FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Skiiers and Snowboarders were able to hit some of the trails Wednesday at Arizona Snowbowl, marking the ski hill's opening day of what officials hope to be a busy season.
The resort planned to open on Friday, Nov. 19, but had to postpone the opening as temperatures stayed above freezing which didn't allow for natural snow and was too warm to make artificial snow.
Mother Nature finally showed up Tuesday night with some natural snow falling on the ski hill. Combined with the artificial snow that was being made for the last several days, it was enough to start the lifts.
“It’s really fun at the beginning of the season just to get your skis on snow again,” said ski instructor Colter Tucker.
For now, the expert-level trails at Arizona Snowbowl are open. The beginner trails remain closed, but as more snow falls and/or is made, those trails will eventually open when they're able to.
Despite what Mother Nature will do in the coming days, Tucker anticipates easier runs to start opening as soon as possible.
“I would hope for the weekend with the firepower we have,” he said. Updates and snow conditions will be posted to Arizona Snowbowl's website.
This season, lift tickets and rentals have to be booked online and in advance.
The opening of the season also impacts the sporting good stores in the state that are able to equip skiers and snowboarders with gear, helmets, goggles, and everything else that's needed to ride in style.
Chris Carpenter, owner of C&S Sporting Good in Phoenix, said his inventory is fully stopped. Typically this time of year, he said skis, snowboards, and snow boots are usually bought.
“If the mountain was already open and we had great snow, we’d probably be 30% less on the inventory. People would be getting up there, especially during Thanksgiving, families do want to get up to the mountain,” he said.
The most popular item to sell out each season? Snow boots.
He said like a lot of industries and goods, he had to pay between 15-20% more for winter gear and clothing due to the supply chain issues.
Another popular ski hill, Sunrise Ski Park in Greer, Arizona, which is about four hours northeast of Phoenix, is scheduled to open on December 3, 2021.