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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Let it snow

A+view+of+the+snowy+mountains+over+General+Hitchcock+Highway+from+Windy++Point+on+Mount+Lemmon+on+Jan.+5.+After+remaining+closed+last+year+for++the+first+time+in+50+years%2C+the+ski+lifts+on+Mount+Lemmon+opened+briefly++this+year%2C+but+are+currently+closed+due+to+melted+snow.
Rebecca Noble/The Daily Wildcat

A view of the snowy mountains over General Hitchcock Highway from Windy Point on Mount Lemmon on Jan. 5. After remaining closed last year for the first time in 50 years, the ski lifts on Mount Lemmon opened briefly this year, but are currently closed due to melted snow.

The Mount Lemmon area provides for a nice getaway from Tucson, especially for the upcoming three-day weekend, in which students can take advantage of the many recreational activities that make the area such an attraction.

The slopes of Ski Valley, perhaps one of the main attractions, still remain closed even after the area was lightly dusted with snow on Tuesday night. Even though parts of the mountain are still covered, the Ski Valley website says they are awaiting more snow before resuming skiing.

Last year, the ski slopes did not open due to lack of snowfall. According to snocountry.com, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley received 13 inches of base snow on New Year’s day.

Phil Mack, the Mount Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop owner, explained that typically the peak of the season is the weeks before, during and after Christmas. 

“Whenever we have fresh snow, it is mobbed,” Mack said. “I mean, it is exceptional when we’ve got snow on the ground. The snow melted in the last week so the numbers of tourists and visitors are way down right now, but if we get a snowstorm, then the mountains are as crowded as can be.”

He also explained how even though Summerhaven received about half an inch of snow and other parts about an inch, it didn’t last long. All the snow that was on his roof is already gone. 

Despite the lack of snow, both Mount Lemmon and Summerhaven still offer many other activities and dining options for visitors to enjoy.  

There’s rock climbing and hiking available, especially as the snow melts away and more trials become available.

Besides the usual activities, Mack said, “Just getting away, getting out, and having a picnic is a good idea.”

He added that this weekend it’s not going to be exceptionally cold, so a light jacket would be comfortable and ideal.  

As for dining, there are a few different places one can eat when spending the day or weekend. The Iron Door located at Ski Valley is open and apparently a must when in the area. The Ski Valley website says, “Treat yourself to a relaxing lunch, a taste tempting slice of pie or just enjoy the mountain ambiance with some friends.”

The General Store even has a fudge shop for visitors to enjoy.Summerhaven has the Pizza and Cookie Cabin, as well as the Sawmill Run Restaurant for tourists to enjoy  meals.

Mack recommends all of the above and says that although there aren’t tons of options to eat, the ones available are actually pretty good.

One of the other activities for visitors to partake in at Mount Lemmon is SkyNights at the UA Sky Center. 

According to the Sky Center website, the SkyNight experience uses a new 32-inch Schulman Telescope, Arizona’s largest public viewing telescope, to observe the wonders of the cosmos. 

Weather updates and snow forecasts are avalible at www.skithelemmon.com.
 

Mount Lemmon Ski Valley was closed all last season due to lack of snow for the first time in 50 years.

According to weatherbase.com, over the past 17 years, Mount Lemmon’s annual snowfall average totaled 196 cm.

Decemember has accumulated the most snow per month with a 51 cm average over the last 17 years.

Mount Lemmon received first snowfall of the season on Dec. 14, 2014.

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Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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