Mount Lemmon businesses booming after nearly 100 inches of snowfall

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 10:14 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 10:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The snow on Mount Lemmon is a sight to see this year, and as those inches pile up, businesses are reaping the reward.

The National Weather Service Tucson has tracked nearly 100 inches of snow on the mountain this season. At the Mount Lemmon General Store, NWS has tracked 84 inches of snow.

Grey Carpenter, the owner of Mount Lemmon General Store, said with all that snow come a lot of customers.

“It’s been very busy this year. The snow has been more consistent ever since New Year’s, it’s been about every week it’s been snowing so that’s brought a lot more people up and they’re just playing in the snow and having a great time,” Carpenter said.

Whether they’re warming up and grabbing some fudge at The General Store, or shredding it on the slopes, the snow is causing more people to make the drive up the mountain.

“It’s a good year, we’ve had a couple of weird years but it’s good that we’re getting more frequent storms. Numbers are up,” said Graham Davis, Ski Valley Area Manager. “We’re definitely seeing more skier visits, which is a good thing.”

Mount Lemmon first-timer Kris Ragoodial said he spent the day enjoying the fresh powder.

“Snow is 15 inches deep apparently. The powder, my board keeps sinking into it, but I’m learning how to navigate that,” said Ragoodial.

George Monroe said he’s been coming to Mount Lemmon to ski since 1961 and said today was a great day to enjoy the fresh snow.

“I believe I came in 1961, and I believe I could drive then. I came up with friends who introduced me to skiing, and it’s just terrific today. I never stopped, I bring my water and I bring my lunch and eat on the lift, but I’m 78-years-old. I didn’t fall today or even come close to falling,” said Monroe.

Ski patrol workers said they haven’t seen quality snow like this in years.

“This is the best year in eight years by far. Last year we were open for about six weeks, this year we’ll be open for another three weeks at least I imagine. Maybe even longer if we get more snow,” said Tony Horness.

Even though those storms come with consequences, especially when Catalina Highway has to shut down, business owners said they pray for that snow to keep coming their way.

“We had that power outage a week ago which shut us down for three days which was kind of a big impact, but we make up for it with all that snow that comes with it. It’s a Catch-22, but we make up for it and we do well,” said Carpenter.