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August 10, 2008

More Info on the Arizona Snowbowl Snowmaking and Expansion

The EIS is available at the Forest Service Website. We all know about the snowmaking aspect of the expansion, but the trail expansion and additional lift will be huge improvements.

Here is the existing layout of the resort.

Here is the "after" picture of the new terrain.

The realignment of the Sunset lift will open a sizable amount of new terrain, but the new Humphreys lift will be the biggest improvement.

Compare the resort side by side. The biggest problem with Snowbowl now is the lack of lift capacity to meet demand for intermediate and advanced terrain. The Agassiz lift is always swamped by college kids. This will go a long way towards addressing that. And the snowmaking will ensure a reasonably long season to make it all worthwhile.

In short, Arizona will have two viable ski resorts, now including one run and owned by actual skiers, not folks that make their living off gambling and who refuse to clear glades or provide quality customer service. Sunrise has so much potential, but their actions regarding Snowbowl have been reprehensible.

Posted by Justin at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2008

Arizona Snowbowl Snowmaking Ruling From 9th Circuit

I am reading the ruling from the 9th Circuit right now. Will update. Preliminary is that Snowbowl won and District Court decision was reaffirmed.

Updates forthcoming.


In this case, American Indians ask us to prohibit the federal government from allowing the use of artificial snow for skiing on a portion of a public mountain sacred in their religion. At the heart of their claim is the planned use of recycled wastewater, which contains 0.0001% human waste, to make artificial snow. The Plaintiffs claim the use of such snow on a sacred mountain desecrates the entire mountain, deprecates their religious ceremonies, and injures their religious sensibilities. We are called upon to decide whether this government approved use of artificial snow on government-owned park land violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”), the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (“NEPA”), and the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). We hold that it does not, and affirm the district court’s denial of relief on all grounds.

Take that. Still reading...


Thus, the sole effect of the artificial snow is on the plaintiffs’ subjective spiritual experience. That is, the presence of the artificial snow on the Peaks is offensive to the Plaintiffs’ feelings about their religion and will decrease the spiritual fulfillment Plaintiffs get from practicing their religion on the mountain. Nevertheless, a government action that decreases the spirituality, the fervor, or the satisfaction with which a believer practices his religion is not what Congress has labeled a “substantial burden”—a term of art chosen by Congress to be defined by reference to Supreme Court precedent —on the free exercise of religion.



We live in a society with multiple competing versions of what is spiritually important for folks. For instance, folks in Texas believe that the only way to achieve Celestial Glory is to marry multiple wives. Others believe that sacrificing animals is a spiritual experience. Some folks do funky piercings of flesh for their spirituality. And while the Hopi and Navajo belief structure is rather prominent and mainstream, it should be afforded no more or less rights than any other denomination.

I can imagine that if an airport is built near my church or a runway extended or additional flight traffic approved, it would decrease my subjective religious experience. But because it might degrade my subjective religious experience, it certainly should not prohibit any soft of progress or expansion simply out of my desire to not have my subjective religious experience change.

And at the end of the day, that is what this is about--Hopis and Navajos wanting to maintain their subjective experience on the Peaks... wait, that is not what this is about. This is about racism. Hundreds of years of anger and bitterness about racism. And an opportunity to drive a stake into the ground and take some land from the White Man for once. Take away their ski resorts. Stick it to them. And make it over religion in doing it. But it is not even about that. It is about the Sierra Club and the WMA tribe wanting to shut down their competition or to stop new development.

Regardless of which of these explanations you want to choose as the motivation for the above parties, all of their reasons lack sufficient reasoning to stop the development. And short of the SCOTUS taking the issue on, and by all means send it to Roberts and Alito and Thomas and Scalia to decide, I think this is over. A SCOTUS decision would actually be even more harmful to the Environmental movement because it would codify this decision where it cannot be overturned even among the Liberal 9th Circuit.

Posted by Justin at 02:58 PM

August 07, 2008

Bragging about My Kids

Jake is having quite a year. Won a state championship in Pop Warner. Won the Avondale School District Math Competition. Finished in the top 1% of all students on the AIMS standardized tests. And on Saturday, his position coach called and all he could say was what a hard worker he was, how much he had improved, and how coachable he was. He may start both ways this football season.

Jarrett started Pop Warner this season and is enjoying it and working his butt off. I feel bad because he is a seven year old on a team of seven, eight, and nine year olds. Being young is going to be rough. Especially when your brother is trying to win back to back championships.

I went to Michaels and got three pictures framed of Jake and Jackson:

Jake and Jackson skiing for the condo. Nice 16x20 frames with matting.

Jarrett is just learning to ski and learning to play football. Some big shoes to fill. It is tough to give equal time to both an 11 year old and a 7 year old when Jake is skiing better than I am and is playing ubercompetitive football and Jarrett is learning and playing football for fun on a Mighty Mite team.

I will add that it is a bad idea to call Jake's team a bunch of Mighty Mites. Jarrett's team... maybe. =)

Posted by Justin at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

Football Season Underway

I am heading to the Cardinals-Saints game tonight and already made my annual trip to Flagstaff to watch training camp. Here is the lowdown on football in the household:

  • Jake is playing Pop Warner - 4 practices per week
  • Jarrett is playing Pop Warner - 5 practices per week
  • Games for both on Saturdays
  • Wickenburg games are on Friday nights and I will be at 8-10 of them
  • ASU plays 8 home games and I have season tickets
  • Cardinals play 10 home games and I have season tickets

Then there are the Suns starting after that and conflicting with ski season. I am booked.

Posted by Justin at 04:06 PM

August 04, 2008

Trip North to the Condo

This last weekend I took a trip to SLC with my grandmother for a wedding. I laugh because my grandparents raised me and we traveled all over while I lived at home with them. It was the first time we actually got to go out with no real worries about my grandfather's health in probably a decade.

She finally got to see the condo and fell in love with Brian Head.

Every time I think that the town or the condo or the resort is getting old, I remember the upside of Brian Head--it is perfect for families and for folks learning to ski for the first time. I love my condo. The climate is great in the summer.

So I run into my neighbors down the hall that I had not met two condos down. I check their remodel job and they check mine. They say, "Do you run a website because this looks like a condo remodel project on"

Good times.

Posted by Justin at 06:13 PM | Comments (1)