The battle over snowmaking on ground (read: ski trails) considered sacred by several regional Native American tribes continues to rage in Flagstaff, Ariz. over Arizona Snow Bowl's future. But the fire has now spread to another reservation in Arizona. This time, the "graveyard" involved seems to be economic.
The Snow Industry Letter (TSIL) is reporting Sunrise Park Resort, owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, is citing "tough economic times" as the reason for canceling several pass programs and its plans to limit ski and snowboard terrain this winter.
Sunrise Park, located in the White Mountains within a long snowball's throw of the skier-rich Phoenix market, announced only one of its three mountains will open for the winter. Season pass sales have been curtailed until, reports TSIL, "some of the uncertainty has been resolved." Refunds will apparently be issued for passes already sold.
The ski area's Junior Pass promotion, planned for Oct. 9-10, has also been whacked. This 10-year-old program provides free ski passes to kids ages 12 and under who visit the resort for scenic rides. Another promo, Winter Whiteout, has also been dropped.
TSIL Editor Mary McKhann wrote she contacted the ski area for comments and was referred to Jim Palmer, tribal attorney, who referred the trade newsletter to an information officer "who might be a little more in the loop than I am." However, that officer, Doris Hinton, was unaware that the promotion had been canceled.
KOLD-TV, the leading news outlet in Tucson, reported, "The future of Arizona's largest ski resort is on thin ice and faces possible closure."