Appeals court revives Hopi lawsuit against snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 2:08 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The state appeals court has revived the Hopi Tribe’s legal challenge over artificial snowmaking at a ski resort in Flagstaff.

Thursday’s ruling extends what has been a lengthy battle by tribes to keep the Arizona Snowbowl from using treated wastewater for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks. At least 13 tribes consider the mountain on public land sacred.

The Hopi Tribe alleged in 2011 that Flagstaff’s decision to sell wastewater to the Snowbowl causes a public nuisance.

A Coconino County judge ruled in 2016 that the tribe didn’t show it suffered an injury unlike that suffered by the general public.

The appeals court disagreed, saying the tribe sufficiently alleged harm to cultural and religious sites.

The case now goes back to Coconino County Superior Court.