American tribes still bitterly oppose the project, as they believe the mountains are sacred.

The Hopi Tribe will appeal a recent ruling in favor of the City of Flagstaff’s plan to sell reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl.

The Tribal Council recently told its lawyers to appeal the decision by the Coconino County Superior Court.

In his ruling in late December, Judge Joe Lodge said that the major issues in the case have already been decided in federal court.

The tribe’s latest suit claims that treated sewage water cannot be used for snowmaking because melted snow could flow into water basins outside of the ski resort.

 More than 100 opponents of snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks marched to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco Monday.

That’s where attorneys for the Save the Peaks Coalition were appealing a lower court decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to grant a snowmaking permit for Arizona Snowbowl.

The coalition is made up of Native American tribes and environmental groups. The Peaks are sacred to 13 tribes.