Snowbowl, Flagstaff Want Ruling Favoring Hopi Tribe Overturned By Arizona Supreme Court

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, April 9, 2018 - 10:25am
Updated: Monday, April 9, 2018 - 12:46pm

Attorneys for Arizona Snowbowl ski resort have warned the State Supreme Court that it's opening the door to a flood of litigation if it does not overturn an earlier Appeals Court's ruling that favored the Hopi Tribe.

For years, the Tribe has tried to block the resort from expanding trails, and from making artificial snow, under the argument that using effluent water on the mountain violates religious freedom.

In legal briefs, Snowbowl's lawyers plan to argue that the Appeals Court effectively created a new law by allowing the Hopis to sue under what it calls "special harm."

That status they complained would give the Tribe the chance to go before a jury, which is something Snowbowl's attorneys would like to prevent.

An Appeals Court sided with the Hopi Tribe's claim that effluent water on the San Francisco Peaks flows into the watershed, which is used for sacred ceremonies.

The City of Flagstaff has a stake in the court’s decision.  It sells the effluent water to Snowbowl and also wants the appeals ruling reversed.

The justices have not decided whether to review the appellate court decision.

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