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Skiing and Snowboarding in Arizona

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

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Arizona is associated with hot desert rather than snowy peaks, however, its high elevations get 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 considerable 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 Humphreys Peak, just north of Flagstaff. Ski or snowboard from an impressive elevation of 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and enjoy stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks range. Arizona Snowbowl offers a diverse experience with a decent number of black diamond trails, but also plenty of space for intermediate and novice riders. It boasts 777 skiable acres, six aerial chairlifts, and two surface conveyors. With an average snowfall of 260 inches (660 cm), the area offers the best surface conditions in late winter and early spring. Elk Ridge Ski Resort is another option, located about a 47-minute drive west of Flagstaff, near the town of Williams, Arizona. The small resort suits beginners and families with children. It offers about 2 mi (3 km) of slopes and 2 lifts. In addition to skiing and snowboarding experiences, it also offers tubing.

Skiing in Greer

The White Mountains located in Eastern Arizona, on the border with New Mexico, also offer skiing and snowboarding. Sunrise Park Ski Resort takes riders up to 11,100 ft (3,400 m) in elevation and offers about 800 skiable acres (320 ha) on three peaks: Sunrise Peak, Cyclone Peak, and Apache Peak. The resort is operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and 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

The Santa Catalina Mountains in Southern Arizona get 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 the 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 on the slopes, so the terrain can be challenging. Catalina Highway, which leads to Mount Lemmon might get closed during snowstorms.

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