The City of Flagstaff and the Hopi Tribe have reached a settlement in the long-running lawsuit over snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks. It’ll first have to be approved by the Flagstaff City Council, but Navajo Nation officials say they oppose the agreement. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Arizona Snowbowl twitter feed

Ski resorts on national forest land now will have to prove they have sufficient water supplies, due to a U.S. Forest Service regulation.


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.