Cronkite News$60 million renovation plan over 10 to 15 years to add new lifts, facilities, trails and night skiing. About 40,000 visitors come to the resort in the off-season, Murray said, using the lifts for scenic rides. “We’ve added to lifts, parking and snowmaking,” Murray said. “Now it’s time we focus on our facilities with an emphasis on restaurants, restrooms and lodges.” The resort has a significant economic impact on Flagstaff, at about $58 million a year, according to Murray, often bringing in overnight visitors. During peak season, he said, Snowbowl employs close to 700 people. Meg Roedere, spokeswoman for Discover Flagstaff, said the ski resort adds to the northern Arizona city’s appeal. “Flagstaff tourism supports an estimated 8,000 jobs and adds $500 million to our economy,” Meg Roederer said, spokeswoman for Discover Flagstaff. The U.S. Forest Service approved construction, which will begin in May. “They are leasing that land and must have approval,” said George Jozens, spokesperson for the Coconino National Forest. “We make sure it’s environmentally safe and is not doing any harm to the animals.”
Several Native American tribes, including the Hopi and Navajo, consider the San Francisco Peaks sacred land. The Hopi Tribe brought a yearslong lawsuit against Snowbowl for using reclaimed water for snowmaking, saying it caused environmental damage. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled for Snowbowl in 2018. “We had to take everybody’s concerns, before we approved, for consideration,” Jozens said. For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org. Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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