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Dec 20, 2012 7:42 PM by John Patrick

Ski Valley opens up the slopes this afternoon

MT. LEMMON, Ariz. - Ski Valley slopes atop Mt. Lemmon were open to skiers and snowboarders Thursday afternoon for the first time this season.

Winter doesn't officially start until Friday but the slopes across Arizona are already open. The winter storms over the past week were more than enough to open up Ski Valley which made for a welcomed sight to skiers and snowboarders. Dominic Rhodes, a Ski Valley snowboarder, was excited when the snow hit.

"As soon as I saw the clouds over the mountains I was like please be snow, please be enough to open up and what do you know we're here," said Rhodes.

According to Steven Reff, Ski Valley Instructor, Ski Valley opened up with a 25 inch base. As of Thursday morning, some of the most premier ski destinations in the country like Telluride Ski Resort and Aspen Snowmass in Colorado were reporting less. In fact, Aspen Snowmass is reporting a 17 inch base while Telluride reports in with 23 inches.

Reff explains, "This is a great turnout. Great half day of skiing. The conditions are excellent in fact as people are coming down they are saying they're loving it!"

With the fresh powder, blue skies and temperatures in the 40's on Mt. Lemmon many people think that Arizona skiing can't be beat. Mark Lindley, a Ski Valley snowboarder, finds that Mt. Lemmon is the perfect ski destination.

"It's a great place you've got to go forty-five minutes you're down in the sun you go forty-five minutes you're up in the slopes. What can you say?" asks Lindley.

For more information on Ski Valley including hours of operation and lift ticket prices click here.

With the entire state getting a visit from Old Man Winter all of the major ski resorts in Arizona are open. For information on Arizona Snowbowl outside of Flagstaff, AZ click here. Sunrise Ski Park in the White Mountains has three lifts open with more coming tomorrow.

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