FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Hundreds of snowboarders and skiers big and small came together Tuesday for Arizona Snowbowl's 2017-18 opening.
Staff admitted conditions were warmer and drier than in past years, but said they have no doubt things will turn around as winter gets closer.
Though the opening was delayed because of warm temperatures, the Northern Arizona ski area was still the first in the state to open this year on Nov. 21, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
As staff and customers celebrated Snowbowl’s 80th season, a group of demonstrators crashed the party to protest the reclaimed water used to make snow.
The protesters said the use of this water is environmentally unsafe and disrespectful to the Navajo culture, for whom they say the land is sacred.
Snowbowl staff told 12 News the water is treated and anyone is welcome to pray on the San Francisco Peaks, outside of the runs, which are on private property.
About an hour after arriving, the group was escorted off the property by deputies from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.