Friday, August 5 2022

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — It was a bit of a slow start for the skiers on New Years morning. The Arizona Snowbowl had a delayed opening due to poor weather conditions, and the wind was so strong in Flagstaff that it closed all lifts.

“I think when you come to the mountain you know there’s a lot beyond you, so you just go with the flow,” Kellie Kruger said.

An unwelcoming sight greeted skiers in the morning as they made their way to the Snowbowl. A sign warns them that the ski lifts were on hold.

“I’ve never been here when they’re all closed,” said skier Alexis Montano.

With gusts of nearly 65 miles per hour, Snowbowl marketing coordinator Kyle Sawatzke said it was a decision made solely based on safety.

The Flagstaff National Weather Service said peak wind gusts were nearly 70 miles per hour at the Arizona Snowbowl for the past 24 hours.

“It’s not very common. It’s a very rare situation,” Sawatzke said. “It totally depends on the consistency of the winds. When we see these strong gusts it also depends on the wind direction, so in some directions we can use the lifts in stronger gusts, but with a north/northwest orientation it affects all lifts.

The weather forced skiers to wait, hoping for a New Year’s miracle.

“I’ll probably hang in here for the next hour,” said skier Sean Godfrey.

“We try to stay optimistic,” said skier Christine Loewenhagen.

The skiers got their wish. At 10 a.m., Snowbowl was able to open some of its lifts and skiers were nothing but excited.

“The kids were ecstatic when they opened Hart Prairie. They came and said, ‘Mom, it’s open. Can we go there? said skier Kellie Kruger.

“It didn’t stay closed for very long, maybe an hour late from opening, but it’s worth it,” said skier Orien Montoya.

Snowbowl received 10 inches of snow overnight and over 34 inches last week. Skiers say the winter storm prepared them for the perfect New Year’s Day despite the delayed wind.

“We’re just thrilled to be here,” Hank Lazaro said.

“It’s cold, but it’s sunny and the snow is great,” said skier Jessica Tanner.

“It’s picturesque; it’s really beautiful,” Loewenhagen said.

Flagstaff sees the first significant snowfall of the season

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc.


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