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April 29, 2006

Snowbowl Offers Pass Credit For Season Pass Holders

Snowbowl is offering credits for folks that purchased season passes for this year since the resort was only open ten days.

This past winter has been a challenge for everyone; the lack of snow and shortened season is not what anyone imagined after a record setting winter. Luckily we were able to rally enough employees and open for a brief period in March and April. As a result the need for Snowbowl to make snow is more paramount then ever. Another fact is that this year temperatures would have allowed us to make snow as early as November and we could have been fully open by the Christmas holidays. The ability to succeed as a viable business and continue necessary improvements to the ski area depends on consistent snow and skier visitation.
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The Peaks belong to everyone and Snowbowl has always been willing to share and accommodate religious beliefs and practices as we also have been, and will continue to be, good stewards of the land. The opposition would have you believe otherwise as in their latest communication; “If you choose to support Snowbowl you are supporting the attempts at further violations of the religious beliefs of hundreds of thousands of people”.

There is irony in the actions of the appellants in that the White Mountain Apaches own and operate Sunrise Ski Area on what they consider a sacred mountain, and on which they make snow with reclaimed water. The Yavapai Apache irrigate their casino grounds with reclaimed water and the list could go on. To add insult to injury there is little financial risk to the plaintiffs – no requirement to post a bond or reimburse legal costs with a losing decision.

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Because of the short season, 05/06 Season Passholders will be given the option to renew their season passes for the 06/07 season at a 50% discount.

It is rare for a ski resort to give Season Pass holders a discount based on weather. When you buy a season pass, you place your $399 in the Weather's hands. And if the weather is bad, you stand to lose $399. But to most folks, $399 is not a huge amount of money. What if you had invested say $10M and were depending completely on the weather to get your investment back? Well, guess what, that is Snowbowl's situation. For all the folks that felt ripped off by the 10 Day season who bought season passes, how do you think the resort feels? And then the resort turns around and offers a refund. That is classy and a smart business move.

What is not classy gets back to the original issue. Sacred mountain. Force a business to pay almost $3.5M in legal fees to stay in business, a business that they have already been told at multiple levels including the US Supreme Court who refused to hear the previous case of Wilson vs. Block that was filed in 1979 to shut the resort down. The Navajos have never prevailed at any level, but they simply have to find enough money to file a lawsuit and have little to lose.

The lawsuit rests entirely upon the religious rights of a small group of people to dictate what the Forest Service can do with the land that they are in charge of. Plain and simple. Does Snowbowl have the right to follow through with the previously approved improvements on Forest Service Land or does the Navajo Nation, the Hopis, and the Sierra Club have the right to declare any mountain or other Federal Land a "holy place" and shut down all commerce or activity there.

This is a mountain located 120 miles from a metropolitan area of 4M people. Offering a great sport that encourages enjoyment of nature. The resort is a wonderful caretaker of the land and provides a valuable recreational opportunity for hundreds of thousands of skier visits. The same folks that want Snowbowl shut down are out trying to "drain Lake Powell" and have blinders on. They want to stop all logging. They want to deny the rest of us enjoyment of multi-use Forest land because one group believes the area to be sacred and other groups don't like the fact that the area is not pristine in its natural wonder.

What bothers me the most about this is not that the Navajos have a beef with Snowbowl. It is the hangers on like the WMA tribe and the Sierra Club that have attached their agendas to the religious beliefs of the Navajos. That have pooled funds to use the religious beliefs of the Navajos to advance their own either financial (WMA) or environmental (Sierra Club) agenda. The environmental impact has been studied over and over by the Forest Service and scientists and is a closed case. So now the hangers on are pumping money into suing for Sacred Lands for the Navajos. And all of the financial burden of this are placed on Snowbowl. What a system when outside groups can effectively shut someone else's business down by proxy funding a lawsuit over religious beliefs of a people that they have absolutely nothing to do with.

Posted by Justin at April 29, 2006 01:00 PM