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PHOENIX -- Flagstaff is seeing more out-of-town visitors this year looking for fun in the snow.

Almost 50,000 people have taken a run on the Snowbowl slopes since Dec. 17, up almost 20 percent from last year. The resort said their new snowmaking equipment is behind the boost.

Joanne Hudson with the Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau said its a great start to 2013.

"It has been busier in town," she said. "Our restaurants and hotels are seeing that impact. It's great."

The interest in Flagstaff's snow play areas, which include Wing Mountain Sledding Area, doesn't just come from the Valley. It's international.

"We get a fair number of visitors come up from Mexico because this is the closest ski destination," said Hudson.

Hudson said Flagstaff's tourism economy has returned to near pre-recession levels.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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