Snowbowl waiting on decision over making snow

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Arizona Snowbowl isn't open, but officials say it would be if they were allowed to make snow.

A court decision was expected Tuesday that could finally end the fight over snow making in Flagstaff.

Those at Snowbowl are still waiting for the federal district judge to make a decision on a lawsuit that was filed a year ago.

Snowbowl wants to make snow out of reclaimed water, but one group believes the artificial snow is unhealthy.

“If we were open right now, we'd have several hundred employees, we'd have thousands of people here, daily and weekly, it would give a boost to the Flagstaff economy and we would have certainty,” J.R. Murray said.

Murray said they already have all the permits to build and make snow, but everything was put on hold last year after Howard Shanker, who represents a group called Save the Peaks Coalition, filed a lawsuit pointing out some possible health concerns.

“We're discovering all these things in this reclaimed sewer water that nobody knew was in there before, so we know it contains stuff that interferes with, mimics, or blocks normal hormone activity,” Shanker said.

For the past six years Shanker represented the Navajo Nation and other tribes that argued spraying the San Francisco Peaks with artificial snow would desecrate the mountain they hold sacred.

It was a case that finally came to an end after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Shanker's final appeal against using treated waste-water to make snow.    

“The forest service did not do an adequate analysis or study of the impacts of people or children who might eat snow from reclaimed sewer water,” Shanker said.

Murray argues how the water could be bad if it was approved by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

No matter which way the judge rules, both parties say they'll appeal his decision.