Flagstaff Snow Park LLC and Fort Tuthill County Park saw their largest number of winter visitors to date according to newly-released data from Coconino county.

This winter also marked the first year of artificial snowmaking at the snow park, which charges BLANK  allowed it to open without naturally occurring snowfall while also leading to concerns from environmentalists. 

According to county officials, the total number of people who used the snow park was 50,801 between DATE and DATE; that's more than double the  20,000 people who visited in 2016 when the business first opened. 

“We made snow from December 21 through the 26, which allowed us to open 3 runs out of our 8 and made for close to 18,000 people for the first four days. We typically need eight to 10 inches of snow so no rocks are showing on the run for people, the snow making for us was very necessary,” Josh Crane, co-owner of Flagstaff Snow Park LLC said. 

From December 21, 2018 through BLANK the Snow Park used 801,000 gallons of water to make snow for its eight sled runs, a figure that boils down to 15.7 gallons of water per paid visitor.

Snow is transported to Fort Tuthill from city wells via lines that run along highway 89 A. 


The snow is made using potable water from city of Flagstaff water sources. Potable water, which essentially means drinkable water, in Flagstaff comes comes from a mix of Upper Lake Mary surface water and groundwater from wells, according to Erin Young water manager for the city of Flagstaff. The percentage of each can change daily and the city pumps groundwater primarily from the C aquifer (C stands for Coconino aquifer.)

Snow Park water comes from a variety of wells and there is no single designated well for the park. 


Increased precipitation helped to bolster Flagstaff water sources this year.

Snowmelt helped to fill Upper Lake Mary, as the water spilled for weeks into Lower Lake Mary. The city doesn’t take water from the latter but that water does recharge aquifers by seeping through sink holes formed in Kaibab Limestone.

“Snowpack is important to enabling recharge of the aquifer supply,” Young said.

Joe Shannon, director of the Sierra Club in Flagstaff voiced concerns about using potable water. 

"It's surprising they used so much on a snowy winter, and that's pretty obvious, for us it's the use of water portable, reclaimed, the use of water for recreation is just that we've said it's a bad precedent. In terms of, we don't look at it we're in a drought, the terms are difficult here," Shannon said. 

The snow park has a contract with the city of Flagstaff that allots them 1 million gallons of water. 

"If they use that much in a relatively wet winter, how much will they use in a raeally dry winter," Shannon said. "That's our concern, that they'll go over that mark and as climate change increases our water is going to become increasingly scarce."

Climate change and surface warming is increasing drought and harming water sources across Arizona. Heated weather makes precipitation more scarce, according to a study published in BLANK. 

“This determination of water adequacy requires the city demonstrate safe-yield from its water sources, including surface water and groundwater, for 100 years, in order to meet expected water demands linked to the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030,” Young said.

Surface water is more sensitive to drought, Young said, whereas ground water is affected on a lnoger time scale due to large volume and sotrage over a large area. 

The record snowfall that occurred on DATES ma


A total of 31,439 vehicles were counted at the park between January 1 and March 10 and 6000,000 in gross income. Coconino County Board of Supervisors approved hasa 10-year agreement with Flagstaff Snow Park LLC to operate various types of snowplay activities in a forested, sloped area west of the campground at the county park. Part of that contract also includes, like all county parks, Flagstaff Snow Park’s use permit also includes a revenue-sharing component that gives the county an annual base fee of $1,000 plus a cut of the venture’s profits. This winter the county received 6% or BLANK thousand dollars.

“I think this proved a huge money maker this year,” Grube said.

“It was great,” Josh Crane, co-owner of the snow park, said.


With more use comes additional challenges, did remove 55 full size pick up truck loads of sleds from the park. Grube said. “Quite a bit of trash,”.

Staffing 165 staff hours getting trash out of the park. 210% increase from past years, last year WAS light winter in terms of snow.

Trash removal, conessionares are responsible. OUTSDIE THE FEE AREA is where trash was removed.

Register for more free articles.
Stay logged in to skip the surveys.

Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott said that emissions were a concerns as the snowpark continues to operate.


Revenue share model (6%) so total of 40,077 8,00 of that went to the green fund which is going to infrastructure inmprovements for out water usage at the park.

Remaining 2,000 went to partner find

$600,000 dollars last year gross. 175,000 in improvements.

Succesffuly installed water and power to the area.

Invested over 175,000 infrastrcute improvements.

Community impact estimates:

$40,077 in revenue.

41 part time seasonal workers.

5 locoal food trucks and thet gad incredible winter.


Some other issues came in the form of calls to the city. Jessica Lawrence: ??? Overall we ended this season with 4,600 calls to the hotline, this is the hotline that CVB runs that COCO helps fund and. This is not parks and rec ,during active season we split cost between city and county for running hotline for snow play locations listed on the map. This year we had around 200% more calls to hotline, due to more season, Nearly 40% were for the snowpark. Viitor origin, 80% of callers are calling in from Phoenix market. THE REST?? The other 20%??

It’s really important someon.


Laurie BLANK, city was very active with the many agencies that came together for flag snow play. The mapis product of all the agencies input and. Printed 5,000 in English and Spanish version also existed on website. Other marketing tactics that supported snow play it was not only 1-800 number but also a lot of focus on responsible snow play. We did work with Flag sno park, we wrked with channel 3 TV segment, reach was 65,000 impression to number 1 drive market, metro phoenix. Earned and paid media, AZFamily homepage takeover. Open up AZFamily.com and there are many touch points that the reader can participate and click through.

How much did it cost to build the snowpark?

24% growth from LA and San Diego, 66% from LA and Texas. We are also servicing Texas now with out airport. Internationally 48% growth in the Mexican market as well as candaian market, 17% growth. Accomodation metrics: Accomodations hit it out of the ballpark, occupancy, average daily rate is u 7% and revenue per daily room is trending at 6.6 percent.

Heidi Hansen: Innovate waste challenge. On Saturday the winner actually won, they’ll be taking broked slends, sleds from where, they reuse them and make different tyes of thigns like coasters, handles when rock climbing and they do this locally, there’s another way to get rid of these broked sleds. EMAIL HEIDI!!! Jake something at farmer’s market.


Restrooms, additional porti-potties not enoght ($340 for four months for one porti-potty and additional servicing was 421$ in additional services, we should have used 7-8. How to accomoadte?)


--So that’s complicated, that grant was leveraged with other grants, and part of it was to finish the pahse of the bike park another was tro bring in restrooms money to use the preliminary site work. Historically one in north parking lot, we doubled that this winter. Back to normal one.

Near the bike park. That’s moving forward, we have preliminary plans for site improvement and restroom. Stein over at public works. WE hope to do some ground work at end of this fiscal year and start construction restroom at end of fiscal year. It dovetals with waste water sign, trying to time those two pieces. HOW MANY STALLS? 3 stalls in male bathroom and 3 for wormen’s it was they’re trying for.

Those six capacity, we want to utilize partnership funds to leverage the grant money to make a bigger and better facility and make it 4-seasons,” Cynthia said.

Supervisor Ryan: “We’ve always had a shortage of restrooms out there, it’d be nice to step into current century, but that’s what we’ve been building up to. Primary objective was ground at Tuthill.

As we go into next winter. Some of the things we’re looking at is on-call snow removal, additional portable restrooms and dumpsters> WHO WILL PAY FOR THIS? Dumpserters into next winter evaluate what we can do, additional porti potties, we haven’t committed to that yet. Finding, if we can find On-sit weekend staff. We have seasonal staff un summer months, we may need to visit seasonal staff in winter due to high park use.

As far as ongoing challenges, is amking sure we contune to balance use of ptable water with water conservartion initiative, rain water lharvesting, eading the way from the county to be thoughtful committes stewards of our groundwater resources, I do thin it’s important htat we balance the use with avoided impacts, public lands trashing, vehiclular use, and I think,” Babbott said.

Campground might tap into the water, they would pay for their share.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Load comments