Arizona Snowbowl's First Year Of Snowmaking Saves Its Season

March 11, 2014

(Photo courtesy of @AZSnowbowl)
Snowbowl closes for the season Sunday, March 30.

 The Arizona Snowbowl said it has had a good season, despite the lack of snow on the San Francisco Peaks. The last time the ski area saw as little snow as the 90 inches it has had so far this year, in 2001-2002, it was open only four days and had 2,800 skiers.

With its first full season of snowmaking this year, Snowbowl expects to see about 150,000 skiers by its closing date. The resort stopped making artificial snow last week, after spraying more than 60 million gallons of treated effluent on the mountain.

Now, Snowbowl General Manager J.R. Murray said this year will define its worst-case scenario. But, the snow-making operations have not been cheap. The Arizona Daily Sun reports each of the Snowbowl’s 30 snowmaking guns cost about $30,000, the treated wastewater bill was more than $100,000 and it invested about $18 million in litigation, studies and infrastructure, just to get the ability to make artificial snow.