Flagstaff Business News recently spoke with Arizona Snowbowl Manager, J.R. Murray.
FBN: What is the next step for Arizona Snowbowl?
Murray: Start construction (of the pipeline and snowmaking infrastructure) in the spring of 2011 and we would begin making snow in the fall. There will be about 232 jobs created during construction.
FBN: How will snowmaking extend the skiing season at Arizona Snowbowl?
Murray: Extending the season is not at all what it's about. it is having a predictable opening. Extending makes it sound like we want to stay open in April longer. That's not it all. What snowmaking gives you is a predictable opening so you are assured of opening when demand is the highest and that is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So with predictability, you know you are going to be open each and every season and you'll be able to have an average season each year. What happens in April, that's not as important as what happens in November December, January.
FBN: What have studies shown snowmaking will do for the local economy?
Murray: When we did the analysis to correlate snowy winters versus non snowy winters and the tax collection, some years it shows the city does quite well when there are no snowy winters. And it's important to realize, with snowmaking, regardless of whether it's a snowy winter or not, we will still open and do very well. So when you take the tax collections of the let's call it a dry winter, you will be able to add the impact of the ski area on top of that. So there are people who will say that the town does just fine without the ski area proven by the BBB collections snowy versus dry year; but if you look at that dry year, tax collection, which means more people drive here, come here, that are not skiers, then you can actually add the skiers on top of that because with snow making we will be open (thus increasing tax collections even further.)
FBN: What are some of the economic specifics you expect?
Murray: 23.7 million dollars but that's only visitor spending. That's not our spending and our payroll. And that's how we get up to the approximately 50 million dollars of annual economic impact. The multiplier of the payroll in town. Visitor spending, (it's) just under 24 million dollars a year, that's not local spending, our spending and our payroll.
FBN: How many skiers do you expect when snowmaking is underway at Arizona Snowbowl?
Murray: The forest service independent analysis shows we are going to average about 215,000 skiers a year with snowmaking. This past year we did 207,000 without. So we think we'll exceed the 215,000 but that will be the average.
Approximately 205 acres will be affected by snow from snowmaking, using Class A reclaimed water.
A 10 million-gallon snowmaking water reservoir will be built near the top of Sunset Chairlift.
A 3,000 – 4,000 square foot building will be constructed near the existing maintenance shop for a snowmaking control center.
For a map of the area affected by snowmaking, visit http://www.arizonasnowbowl.com/pdfs/map_upgrade.pdf
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