Hot weather melts away hopes for Ski Valley

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Hot weather melts away hopes for Ski Valley

By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Jan 30, 2014

MT LEMMON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - As another winter month comes to a close, the likelihood Ski Valley will open for a ski season dwindles. 

Southern Arizona has been experiencing a winter that is warmer and drier than normal. As a result, Ski Valley, Mt. Lemmon's ski resort, hasn't seen enough snow to open up the slopes for even a day. 

The warm weather is the reason so many snowbirds, like Chris Murphy, flock to Southern Arizona.

"Do you know what it's like in Iowa right now? Horrible!" Murphy said. 

But it's a good bet those on Ski Valley are hoping for a bit of that Midwest chill -- but aren't getting it. 

"In the summer we rely on the weather to be nice and sunny and in the winter we rely on it to be cold and stormy," Ski Valley manager Graham Davies said. "When the weather doesn't cooperate, it's a little mood breaker."

A mood breaker, but not a hope crusher, for Davies. 

"It could still happen; it's still a great possibility," he said. "It doesn't take much to get us open."

He said the valley is just one storm away from being open for business, but the weeks continue to tick on and grass pokes out from beneath the old snow. 

Snow or not, the view atop the Ski Valley lift is incredible, and Davies said plenty of families -- especially from Sonora -- have come to the valley this winter to ride the lift, which runs year round. 

But the view does not draw in the crowds like the slopes. It's not just Ski Valley that has taken a hit; Business owners in Summerhaven told Nine On Your Side the dry weather has put a damper on their business as well. 

Davies said Ski Valley has had seasons where they only open for skiing for one or two weekends, but have never had a season where they never opened at all.