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October 03, 2006

Arizona Growth Projections and Why Snowbowl Needs Snowmaking

This article in the Arizona Republic describes the rapid population growth that is expected in Arizona in the next 30 years:

A University of Arizona economic researcher pulled out his crystal ball - and some U.S. Census data - and looked into Arizona's future. He says he saw a lot - a lot of growth involving a lot of people.

Arizona's population will double in the next 30 years, with the Phoenix area essentially merging with metro Tucson to become one urbanized complex, with significant development from as far as Sierra Vista in southeastern Arizona to Kingman in the northwest, said researcher Marshall Vest.

The state will add roughly 8.5 million residents by 2036, adding to the current 6.2 million and reaching 14.6 million, said Vest, director of the Business Research Center of the Eller College of Management.

Metro Phoenix now has 4 million people and will rise to 9.7 million by 2036, while the Tucson area's current population of just under 1 million should hit 1.7 million, Vest wrote in the October issue of Arizona's Economy, published by the center.

Consider that if the sport of skiing has a future, places like Arizona represent need to provide for the growth of the industry. Snowbowl is less than two hours from a metropolitan area of almost 4 Million people that will soon be almost 10 Million. Phoenix is becoming an increasingly affluent population of baby boomers that are coming here to retire. But retirement means something else to baby boomers. As the life expectancy increases and people stay healthier longer, the industry needs to continue to retain these core folks.

Snowbowl has some real potential if they can add snowmaking. The area provides a much needed recreational opportunity for the state of Arizona.

No matter what anyone in Flagstaff wants, these people are coming. Flag and other cities will not remain the same as they are today, nor should they. Growth provides opportunity and helps sustain our economy. And these projections are not just true for Arizona, but for Nevada as well. This makes Brian Head an increasingly attractive destination and justifies the need for expansion of new terrain.

The Southwest is growing for a number of reasons, but a major one is that you can escape the brutal winters, yet still have mountains to vacation to for skiing in the winter and for cool temperatures in the summer.

Posted by Justin at October 3, 2006 04:08 AM