Snowmaking a major boon for resort, city and skiers, boarders and sledders

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Heidi Goitia

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 1:40 PM

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Despite the lack of storms, Arizona Snowbowl is as busy as ever thanks to snowmaking. This is the first full season the resort has had the ability to make snow. So far it's been good news for the economy and for skiers, but also for families looking for some great sledding.

Arizona Snowbowl opened the day after Thanksgiving -- "White Friday."

"Without snowmaking we wouldn't be open for skiing or riding right now," Jason Stratton, the director of sales and marketing for Arizona Snowbowl.

After years of protests and legal wrangling, snowmaking is in full swing, and skiers and snowboarders at Arizona Snowbowl are reaping the benefits.

But it's not just the resort that's feeling those positive effects.

"Everything from gas stations, to hotels, to restaurants in town are feeling the impact of snowmaking," Stratton said.

In its worst years, the ski season at Snowbowl was short -- just a few weeks. But those abbreviated seasons are thing of the past.

"Snowmaking in the early season allows us to do a ramp up so now we're like every other ski area in America," Stratton explained. "[T]there's no snow [at the bottom of the mountain] but on the ski run there's almost 28 inches of packed snow. So, it gives us a great base even when Mother Nature doesn't provide it."

The implications are huge. Plans are already in place to install a new chairlift and to build a play area for sledders.

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