Mount Lemmon skiers bring big boost to neighboring businesses
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
MOUNT LEMMON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Up on Mount Lemmon holiday spending is spiking, especially now that the slopes are open.
For some, a fun filled day on the Ski Valley slopes is a family affair.
"So I'm the grandma, and our two sons, and daughter in-law, and our grandchildren are here," said Linda Mulay. "So it's awesome!"
For more serious skiers, it provides a much needed quick fix.
"I love it," said Rick Lasica. "It's like a 45 minute drive. It's just so quick. It's cheaper than Flagstaff. So I think it's definitely worth it."
But Ski Valley's owners say whatever your motivation, money is money.
And this opening weekend marks the start of their make-or-break season.
"It's usually a pretty decent weekend, and then usually right after Christmas if we get a decent snow we get really really busy," said area manager Graham Davies.
The same goes for nearby shops.
"Yeah, I didn't even know they were open and I was like, 'Where are all these people coming from?'" said Hillary Ingalls, a baker at Summer Haven's "Cookie Cabin".
Employees there say the start of ski season is pretty sweet for business.
"We've been waiting for like a week or two, so to finally get to do this before Christmas is really nice," said customer Blake Hamrick.
"(Do you have any idea how much this has impacted business?) Oh yeah absolutely there's a huge difference. I mean before Thursday we'd eat a few people, but now there's like lines out the door constantly," said Ingalls.
Assuming mother nature plays along, most business owners here expect the boost to last through February.
Skiiers say, they're happy to help, especially now that last weeks icy roads have thawed.
"We almost lost control and almost died, but we made it. (It's worth risking your life for?) Yeah it's totally worth it," said Lasica.
Owners say Ski Valley will be closed on Christmas day.