Best time to visit Arizona

Skiing and Snowboarding

From San Francisco Peaks to Santa Catalinas, Arizona has plenty of slopes to conquer


Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Arizona is associated with hot desert rather than snowy peaks, however, its high elevations are actually getting a decent amount of snow for a skiing and snowboarding experience. The state has several ski resorts, from Flagstaff area in the north to Tucson in the south. The ski season generally runs from mid-November through April. However, the best months to hit the slopes in Arizona are February and March, due to stable cold weather and the good amount of snow on the trails.

Ski resorts in Flagstaff

The best ski destination of the Southwest – Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort – is located on the western slope of Mount Humphreys, just north of Flagstaff. Ski or snowboard from the impressive elevation of 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and enjoy stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks. Arizona Snowbowl offers a diverse experience with a decent number of black trails, but also plenty of space for intermediate riders and beginners. It boasts 777 skiable acres, six aerial chairlifts, and two surface conveyors. With the average snowfall of 260 inches(660 cm), it offers the best surface conditions in late winter and early spring. Elk Ridge Ski Resort is another option, located in a 47-minute ride west of Flagstaff, near the town of Williams, Arizona. The small resort suits beginners and families with children. It offers about 2mi (3 km) of slopes and 2 lifts. In addition to skiing and snowboarding experience, it also offers tubing.

Skiing in Greer

White Mountains located in Eastern Arizona, on the border with New Mexico, also offer skiing and snowboarding. Sunrise Park ski resort takes riders on the elevation of 11,100 feet (3,400 m) offering about 800 skiable acres (320 sq m) on three peaks: Sunrise Peak, Cyclone Peak, and Apache Peak. The resort is operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and it usually opens in December and closes in March. Peak ski season runs from mid-January to mid-February. Sunrise Park has a snowboard terrain park and cross-country skiing trails.

Skiing in Tucson

Santa Catalina Mountains in Southern Arizona are getting a decent amount of snow in the winter, and their height is enough to keep it from melting. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is located at the highest peak of Santa Catalina Mountains. The resort features 5,2 mi (8.5 km) of slopes and three lifts that take skiers and snowboarders as high as 9,022 ft ( 2,750 m). One of the southernmost ski destinations in the US, Mt.Lemmon receives 180 inches (460 cm) of snowfall every year. However, the snow there is most reliable in mid-winter, specifically, February. The resort generally stays open from mid-December to April. And mind that it's closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is no grooming at the slopes, so the terrain can challenging. Catalina Highway, which leads to Mount Lemmon might get closed in case of a snowstorm.

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